That PW. She takes awesome photographs. She surprised herself by marrying a rancher. She helps deliver the cattle babies. She grows veggies and flowers. She keeps basset hounds. She remodeled her guest house, plank by plank. She keeps the house, apparently with no help. She washes. She cleans manure off boots. She homeschools her children, all four of them. She writes one of America's most popular blogs. She recently published a cookbook and a children's story book. She keeps her handsome 'rugged and virile' Malboro Man happy. She does more but I can't keep count. She's one of those people who gets 48 hours out of her 24-hour day.
She cooks too, did I tell you, not for the photographs as many food bloggers do, but to feed her brood so they grow big, strong and happy. She has at least three hands, because she can cook and take photos of herself stirring and whipping. She's funny and she laughs at herself and everything. To me, PW's draw is her fun and funny attitude towards cooking. She's a seriously good cook but she's doesn't cook seriously. So what if the souffle failed--Charlie the basset hound has risen from the (almost) dead. So what if dinner's burnt--the fire in the field has been put out and her virile man (check him out, he does look like a Malboro ad man) is home. That's what's so endearing about PW. She really is about the life in her years, not the years in her life. She's a superwoman. I want to live on her ranch too. But I can't so the least I can do is try to cook like her.
Short ribs in tomato sauce is delicious and easy to cook although it does take a long time, four terribly long hours. But it's not so bad because you don't have to stir or check on it because it stews slowly in the oven. If you have a Dutch oven, great. But I don't so I used a glass casserole dish. As PW advised, it's best to cook this dish early the day before so that the fat can be removed after chilling in the fridge. As with all stews, the meat tastes best when allowed to cool down and reheated the next day. Prolonged simmering softens the meat but doesn't let the flavor of the sauce seep in. Cooling and resting will draw the flavors of the sauce into the meat. This recipe is similar to the one that most of us do with lamb shanks except this one is simpler, without celery or carrots. If you like the tomatoes to look red like PW's, cook the stew a shorter time and serve on the same day. Mine went into the fridge for two days and the color deepened but so did the flavor and taste. It was really yum. I can imagine restaurants charging a bar of gold for a dinner of short ribs in tomato sauce. The best thing about short ribs is that it's not as unhealthy as oxtail (which is a top favorite in my family) and it is cheaper too. You must try this.
PW's Short Ribs In Tomato Sauce (serves 6-8)
1.5 kg short ribs, in small pieces
1 medium brown onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can 28 oz tomatoes (whole or chopped)
1 can 10 oz tomato sauce (I used 2 heaped T tomato paste + water)
1 cup red wine
1/4 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried chili flakes (omit if little kids are eating)
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
oil for frying
Garnish: grated parmesan and chopped Italian parsley
500 gm dried pasta
1. Preheat oven to 150 C. Season the ribs with 1 full teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Put a little bit of oil in a fry pan and brown the ribs in 2 to 3 batches.
2. In an oven-proof pot, fry the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil until transparent. Add the ribs, the tomatoes, the tomato sauce/paste, the wine and the seasoning. If the ribs aren't fully immersed in the sauce, add some water and stir through. Cover the pot and place on middle rack of oven. Cook for 4 hours without removing the lid. Taste and season if necessary.
3. When thoroughly cooled (I left the pot in the oven to cool), place the pot into the fridge to chill so that the hardened fat can be skimmed off. Reheat and serve hot over fettucine or rice or with toasted baguettes. Garnish with some grated parmesan and chopped parsley.