Sunday, April 10, 2011

Short-Rib Meatballs & Pasta

1 1/2 pound short rib meat, sinew removed and ground (you can get your butcher to do this for you)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, grated on a micro plane
1 T yellow onion, grated on a microplane
2 T flatleaf parsley, minced
1/2 cup parmesan-reggiano, grated
1 egg
kosher salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, small dice
3/4 cups carrots, small dice
3/4 cups celery, small dice
1 T fresh garlic, minced
2 thin slices of prosciutto, diced
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock or chicken stock
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, about 6 inches long
1 1/2 T double concentrate tomato paste
1/2 cup whole milk
2 T heavy cream
4 each, 12-inch long fresh pasta sheets, or DiCecco (or Rustichella d'Abruzzo brand) lasagna sheets, or papparadelle pasta

Preparing the meatballs:
Combine the bread crumbs, milk, grated garlic and grated onions in a bowl and mix to combine. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Combine the beef, egg, parmesan and parsley with the bread crumb mixture and mix very well. Use the paddle attachment on a Kitchen Aid mixer. Season with a half a teaspoon of salt and a few turns of fresh ground pepper.

Test seasoning by making a walnut-sized meatball. Place a small saute pan over medium heat. Add some oil and saute the meatball until it is done. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary (the garlic and onion will grow stronger as the mix sets so you are really only tasting for salt). Place meatballs in the refrigerator.

Make the meatballs the size of golfballs. Heat a 14-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. The meatballs start out very tender but firm up as the fat is rendered. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and add the meatballs. Brown on all sides. Remove the meatballs to a baking sheet with sides when they are finished browning.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Drain the grease from the pan used to fry the meatballs and return it to the heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and add the prosciutto. Once the prosciutto is crisp add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until they begin to soften -- Don't brown. Add the garlic.

When you smell the garlic, add the wine and the bay leaves. Reduce the wine to a glaze and then add the stock and rosemary sprig. Reduce the liquid by half. Add the milk and cream. Let it come to a boil and then then place the pan into the oven.
Place the baking sheet with the meatballs into the oven. Set a timer for 16 minutes.

About 4 minutes before the timer goes off drop the noodles into the pot of boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. If using DiCecco or other dried pasta, put the pasta into the water earlier, according to package instructions, timed to be done when meatballs are.

Drain the pasta when it's al dente. Remove the sauce and meatballs from the oven. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprig from the sauce. While the sauce shouldn't be too thick, it should be reduced.

To plate, hold the end of a noodle with a clean towel. Place about a tablespoon of sauce between each layer as you bunch it on the plate. Place three meatballs on top drizzle with some ragu and grate more cheese over the top and serve.

Serves 4


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