Those who know me might be surprised to find out that I actually like Valentine’s Day. Although I don’t get into the flower- or present-giving side of it, I can’t complain about a day dedicated to celebrating love. Also, I’m kind of a sucker for themes, so it’s entirely possible that we’ll be eating heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast on the 14th.
My husband and I will be staying in on the holiday, but I’d still like to have a special dinner. In the past, I’ve crafted a glamorous menu and presented the meal as a surprise, but this year I think I’d rather we spent our time cooking together. We always have so much fun working together in the kitchen—whether we’re working as a well-oiled machine or poking fun at one another by criticizing what the other is doing (THAT’S how you grate ginger? Let me show you the right way…).
This braised short rib pizza would be a great option for cooking together, as it has lots of little prep steps, but also plenty of down time for sipping wine and catching up on the week. And it tastes incredible: a thick, yeasty crust is topped with red wine-braised short ribs, and the richness of it all is cut with a bright gremolata that replaces traditional lemon zest with orange.
Short Rib Pizza with Orange Gremolata
For the short ribs:
1 1/2 lbs beef short ribs
2 medium onions, medium chop
2 star anise
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 c red wine
For the pizza dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 c very warm water
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c bread flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
For the gremolata:
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp salt
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Braise the short ribs. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a heavy, lidded pot (such as a Dutch oven) with oil and place over high heat. Generously salt both sides of the short ribs and, once the oil is hot, brown both sides and move to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, star anise, bay leaves, ginger, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the red wine and cook for two minutes, using a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover with the lid and move to the oven for two hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
2. Strain out the liquid from the short ribs into a small pot. Place the pot over high heat and reduce to the consistency of syrup. Once the short ribs are cool enough to handle, pull out the star anise, bay leaves, and bones. Use your fingers or two forks to shred the meat. Stir in the reduced cooking liquid.
3. Make the pizza dough. Add the yeast, honey, olive oil, and warm water to a large bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast; it should be foamy. Sprinkle in the salt and two cups of the bread flour and stir until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour. At this point, you may need to use your hands to incorporate the flour to bring the dough together. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky, adding more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the kneading surface. Move the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about one-and-a-half hours.
4. Make the gremolata. Add the garlic, orange zest, salt, parsley, and olive oil to a small bowl and stir to combine.
5. Assemble the pizza. Place a pizza stone on the middle oven rack and preheat to 525 degrees F, or to the highest temperature your oven will go. On a large, lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll the pizza out to 1/2-inch thickness. Rub lightly with olive oil and top evenly with about half of the short ribs (saving the rest for another use). Move the parchment paper and pizza to the oven and cook until the crust is puffed and browned on the edges, about 10 minutes. Top with the gremolata just before serving.
This bright and clean red sparkler pairs perfectly with richer, heartier fare. Ripe, red fruits—strawberries, bing cherries, and currants—abound on the nose and palate, opening up to a wine that is full, earthy, and lush. A refreshing effervescence and pure acidity complement even the heaviest of winter fare, while providing a lively alternative to more traditional Italian reds.