Skip to main content

Dinner in Testosterone Land: Braised Short Ribs + 2016 Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato #ItalianFWT

Welcome to March's edition with the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers group. Can you believe it's March already?!? I can't.

This month, Gwendolyn of Wine Predator is hosting us as we explore the biodynamic wines of Italy. She has raised this question in all of the wine groups to which she belongs this year. We explored French biodynamic wines in January when I posted Learning About Biodynamic Wines. And Gwen has us tasting and pairing biodynamic wines from anywhere in the world for April's Wine Pairing Weekend. I can't wait to share my pairing with a biodynamic wine from Mendocino! You can read her invitation to the #ItalianFWT bloggers here.

Before I get to my dinner in Testosterone Land, here's what the #ItalianFWT bloggers shared...

Dinner in Testosterone Land

I joke that I am a permanent resident of Testosterone Land. I guess I'm not really joking. There are a lot of males in my life. And, surprisingly, almost all of my close friends also only have boys. So, when a friend was out of town for the weekend, I texted her husband and asked if he and his boys wanted to come over for dinner. He responded: "Yes, we are available. J- says no squid. LOL. He knows you." I was thinking salmon or short ribs. I have to see what's available.

Flash forward a few hours. I was standing at the meat counter in Whole Foods when my phone beeped. "If you have a choice, my spoiled son votes short ribs!" At the counter getting them right now. He has good taste.

Wine first though...
In My Glass

As with the French biodynamic event, several of us were chatting back and forth about where to source biodynamic wines. And, more, about how there were many vintners who were making wine with biodynamic methods but who weren't bothering to get the certifications.

This one - 2016 Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato - doesn't have the Demeter certification, but states on the label: "made exclusively with grapes grown in our vineyards with the biodynamic method in harmony with nature and tradition." That works for me!

A little more digging revealed that the winery director and grandson of founder Giuseppe Fracchia, Alessandro Uslenghi, continues to use the biodynamic practices that have been in place there since 1984. The grape vines share a home with cattle, birds, insects, and other wildlife in addition to corn and other crops. Their land, of over 500 acres, is also a designated nature preserve.

In the glass, this Barbera is a deep red, almost purple color with warm aromas of vanilla and cinnamon.  On the palate, it's buoyant yet concentrated. What a great sip! And it paired beautifully with my braised short ribs.

On My Plate

Ingredients serves 7
Braised Ribs
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds beef short ribs (prefer grass-fed, organic beef)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 1 C beef stock
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts

For Serving
  • pasta
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese

Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Season short ribs liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a Dutch oven, melt 1 T butter in 2 T olive oil. Add the onions and garlic.
Add the short ribs to the pan. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Pour in the tomato sauce, stock, and red wine. Bring liquid to a boil. Top with artichoke hearts.

Place it in the oven to braise for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. The meat should be tender and almost falling off the bone.

To Serve
Cook pasta according to package. Remove ribs carefully from the sauce. Stir drained pasta into the sauce until completely coated. Add in cheese and stir to incorporate.

Scoop pasta into individual serving bowls and top with short rib. I also served Roasted Brussels Sprouts and a green salad.

And, for dessert, I put out a fun, sprinkle-topped cake! I needed something a little girly on the table.

We argued over whether or not the cake looked Easter-y. Apparently, not only was I the only girl at the table, I was the only one who thought the cake looked like Springtime and Easter. What do you think?


  1. sounds like a tasty meal! I see I'm not the only one who made short ribs for this one!

  2. Wonderful pairing, beautiful dessert. Wish I lived closer - I'd be at your doorstep on the regular!

  3. Clearly Nuova Cappelletta know what they are doing when it comes to biodynamics. I think this month especially has been a good one for learning. I love short ribs, but Julie has a hard time with the fat, so sometimes I go 1/2 and 1/2. I get short ribs and she gets stew meat. Both are slow braised, so it works ok. I still think I get the best deal!

  4. Looks like a beautiful meal and a great wine. Cheers!

  5. Love short ribs. And roasted brussels sprouts!! LOL.

  6. Not always the easiest to discover biodynamic wines of Italy, but biodynamic methods in my opinion are just as good. Every time I see a short rib recipe I always say its been too long since I've made them ; ) Looks great!

  7. Can’t beat short ribs! And the cake looks fab to me!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Caulibits Crni Rižoto (Croatian Black "Risotto") #Whole30

Last week, I participated in the Wine Pairing Weekend event 'New Year, New Wine." I paired Crni Rižoto with Dingac Vinarija’s Pelješac...and you can read my post: here . I was pouring a Croatian wine and decided to make a traditional Croatian dish. Every seafood restaurant in Croatia has a  Crni Rižoto  (black risotto) on its menu.  Crni Rižoto  is risotto dyed black with squid ink; I used cuttlefish ink for the same effect. However, since arborio rice is not Whole30 compliant, I made a version for myself that used caulibits instead of rice. Ingredients 1 C fish stock (or a combination of fish stock and vegetable stock) 1 T olive oil 1 medium shallots, peeled and minced 1 cloves garlic, crushed and minced 1/4 lb shrimp 1/4 lb squid tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings 1/4 lb scallops 1/4 lb clams, scrubbed 1/4 lb mussels, scrubbed 4 C caulibits, or chopped cauliflower 1 T fresh parsley, minced juice and zest from 1 organic lemon 1 t cuttlefish ink

Meyer Lemon Custard-Filled Matcha Turtles #BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our  Pinterest board  right here. Links are also updated after each event on the  Bread Bakers home page .  We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month Stacy of Food Lust People Love  is hosting and she wrote: "Your bread can be large, as in one big animal, or small - animal-shaped rolls. Use your imagination! Points for flavor and shape!" If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to Stacy at Here's the animal-shaped bread basket from the #BreadBakers... Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas from Karen's Kitchen Stories Bird Bread Rolls from Ambrosia Easter Bunny Buns from Cook with Renu Ham and Cheese Elephant Rolls from Food Lust People Love Hedgehog Bread from Making Mir

Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé #Winophiles

This month the French Winophiles group is looking at affordable wines from Burgundy.  Host Cindy of Grape Experiences wrote: "Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is known for its wines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir... as well as Aligote, Gamay, Sauvignon, César, Pinot Beurot, Sacy, Melon in lesser quantities. Many of the well-known wines are quite expensive, but there are plenty of values to be found." Read her invitation here. And there won't be a Twitter chat for this event, so you will have to dive into the articles themselves to read about our pairings and findings. Here's the line-up... Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm enjoys Domaine Chevillon Chezeaux Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits, 2018 Paired with a Maple Pecan Chicken . Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares her love of Connecticut Lobster Rolls, Canned Lobster Bisque, and a 2019 Henry Fessy 'Maître Bonhome' Viré-Clessé. Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick! explains why we should Look t