A while back I posted this pasta photo on Facebook, with the caption, “What would you make with these?” I sincerely needed help, because all I could think to do with this large variety, called Lumaconi, is to stuff them, like one would stuff manicotti.
The thing is, I don’t stuff. Which seriously makes me wonder why in the world I purchased it. I guess I’m like a little kid in a candy store when it comes to pretty pasta.
I received wonderful suggestions online – mostly stuffing ideas with ricotta-based fillings, and sauce ideas like sausage-pumpkin and lobster.
But my friend Shanna, a food blogger herself, although also a busy Mom to three beautiful foodie children, and awaiting her fourth, came up with the winning solution to my lumaconi dilemma.
Make a sauce with short ribs!!!! That way, little bits of the velvety-soft ribs would coat the pasta but also stick inside it.
Thank you, Shanna! Here’s what I did.
Lumaconi with Short Rib Sauce
7 1/2 – 8 pounds short ribs, about 12 ribs
12 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 medium onions, finely chopped
Approximately 8 ounces carrots, coarsely chopped
Approximately 8 ounces celery – ribs and leaves – chopped
Coarsely chopped bunch of flat-leafed parsley
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups beef broth, or more
2 cups red wine
8 ounces tomato paste
6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
Dried thyme, to taste, about 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 – 500 gram package (17.6 ounces) lumaconi
Freshly chopped parsley, optional
Freshly grated Parmesan, optional
Bring the short ribs close to room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the flour, pepper, and salt together in a large bowl.
Have a large pot on the stove, with at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil in it over high heat. Coat four short ribs into the flour mixture and place in the pot with the hot oil.
Brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total, then place them in a large bowl.
Add more olive oil to the pot, if necessary, and when it’s hot, brown the next four ribs. Repeat until they are all browned.
Lower the heat to medium and stir in the onions, carrots, celery, and parsley. Add a little oil if necessary.
Sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic for only 30 seconds, then add the red wine and broth.
Let the mixture come to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Then place all of the short ribs in the mixture; they should all fit in one layer, even if they’re upright.
If the ribs stick out too much above the liquid, add a little more broth until the short ribs are mostly covered.
Let the veggie-liquid mixture come to a boil again, then cover the pot and turn down the heat to simmer. After about 2 hours, move the ribs around, then cook for another 2 hours.
Turn off the heat, let the ribs cool off, uncovered, then refrigerate overnight.
Before heating up the short ribs and sauce, gently remove some of the congealed fat. I say “gently” because although the fat might offend a lot of folks, it also holds a lot of good flavor.
Heat the pot of short ribs and sauce slowly, uncovered, then remove the short ribs from the sauce, using tongs, to a bowl or large plate to cool.
Add the tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes.
Heat the sauce a bit, mostly to soften the tomatoes. Then, using a hand blender, emulsify the sauce.
Alternately, use a large blender jar to blend the sauce smoothly. Taste for seasoning.
When you can handle the cooled short rib meat, finely chop it up and add to the blended sauce; keep warm.
Alternatively, use a stand mixer to shred the meat. I first learned this technique when I made pork rillettes, and it works great! Just stop mixing before a paste forms!
In a large pot of salted water, cook the lumaconi or other pasta according to package directions.
Drain and add the pasta to the short rib sauce. Or, place the pasta on a plate and top with desired amount of sauce, which is what I did.
Serve hot, with chopped parsley.
The short rib sauce isn’t beautiful; I could have thinned it a bit. But it’s extremely flavorful.
I served two people who wanted Parmesan, and it went beautifully with the pasta and sauce.