Stracotto is a traditional Tuscan pot roast. Short ribs work beautifully here. Gremolata is a relish of lemon zest, garlic and parsley traditionally used with osso bucco to offset the richness with a fresh, bright counterpoint.

4 pieces, 3-4 bones each, Shenandoah Valley Beef Co-Op beef short ribs, cut 2″ wide
4 cups Sangiovese (or other red) wine
1 Onion, julienne
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks Celery, sliced
4 cups Beef stock
2 sprigs Rosemary
2-3 Cloves
3 Bay leaves
1/2 cup Pure Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Tie the allspice and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth to form a sachet. In a non-reactive container, pour the wine over the short ribs and add the sachet. Cover and marinate overnight.

Drain the wine and sachet from the ribs and reserve. Pat the ribs dry and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a shallow, heavy-bottomed pan with the olive oil. Add the ribs and brown on all sides over a medium heat. Remove the ribs from the pan.

Add the vegetables to the pan and turn-up the heat. Sauté briefly. Add the reserved wine, the beef stock the sachet and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce by a third. Reduce to a simmer and replace the ribs in the pan bone-side-down. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in a 325°F oven. Braise for approximately 3 hours or until completely tender.

Allow the ribs to cool in the pan at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or until fat solidifies

Remove the solidified fat from the pan. Place the pan over a low heat to melt the sauce and heat the ribs through. Using tongs and a spatula, carefully remove the ribs from the pan. Place on a plate and keep warm in the oven at a low temperature.

Pass the sauce through a food mill to puree. Bring back to a boil in a saucepot and then reduce to a simmer.  Skim fat and adjust the consistency if necessary by reducing. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve the short ribs with the sauce and polenta. Sprinkle with gremolata.

For the Gremolata:

Zest of one lemon without any white pith, chopped fine
One clove fresh garlic, chopped fine
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped fine

Spread gremolata ingredients on a piece of paper towel to dry. Combine them in a small bowl when dry.


1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) Butter
8 leaves Fresh Sage
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot, bring 5 cups of water to boil. Salt the water well then whisk in the cornmeal in a steady stream. Continue whisking until the polenta comes to the boil. Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and continue whisking until the polenta begins to bind together. When the polenta comes together, lower the heat to a slow simmer. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes, whisking occasionally to keep the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more water if necessary during cooking. The polenta should be smooth and not too thick.

Combine the butter with the sage leaves in a sauté pan over high heat. Cook until the butter turns light brown and the sage leaves crisp. Strain the butter into the polenta and stir in. Reserve the crisp sage leaves for garnish. Stir in the cheese and adjust the seasoning

To serve:

Spoon polenta on the side of 4 plates. Spoon the sauce next to the polenta and top with 3-4 ribs. Sprinkle each rib with gremolata and serve.

(For a final garnish if desired, sprinkle polenta with grated Parmesan and top with a reserved sage leaf from the polenta).

Copyright Delfina Restaurant, San Francisco.

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