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Italian Short Ribs

This dish is best made the day before, so it is perfect for a party. Do not skip the flour-dredging step - this will make the sauce nice and thick. And don't be afraid of the spices - the sauce is rich and savory, not sweet.

Olive oil
Kosher salt
Flour for dredging
3 pounds beef short ribs
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
14 ounce can beef stock, (low sodium if available)
14 ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, slivered (do not use oil packed!)
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped coarse
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
(Chopped fresh parsley or basil, as garnish, optional)

Heat oven to 325°. Heat heavy Dutch oven and coat bottom with olive oil. Generously salt ribs, then dredge ribs in flour. Shake to remove excess flour and brown over medium-high heat in several batches, about 2 minutes on all sides. Remove to plate. In the same oil over medium heat, sauté the onion for one minute, add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Remove from heat. Add the wine, beef stock, diced tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Return ribs to Dutch oven, pushing the meat down into the sauce to cover. Place the lid securely on the Dutch oven and bake the ribs for one hour at 325°; reduce oven to 300° and bake for an additional hour.

At this point you have several options:

1. Serve the ribs whole, with the sauce, over pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes. Remove the ribs very carefully as the meat will easily fall from the bone.

2. Remove the ribs to a plate and shred the meat using two dinner forks. Return the meat to the sauce, stir to combine. (Discard the bones and fatty bits.) Serve the sauce over pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes.

3. My personal favorite: Remove the ribs and shred the meat. (Discard the bones and fatty bits.) Return shredded meat to the sauce. Stir well to combine. Let cool, then refrigerate the meat and sauce overnight so the fat will gather to the top and easily be removed before reheating. Reheat either in oven or stove top and serve over creamy polenta.

Serves 6.

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