Southern Italian-Style Short Ribs

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 15 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings, plus reserved ribs for another meal
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10 bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat

Salt and freshly ground pepper 

2 tablespoons EVOO, plus more for drizzling

3 to 4 anchovy fillets

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 bay leaves

2 onions, cut into wedges with root end attached

1 large or 2 medium bulbs fennel, cut into wedges, plus 1/2 cup fennel fronds

1/4 cup tomato paste

Scant palmful chopped golden raisins

Pinch ground cloves

1 bottle Nero d'Avola or other spicy red wine

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Orange or lemon zest (or both), for garnish

Shaved pecorino cheese, for garnish

Ciabatta bread, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. 
  2. Bring the short ribs to room temperature. Pat the ribs dry, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle with EVOO. Arrange the ribs on a broiler pan and roast until well browned, 12 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and stir to melt them into the oil. Add the garlic, bay leaves, onions, and fennel bulb, and season with pepper. Stir for a few minutes to develop some color on the bottom of the pan, then add the tomato paste, raisins and cloves. Stir for a minute or 2 more, then add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Add the short ribs to the Dutch oven and stir to coat with the sauce. Cover and roast in the oven until the ribs are very tender, 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours. Remove the ribs to a platter and cover with foil. Reduce the sauce 10 to 15 minutes more. 
  5. Reserve 4 short ribs for another meal. Add the remaining ribs (on or off the bone) to the sauce. Divide among serving dishes and top with the parsley, fennel fronds, a sprinkle of zest and some pecorino. Serve with the bread for mopping up the sauce.

Cook’s Note

If you're not serving the short ribs immediately, cool them and store in the refrigerator. Reheat over a low flame or in a moderate oven. Wrap the breads in plastic to store then crisp and reheat in the oven.