I've tried many versions of this dish across Kerkyra, some made with rooster and others with beef. My favorites have never been based on which meat (I've enjoyed both the rooster and the beef) but always on the sauce. For me, the more the spices the better.
I made my version with loads of cinnamon and cloves, bay leaves and some red wine. The short ribs are quite a rich cut of meat and the hours--yes I said hours--of braising leave them so tender the meat just falls off the bone. Served with a side of penne, this is a meal my family loved.
Beef Short Ribs Pastitsada
5 pounds of beef short ribs
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dry red wine
1 box good quality chopped tomatoes (26.5 oz)
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of penne
3 tablespoons of butter
Season short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, sear the short ribs and remove to a plate once well browned. Add the onion to the dutch oven and cook until soft, stir in the garlic and cook a minute more. Toss in the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and cloves and stir well. Add the red wine and deglaze until the wine is reduced. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Season with the pinch of sugar, add some salt and pepper and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Add meat back to dutch oven. Cover with lid and transfer to a 325 degree oven and braise the short ribs for about 3 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
Meanwhile boil the penne until al dente. Drain pasta and then brown the butter in the pasta pot. Once butter has browned, add the penne back to the pot and toss to coat. Stir in some of the braising liquid. Top individual portions of penne with short ribs and sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.