Manzo Costatine Brasato al Nebbiolo

or: Beef Short Ribs Braised in Nebbiolo
I’m still having fun with the Tourist Office of Langhe and Roero’s Recipe/Food Photography contest, #LangheRoeroinCucina.  This week’s ingredient is the local beef, Razza Bovina Piemontese.  Obviously, I can’t get Razza Bovina in Minnesota, but I can get local grass-fed beef from my friends at Sunshine Harvest Farm!  Not strictly Piemontese, but true to the Locavore Piemontese spirit.  Beef braised in Barolo is an Italian tradition; it fits perfectly with our long Minnesota winters.  We spend many a Sunday afternoon with the kitchen full of good smells from something braising for hours in the oven.  It’s not too late, you might still enjoy this meal on a cool spring day.

Braised meats are a Piemonte tradition

Braised meats are a Piemontese tradition, a beautifully aged Barolo adds to the experience

This is a great meal for entertaining, as most of the work can be done before guests arrive.  The final preparation is quick and easy.  A couple of notes on the dinner and the wine: you don’t need to use Barolo ($$) as your wine for braising, but you’ll want to use a nice Nebbiolo based wine, like Langhe Nebbiolo.  Serving a fine Barolo or Barbaresco with the meal will complement the braised meat perfectly.  If your budget is tighter, a nice Langhe Nebbiolo will do the trick.

This traditional Piemontese dish is a perfect fit for Minnesota winters

This traditional Piemontese dish is a perfect fit for Minnesota winters

Azienda Agricola E. Piro et Figli Cuvee Chiara Barolo 2002
Eye: Clear, translucent warm red, a bit of orange at the edge
Nose: Beautiful immediately on opening, fresh, vital red fruit with prominent herbal component
This wine was a special gift from our friends, Robert and Leslie Alexander.  Leslie painted the label art for this wine! Robert told us the 2002 vintage had been a difficult one, and that we shouldn’t sit on the wine as it may not age as well as many vintages would.  Obviously, we saved the bottle.

A treasured gift from a friend with the instructions: drink the wine soon, save the bottle!

A treasured gift from a friend with the instructions: drink the wine soon, save the bottle!

Meal Preparation
The single most important thing to remember with this recipe?  You need to start a day ahead, as the meat needs to marinate overnight.  I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten this crucial step and had to change plans.  Ouch!

Perfect ingredients: local farm raised beef with Langhe Nebbiolo from Piemonte

Perfect ingredients: local farm raised beef with Langhe Nebbiolo from Piemonte

Manzo Costatine Brasato al Nebbiolo (Beef Short Ribs Braised in Nebbiolo)

Wine Pairing: Nebbiolo based wine, especially Barolo or Barbaresco

  • 1 kg beef short ribs with bones, cut into large chunks
  • 2 bottles Langhe Nebbiolobeef_braised_nebbiolo_pira_barolo_20140209_27
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into medium chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into thick slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 large pinch of ground cinnamon
  • additional stock if liquid is required during braising
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper, extra virgin olive oil


  • Important: The meat must be marinated overnight.  Start this recipe the day before serving!
  • Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a dutch oven on a medium heat.  Being careful not to overcrowd the meat, brown on all sides, you may need to do this in several batches.
  • After the meat has been browned, add another 1 Tbs of olive oil to the dutch oven and brown the onions.  Remove the dutch oven from the stove top and allow to cool.
  • Add the beef, the vegetables and herbs, and cover with the two bottles of Nebbiolo.  Place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.
  • The next day, set the oven for 150° C.  Place the dutch oven in the center of the oven.  Check after 1/2 hour, adjust the oven temperature to allow the liquid to bubble a bit, but not an active boil.  Usually 125°-150°C is just right.
  • The meat will usually take at least 3 hours to become fork-tender.
  • When the meat is done, remove it carefully from the dutch oven.  Be careful as the meat can easily slip off the bones.
  • Strain the remaining liquid to remove the vegetables and herbs.
  • In the same dutch oven, reduce the liquid over medium heat to the consistency you desire.
  • Return the meat to the reduced liquid and hold in the oven at 100-125° C until ready to serve

Side dish – Mashed Melange of Potatoes, Turnips & Cauliflower

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubedbeef_braised_nebbiolo_pira_barolo_20140209_83
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cauliflower florets, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 125 grams milk
  • Olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat oven to 225° C
  • Toss the vegetables with 1 Tbs of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Place in a single layer in a roasting pan.
  • Roast for 25 minutes
  • Mash all three vegetables together with the butter and 1/2 of the milk.
  • Adjust to your desired consistency with the remaining milk.

Serve the braised beef on the mashed vegetables. Enjoy!

Thanks to Robert and Leslie Alexander, of Travel Langhe for a lovely and memorable bottle of wine!


14 Responses to “Manzo Costatine Brasato al Nebbiolo”
  1. shamelessfoodieluv says:

    love the pic!

  2. Nebbiolo is a wonderful wine…like all the wines from Piemonte.
    Excellent Post, thanks

  3. You have an excellent blog that shines a delicious light on this under-discovered region of Italy! Keep it up.

  4. Wow, that looks delicious! I look forward to reading more about your travels in Piemonte!

    • Have you considered 7X beef from Colorado? It’s the closest I’ve found in the States to what you’re looking for.

      • Thanks for the suggestion! My feeling was that in principle, going local is the next best thing to authentic fassone. I know my farmer personally and get to visit with him when I purchase at our farmers market.

      • Great philosophy. Of course, 7X is local for me. 🙂 By the way, have you read “The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Industry?” I’m finding it nearly impossible to eat any meat from grocery stores or from restaurants that I don’t know their meat sources. Fortunately in Vail Valley we have some excellent chefs who are very conscientious about their produce sources.

        Good luck in the competition. Keep us posted!

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