Grilled Beef Short Ribs for a Lazy Summer Day

About 10 years ago, braised beef short ribs were very popular in restaurants (maybe they still are—I don’t eat out often enough to know) and home cooks joined the bandwagon. Due to the nature of the short rib there is no way you will be cooking this when you come home from work because it will take too long.  That’s why short ribs are perfect for a wintery Saturday as a braise, but you can also grill them very slowly too in the summer.  There should not be any mystery behind short ribs, but some cooks seem at a loss.  That’s probably because they are unfamiliar with the cut and that different cuts come from different parts of the cow and require different cooking methods.  Short ribs are a beef cut from the region known as chuck, the portion of the cow running from the shoulders down a bit to include the shorter portion of the ribs, hence the name.  This is a very tough piece of meat with lots of connective tissue.  It needs long slow cooking to break this down and create the melt-in-your-mouth result that we all love to replicate.  There’s one secret and that’s to cook it a ridiculously long time at a very low temperature.  This means it should cook between 5 and 6 hours.  The most appropriate way to cook them is by braising or stewing. To grill them, you will make a not-very-hot and not-very big fire on one side of the firebox and you will have to replenish coals every now and then, meaning this is a dish for a long-lasting grill party where someone, preferably the cook, will be around the fire for 6 hours in order to tend to the meat. You don’t need to season the meat any more than just salt and pepper.  The heat must be low, so at no time should the meat be over the fire and you must let the coals die down considerably and replenish them sparingly. Use the grill cover, but if it seems the meat is cooking too fast take the cover off.

Fava, Artichokes, and Porcini Mushrooms with “Straw and Hay” Fettuccine

June is the time for fava and artichokes and what better way than to cook them with pasta as is typical of Italian cooking. In this recipe inspired by Tuscan cooking, the name of this pasta dish in Italian, paglia e fieno, is a slight twist on a typical dish in Siena, that means “straw and hay” and refers to the straw-colored pasta and the grass (or hay)-colored pasta.  It is a dish I never want to miss when I’m in Tuscany during porcini mushroom season in the fall.  In this recipe, I use dried porcini which is a simply wonderful taste. Double-peeled fava beans means the bean is removed from its pod and from its skin, which can be done by plunging the beans in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then pinching the seam to extract the naked bean.

"Paglia e fieno" con fava e porcini
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Tuscan
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 ounce prosciutto, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 large cooked artichoke foundation, sliced
  • ¾ pound double-peeled fresh fava beans
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushroom, soaked in tepid water for 10 minutes
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • ½ pound green (spinach) fettuccine
  • ½ pound egg fettuccine
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ cups (about 3 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat with the truffle oil, olive oil, garlic, and prosciutto, then cook until everything has been sizzling for about 2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Drain the mushrooms, saving 2 tablespoons of liquid, slice the mushrooms, and add to the pan. Add the artichokes, fava beans, and mushroom liquid. Cook 1 minute, then add the cream and crème fraîche and continue cooking until it begins to bubble.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, salt abundantly, then cook the pasta until al dente. Drain without rinsing.
  3. Transfer the pasta to the sauté pan and toss thoroughly over medium heat until well blended with the sauce. Add the parsley and parmigiano to the pan and toss as you cook for another minute or two. Serve immediately.


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