Giada’s Short Rib Lasagna

Lasagna on plate #2 (575x372)Warm spring weather on Cape Cod is slow in coming.  The ocean breezes keep a chill in the air even though spring flowers and bushes are starting to bloom.  So, comfort food is still on the menu.

When my sister Diana texted me photos of some beef short ribs she was cooking in a Dutch oven, she certainly caught my attention.  “What are you making?” I asked.  “Giada’s Short Rib Lasagna,” was the reply, followed by “Come on over for dinner!”

I remembered Diana telling me about the first time she had made this lasagna a couple of months ago.  At that time, her brother-in-law was a lucky guest and said that this was the “best” lasagna he had ever had.  Darned if I don’t agree with him!

This delicious lasagna is not traditional in the sense that it doesn’t include ricotta as an ingredient.  You won’t miss it, though, since it has a rich béchamel sauce made with lots of Romano and mozzarella cheese.  The beef short ribs, cooked in red wine and beef broth along with onions, garlic, and rosemary, are simmered for hours until they are tender enough to shred with a fork.  When you add the kale along with basil and more garlic, you’ve got some hearty ingredients to layer with your lasagna noodles and marinara sauce.

I savored every bite—and even went back for seconds.  I wasn’t the only one to do so!

One year ago:  Slow Cooker Short Rib Sauce with Bucatini

Two years ago:  Cadbury Cream Egg Cookie Cups

Three years ago:  Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

Four years ago:  Morning Glory Muffins

Five years ago:  Braised Onions

Giada’s Short Rib Lasagna

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Ingredients for Ribs

Ingredients (575x413)

  • 2 tbl. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups red wine, such as Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups beef broth

Ingredients for Filling Mixture

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 1 small bunch Tuscan kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles (about 10 oz.)
  • Butter for greasing the baking dish
  • 1 25-ounce jar marinara sauce (or your own homemade marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil for drizzling


Make the RibsIn a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Season the ribs with the salt and pepper.  Add the ribs to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes each side until brown.

Fran's ribs sauteeingRemove the ribs and set aside.  Add the onion, garlic and rosemary.  Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft.

Fran's Onions & Garlic sauteeingIncrease the heat to high.  Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add the beef broth and ribs to the pan.

Fran's ribs in brothBring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the meat is very tender.  Remove the ribs and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.  Discard the bones and cooking liquid.  Using two forks, shred the meat into 2-inch-long pieces (to yield approximately 2 1/4 cups shredded meat).  The ribs can be made a day ahead.

Make the Filling MixtureIn a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add the cheeses and whisk until melted and the sauce is smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the kale, basil and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.

Make the PastaBring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Assemble the LasagnaPlace an oven rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Butter a 9×13-inch glass baking dish.  Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Tomatoes in lasagna pan (640x480) (575x431)Lay 3 noodles over the marinara.  Spread 1/3 of the filling mixture evenly over the noodles.

In pan with kale & cream (575x379)Sprinkle with a 1/3 of the shredded short ribs.

Shredded beef over cream-kale layer (575x431)Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling, making 3 layers of filling and ending with pasta.  Spoon the remaining marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Freshley grated cheese layer (575x303)Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the lasagna is heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Baked lasagna in oven (575x301)Lasagna on plate #2 (510x575)Fran’s Notes

I’m a snob when it comes to marinara sauce.  You won’t find me buying a jar of the stuff at the supermarket—I always make my own.  Having said that, my sister used the Pomi brand of marinara sauce, and it was excellent.

Source:   A recipe from Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network

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