photo by Dana Gallagher

Short ribs are much more common in the U.S. than in Italy but they lend themselves well to  and size of the cut lend it to many Italian preparations. Braising, a very common way of cooking meat in Italy, is the ideal way to prepare them. These fork-tender, succulent short ribs are the perfect antidote to a cold winter’s day. By the end the potatoes become partly mashed, and together with the tomatoes form a wonderful thick sauce. This dish can be made up to two days ahead.  Short ribs have become one of our family’s favorite cuts of beef and they are a wonderful rustic winter delight.

Beef Short Ribs Braised with Tomatoes and Potatoes

From How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan


Preparation time: 20 minutes

Total Time from Start to Finish: About 2 hours

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 pounds beef short ribs


Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion

1 tablespoon fresh sage

1 pound ripe tomatoes

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes

1.  Put the olive oil in a braising pan large enough to accommodate the ribs snugly over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, add half of the short ribs and brown them on all sides.  Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining short ribs. After all the meat has been browned, season with salt and pepper

2.  While the meat is browning, peel, halve, and slice the onions.  Add them to the pan and turn the heat on to medium-low.  Season lightly with salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes

3.  While the onions are sautéing, peel the tomatoes and cut into 1/2 inch dice.  Chop the sage and add it to the onions when they are done.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes.  Season the tomatoes lightly with salt, then return the short ribs to the pan.  Cover with the lid slightly askew and cook, turning the ribs every 15-20 minutes, until all the liquid in the pan has evaporated and the meat becomes colored with the tomato, about 1 hour. If all the liquid evaporates before an hour has elapsed, add some water to the pan.

4.  While the meat is cooking, peel the potatoes and cut them into 3/4 inch cubes.  Place them in a bowl and cover with cold water to prevent them from discoloring.  Add the potatoes to the pan and stir well.  Season lightly with salt, and add about 1/2 cup water.  Cover the pan completely and cook until the potatoes and the meat are very tender, 30-45 minutes, adding more water if needed.  Serve hot.