I come from a big family. A big Italian family. Growing up we never really had many friends. We had family. Cousins, uncles, aunts. Who needed friends when we had so much love, so much fun, within our own little circle of Italian goodness. Eventually our big family became really big. My cousins had families of their own, and so on. With such a big group, it was hard to stay connected. It’s still hard to stay connected. But just because things change doesn’t mean that they aren’t as important as they always were. When you are Italian, and a Petosa, family is family. And we are all very important to each other. I was recently reminded of this.
A few nights ago, I received an unexpected call from my cousin Mark. He called just to say hi, just to check in on me, and to (of course) ask me about a recipe for something I posted awhile back. His call put the biggest smile on my face. I have not spoken to him in awhile so it was great to briefly catch up. And talk about food. And life. And food. And love. And food. Which is kind of our life. So this one is for you, “My Marcus.” Thank you for calling to make my day. Cousins are special. And I am grateful for you. And for our little big family.
Ribs. With cheddar polenta. Yum.
Short Ribs with Cheezy Polenta
First, prep ribs
• 1 rack beef short ribs, about 2 1/2 pounds, cut into 4-ounce portions
• 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 dried ancho chile
• 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup kosher salt
• 1 gallon water
• Cheddar Polenta, recipe follows
Next, prepare ribs
Season both sides of the ribs with the ancho chile powder. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Note, this is an important step. Plan ahead!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place a roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove. Add oil and sear ribs on all sides. Add the soy sauce, ancho chile, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, kosher salt, and water to the roasting pan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and tightly cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until the ribs are tender and fall from the bones, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Last, prepare polenta
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 2 cups milk
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup polenta
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of water with the milk, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often with a large wooden spoon, until the polenta thickens, about 25 minutes.
Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the cheddar and Parmesan, and stir well. Adjust seasoning, to taste, and serve hot. Over the yummy ribs. Which will be perfect after 3 1/5 hours of cooking.
Note: Thank you JC for sharing this. It’s one of my favorites and is sure to now be a favorite of the entire Petosa clan. For those of you still on the January health program, sadly, this recipe is NOT for you.