I would like it if the photo matched the taste, which was awesome. Slow braised, cross-cut beef shanks (a very inexpensive bit of meat) with herbs, vegetables, in wine and stock for two hours. Then, after removing the shanks, pushed everything through a strainer for a wonderful ragu sauce, with the added back bits of meat, to top polenta or pasta. I adapted my recipe from Ms. Glaze's recently posted Braised Beef Shank with Rosemary Polenta. I'm planning a polenta dinner in a few days and didn't want to repeat myself, so used the penne, which accompanied very nicely. I was also out of canned tomatoes, so a jar of marinara sauce from my pantry was a very decent substitute if I do say so. And, I do.
1 3/4's – 2 lbs beef shank (2 slices across the bone, approximately 3"'s thick)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium carrot peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup dry red wine (with extra to add if desired)
3 cups beef stock
1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, or jar prepared marinara sauce
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb. penne pasta
Pour in the red wine and reduce by half. Add enough beef stock until it just covers the meat, then add all the sauce from the can of the peeled tomatoes and 4 of the tomatoes. Break apart the tomatoes with a spoon. Or just use, as I did a jar of marinara prepared sauce; and toss in your fresh or dried herbs (if using dry, use less).
When the braising liquid is simmering, place in the oven uncovered. Check every half hour and turn the shanks over after 1 hour. If the braising liquid is reducing to quickly you can either add more stock and red wine or place a lid on it. The meat should be covered on the sides at all times.
After about 2 hours the meat should be tender. Remove shanks and keep warm. Put the braising liquid through a strainer pressing hard against all the vegetables with a ladle or wooden spoon. (If you lack the patience for this, just puree in your food processor or blender). Scrape the bottom of the strainer and make sure to add all those puréed vegetables.
Return the resulting sauce to the pot and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mine was already thick enough, even though I added stock to help get it through the strainer. Add the shanks back to the pot and keep on low heat while cooking up your pasta.
Since we're just in time for the Second "Festa Italiana", organized annually by Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie of Proud Italian Cook, I'm going to submit this. Check it out for all kinds of delicious Italian dishes.