I mean, who’s going to argue with Sophia Loren?
There is no magic in this world quite like pasta. A staple of the family dinner table; the quickest dinner in any of our repertoires; the first thing we learn to cook. For something so simple (eggs, flour, salt, traditionally), you could go your whole life without making the same recipe twice.
Although I eat very little pasta in my day to day life, I get a kick out of making it when cooking for others. I weirdly feel the need to prove myself, that I can make more than mac and cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with mac and cheese!), or fusilli with a jar of pasta sauce and tinned tuna; my go-to uni student meal.
This is total restaurant quality stuff. It’s incredibly flavourful and moorish, and a great thing to plate up when you’re wanting to impress someone. Yeah, I’m calling it. Date food. Write it down.
Beef Short Rib & Mushroom Orecchiette
20g dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2.5kg beef short ribs (I only used 1.5kg)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
200g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
Parmesan, to serve
Heat the oven to 180*c.
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2/3 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, keeping the liquid, and halve the mushrooms if they’re large.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large flame proof and oven proof dish. Season the ribs really well with salt and pepper, then add to the dish and cook for 12 minutes, turning until well browned. Place the ribs on a plate and set aside.
Add the carrot, celery and onion to the dish and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft. Turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a minute, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, cooking for a minute.
Add the wine, stock, bay leaves, porcini and the reserved liquid. Add the ribs and resting juices to the dish, then bring to a simmer. Cover the dish and place it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Remove the dish from the oven, and remove the ribs. Leave them to one side to cool slightly. Place the dish over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens a little.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in a pan of salted water. Drain.
In a large frypan, heat the butter, then add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes until golden.
Remove the meat from the ribs, throwing away the cartilage and bones. Tear up the meat into small pieces, then add the meat and mushrooms to the sauce, along with the pasta. Toss together thoroughly, then season with salt and pepper.