Comfort Food to Kick Off the New Year

OK — chances are you are probably eating more like a bunny rabbit nowadays, trying to get rid of those holiday/COVID/cookie pounds. But it is cold outside, and sometimes you just need to serve up some stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, am I right? This is the meal that is worth cheating on your diet for.

Tender Short Ribs with Easy Orzo Mac & Cheese

Serves 6–8

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 4+ hours

TOMATO & WINE BRAISED SHORT RIBS

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds (6 to 9) short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup rosé or dry white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in sauce
  • 1 cup water or beef stock (optional) Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or lemon thyme

Method

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a heavy-bottom cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, then brown the short ribs in olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Deglaze the pan with the rosé or white wine. Break up the peeled tomatoes with your hands, and add them to the pan. Add water or beef stock to make the dish more brothy. Season with salt and pepper, then put the rosemary or lemon thyme in the pot. Place the lid on. Bake for 4 hours or until the ribs are fall-apart tender.


STOVETOP ORZO MAC & CHEESE WITH BREADCRUMBS

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce package orzo (cooked according to package instructions)
  • 2 cups heavy cream, or half & half
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt to taste

Method

In a large pot of salted water, cook the orzo according to package instructions for al dente pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta, and reserve 1 cup pasta water. Do not rinse. Turn the heat to low, and add the pasta back to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir until the cheese is melted. Do not overcook; the cheese might curdle or separate. If you are using pre-shredded cheese, the cellulose powder will leave a gritty texture. Serve with buttered breadcrumbs.


BUTTERED BREADCRUMBS

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Method

Pulse the bread in a food processor until it is a fine crumb. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bread in the butter until it reaches a deep golden brown, making sure not to burn it. Mix in the chopped parsley, then season.

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