Cooking 101

‘Angry’ sauce creates happiness as an addition to braised short ribs

It’s the sauce that’s angry, not the chef, in this rib-sticking recipe developed by Johnson County Community College student chef Andrew Wendt.

In fact, Wendt is downright cheerful when he talks about his recipe that pairs short ribs with arrabiata sauce and pasta.

“I really like it,” he said. “It’s delicious.”

Arrabiata means angry in Italian, a reference to the heat generated by serrano peppers in the recipe. Wendt likes serrano, but you can use any pepper you’d like to add the heat.

Wendt likes the sauce well enough that he uses it in other recipes that call for a marinara sauce, especially pizza.

If you use fresh tomatoes, Wendt says it’s important to beat the tomatoes in the pan to extract the maximum flavor. When you’re finished, the tomatoes should almost look like they’ve been pureed.

This recipe calls for some of the vegetables to be diced large and others to be diced medium. The size of the cut has to do with how long the vegetable will be cooked. Large dices, or vegetables cut to about 3/4-inch by 3/4-inch pieces, are preferred for a longer cooking time like that used in a stew or braised meat dish. Cutting all the vegetables to roughly the same size evens out the cooking time, too.

Smaller dices are used for shorter cooking times. A medium dice is about 1/2-inch cubes; fine dice is about 1/4-inch cubes. The finest dice — 1/8-inch cubes — is called brunoise (prounounced broo-NWAHZ).

Braised Short-Ribs With Arrabiata Rigatoni

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds boneless beef short ribs Salt and pepper, to taste 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil 2 yellow onions, diced large 1/2 celery stalk, diced large
3 medium carrots, diced large 2 cups red wine 2 tablespoons lemon juice 5 sprigs thyme 2 quarts beef stock 4 tablespoon olive oil 4 garlic cloves 2 medium onions, medium dice 6 medium tomatoes with juice, peeled and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can undrained chopped tomatoes 1 teaspoon chili flakes 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil 1 serrano chili pepper, finely chopped Salt and pepper to taste 2 pounds dry rigatoni Chopped oregano, for garnish Prepare short ribs:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add oil; sear short ribs in hot oil for 15 seconds on each side; set aside.

In same pan, sauté onions, celery and carrots until onions become slightly translucent. Deglaze pan with red wine and lemon juice: Heat liquid to boil and scrape the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, then add thyme to bring the aromatics out of the herb.

Place seared short ribs in the center of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Surround with celery, carrot and onion mixture. Add enough beef stock to almost cover short ribs. Cover pan with foil; cook in 250-degree oven for about 3 hours, until tender enough to be pulled apart with a fork, checking for tenderness after 2 1/2 hours.

Prepare sauce:

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until aromatic; then add onions and cook until onion has softened. Add chopped tomatoes with liquid, chili flakes, basil and chopped serrano chili pepper. Squash tomatoes with tongs or a spatula to break apart the tomatoes and release the juice. Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 40 to 45 minutes until it is reduced to a nice thick sauce.

Cook pasta in salted water until cooked al dente, following package directions; drain the pasta. Add to sauce and mix well.

To serve, place a serving of pasta on individual serving plate; top with one serving of short ribs, and a sprinkle of chopped oregano.

Per serving: 1,068 calories (28 percent from fat), 34 grams total fat (7 grams saturated), 55 milligrams cholesterol, 134 grams carbohydrates, 58 grams protein, 823 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber.