8th Honorable Mention – 2015 Recipe Contest

Chef Richie here, at your service…to share more culinary nuggets of wisdom and make the world a better place through sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, risotto and the Mediterranean diet in general.

Happy springtime! In Italian: Felice (pronounced FAY-lee-CHAY) Primavera! Yes that’s right, primavera means springtime…not just a pasta with a lot of vegetables. Primavera means spring lamb and spring chicken and asparagus and fava beans and English peas (simple steamed al dente asparagus, favas and peas with Bella Sun Luci estate grown extra virgin arbequina olive oil are an all time favorite!…awesome additions to the aforementioned chicken or lamb) and spring mix (they used to call mixed baby lettuces ‘Spring Mix’) and…flowers…lots and lots of flowers…wildflowers…edible and tasty flowers like calendulas and nasturtiums and borage and Johnny jump-ups and even roses and orchids! There’s also something called mixed edible blossoms. Chef Richie Says: for your next special culinary occasion, ask your specialty produce person to order you some (I just called a big chain supermarket’s produce department and they said they would order them for me!) and be patient. It takes my local place about a week to get them in on special order. Edible blossoms (and any/all herb flowers) make the most vibrant, colorful garnishes ever and can be used on both savory and sweet dishes.

OK…now, ladies and gentlemen…cooks and chefs…this month’s 2015 recipe contest honorable mention winner is from…drum roll…home chef Thomas Dombek. Congratulations Chef! You’ll receive a deluxe gift box of Bella Sun Luci products so you can get going on your recipe entry for next year’s contest and add special touches to your repertoire. Keep up the good work and maybe your next recipe will put you in next year’s contest’s money!

Now…it’s still cold and rainy…winter is lingering even here in Northern California and I’m sure it’s still freezing in other parts of the country, so I’ve chosen this month’s honorable mentionee because it’s a comfort food classic and it takes a long time to cook so it will warm up your home! It’s also a perfect way to add the asparagus-fava-pea accompaniment mentioned above, for color, flavor and texture…and health! Eat your colors people! And…it’s a challenging dish that will help improve, or keep sharp, your repertoire and classic technique skills like braising. This technique is applicable to many wonderful dishes like osso buco, lamb shanks and coq au vin.

Rustic Country Ribs Italiano

  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless beef country short ribs, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • ½ tbs light soy sauce
  • ½ tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz pasta, cooked and warmed
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping
  • fresh basil, chopped, to taste

Preheat oven to 275.

In a heavy oven proof pot over medium high heat cook bacon for about 3 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside reserving the bacon grease.

Add beef ribs in the same pot over medium high heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove beef ribs and set aside. Add the shredded carrot, onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, mushrooms and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup of beef broth scraping up the browned bits of food stuck to bottom of the skillet. Add the bacon, beef ribs , second cup of beef broth, crushed tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning.

Place pot in the oven and cook 3 ½ hours until beef ribs are fork tender.

In a bowl add Parmesan cheese, heavy cream. soy sauce and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper to taste

Toss pasta with Parmesan sauce. Top with beef ribs and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Congratulations Chef Dombeck! I’m looking forward to your 2016 Recipe Contest entry and…everybody…Get cooking, happy cooking, buon appetito and FELICE PRIMAVERA!

Chef Richie Hirshen

Corporate Chef

Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci

Chico, CA