This dish came out of an odd craving. I wanted something like chicken marsala, but a lot fuller and richer. I also wanted beef. After far too long an amount of time transpired before these two cravings merged into one, the idea for this dish was born. I took one of my favorite cuts of beef (shortribs), and prepared them with all of the marsala flavors I was craving, and turned it into a pasta dish.
This really nailed the craving for me: a hearty, stewy version of marsala. It tasted rich, earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet. The sauce was simple: a reduction of the liquid used to braise the beef in. As such, it was really full flavored: beefy and clearly marsala. The pasta was a great body for the dish and since I think nothing goes with mushrooms like beef, I tossed in some sautéed shitakes to go with it. If you’re ever on the fence about something stewy vs something pasta-like, this is a very happy compromise.
- 3 strips bacon
- ~5 lbs beef short ribs
- 2 shallots
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery
- 1 red bell
- 8 cloves garlic
- 3 cups marsala wine
- 2 bay leaves
- several sprigs rosemary
- handful parsely
- 2 cups beef stock
- ~8 oz shitake mushrooms
- ~1.5 lbs pasta (I made 2, but had too much. This is an approximation)
Cook the bacon and set aside. Season the shortribs with salt and pepper and brown them in the remainin bacon grease for roughly 2-3 minutes per side, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Set these aside.
Finely mince and then sauté the shallot, celery, carrot, and pepper in the remaining grease for roughly 8 minutes. Then add the finely minced garlic for a minute further.
Deglaze the pot with 3 cups of the wine, scraping up all the brown bits.
Reduce the wine on high heat by roughly half (figure around 10 minutes).
Add the stock and herbs before you return the shortribs to the pot. Raise the heat up to a boil, cover the pot, and transfer to a 350°F oven. Let this go for roughly 3 hours and give it a stir once or twice.
Shortly before when you expect the beef to be done cooking, you should cook your pasta (per package directions) as well as the mushrooms. The mushrooms are simple: stem and chop in smallish pieces and sauté in olive oil with a dash of salt for roughly 10 minutes or until they look like they’re beginning to caramelize (rather than that soggy/sweaty looking stage they reach earlier on). Once they look done, deglaze the pan with the remaining 1 cup of marsala wine and let it reduce down for about 5 minutes, give or take. Set this aside.
With the ribs done cooking, do your best to skim off the plentiful fat that has settled on top of your pot. Fish out the beef and set it aside to cool. Reduce the cooking liquid over medium high heat for about 10-15 minutes so it takes on more of a sauce-like consistency and then puree to your liking using a blender.
With the beef cool enough to handle, remove the bones and any chewy/excessively fatty bits you normally wouldn’t bother eating. Chop up the meat that remains into bite-sized pieces and throw it into your pot of sauce (turn off the heat while you’re at it). Also throw in the mushrooms and pasta. Give things a good toss and let it sit for a few minutes just to rewarm the meat and mushrooms. Then, simply serve a good scoop, garnish your plate with parmesan and rosemary, and dig in. Enjoy!