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Sunday night we decided to tackle quite a meal.  And when I say “we”, I mean my husband and I because I don’t think I could have pulled this off without his help.  We made Chianti Braised Short Ribs, which my husband had at the Olive Garden and then we found the recipe online.  To go with it, I made Cooking Light’s Wild Mushroom Risotto.  This was my first attempt at risotto, and I now see why people complain about making it.  It was not an easy feat.  However, it was very worth it.

Now, I have to tell you that the pictures turned out… well… terrible.  We were too busy cooking (my husband manned the Chianti sauce while I stirred the stubborn risotto) to take a decent prep picture, and the final presentation … well you can see for yourself.  Apparently I should have spooned less sauce onto the plate for the picture.

However, if I could upload smell and taste, you’d run out to get the ingredients to make this dish.  The house smelled like heaven as the meat braised slowly for 3 hours (this was actually quite easy to make), and the mushrooms in the risotto only added to the wonderful aromas.  And the finished product?  It was AMAZING.  As much as the risotto was a bit too chewy, and it cooked for twice the time that Cooking Light told me to cook it, I can’t wait to make this all again.

I think that my problem with the risotto was in the beginning… it really needs to soak up all of the liquid.. and I mean all.. before adding more.  That way the rice kernels are not chewy at the end.  And keep in mind that this meal took, from start to finish, like 4 hours to prepare.  So, you need a Sunday afternoon, and a helpful husband to pull this one off.  But it will impress your guests.

The short ribs really don’t require much work, just a long cooking time.  So you could always serve this with some garlic mashed potatoes instead of the risotto.  And the sauce was so good that we have leftovers that we plan to serve over pasta tomorrow night!

You can watch how the chef prepares the Chianti Braised Short Ribs on You Tube here.

Wild Mushroom Risotto
courtesy Cooking Light Magazine, September 2001
serves 8

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups water
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 6 ounces)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup dry sherry

Combine porcini mushrooms and 1/2 cup boiling water in a bowl. Cover and let stand 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid.

Combine reserved liquid, 1 1/2 cups water, and broth in a medium saucepan (reserve 1 cup of broth mixture if making ahead). Bring remaining broth mixture to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add shiitake mushrooms, and sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in porcini mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of the mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in sherry, and cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.

Note: Risotto requires long stirring and constant attention. Chefs, however, use a make-ahead method: Reserve 1 cup broth mixture; prepare the risotto with remaining broth mixture. Remove risotto from heat; cool and spread in an even layer on a jelly roll pan, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days. Just before serving, bring the reserved broth mixture to a simmer in a large saucepan; stir in the paritally cooked risotto. Cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add the sherry during the last 2 minutes, then serve.

Olive Garden Chianti Braised Short Ribs
serves 6

3-4 pounds boneless beef short ribs*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Chianti wine
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped

Pat the short ribs dry and season with salt and pepper.

Coat a large, nonstick pan with olive oil. Saute the short rib pieces over medium-high heat for about two to three minutes on each side or until brown. When finished, transfer the short ribs to a bowl.

Next, add the onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for approximately three minutes. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for one minute, then add the rosemary.

Add the Chianti, beef broth and tomatoes to the pan one at a time, allowing the liquid to evaporate partially before each addition (about two minutes).

Return the short ribs to the pan, including any juices that might have accumulated in the bowl. Cover and let simmer for three hours on low heat to complete the braising process.

Remove the short ribs from the pan and boil the liquid until it’s reduced by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and heat thoroughly.

Serve with potatoes or risotto and vegetables.

*Your grocery store butcher can cut into individual ribs and de-bone.


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  1. avarie Says:

    A little risotto tip… Saute rice for 4 minutes (don’t brown it though)… it’s part of the cooking process… also, proportions of liquid… if it calls for 4 cups… start with 3/4 or if you’re me, cover the rice entirely… then reduce the liquid as you go… 1/2c then 1/4 and so on… it should only take about 30 min total. Also, thought maybe by the pic that you were using a non-stick pot? If so, risotto does not bode well… If you have a cast iron coated pan that works best… otherwise a stainless pot. Don’t ask me why. Last, instead of the sherry at the end, modify with good white wine in the first reduction… just a preference I have. Cannot wait to try the ribs they sound amazing… I have not ever attempted… just crock-pot em. Thanks for the recipe.

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