With the change of seasons, out comes the slow cooker for meals that you can start in the morning and come home to your home infused with mouth-watering aromas that elevate your spirits on the gloomiest of grey days.
One of my favorite books for slow cooking is Michele Scicolone’s The Italian Slow Cooker, and amongst its fool-proof recipes, I continually return to her balsamic-glazed short ribs. Just a few ingredients, beef short ribs, olive oil, garlic, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and fresh rosemary, yield an extraordinary savory dish that will wow your guests and have them asking for seconds. (I also add some grated nutmeg and a bay leaf.) Any leftover ribs, can be shredded and warmed in the remaining de-fatted sauce, and served with fettuccine or pappardelle.
For contorni, side dishes, I typically serve a simple polenta and peas.
The recipe is available online here.
I find this dish works best with thick, well trimmed bone-in short ribs that will stand up to a cooking time of eight hours on low. Each rib about 1.25 pounds.
For maximum flavor, take the time to brown your ribs well on all sides.
If your budget allows, use a high-quality aged balsamic that is thick and rich. It will contribute to the final glaze. In the past, I’ve made this dish with additional aromatics like onions and carrots but have found that the vegetables dilute the intensity of the sauce.
Also take the few minutes required to reduce the wine and balsamic sauce before adding to the slow cooker.
Wine Pairing: Nebbiolo, Corvina, Valpolicella Ripasso.