In Italy, boiled meat and fish are often served with a tart, salty green sauce.


8 beef short ribs, either bone-in or deboned
1 cup flour mixed with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil for browning
1/2 cup each chopped onion, carrot, and celery
1 cup dry red wine
approximately 3 cups chicken stock
zest of 1 lemon
1 tomato, chopped
4 bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh thyme (including 4 for garnish)
6 sprigs fresh rosemary (including 4 for garnish)

Dredge ribs in seasoned flour and brown on all sides in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Remove meat and sauté carrots, onions, and celery for about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a deep, lidded casserole or heavy, nonreactive pot and add wine and enough chicken stock to cover. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sautéed vegetables to casserole and then add lemon zest, tomato, and herbs. Simmer, covered, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. Stewing liquid will be oily; you may let dish cool and remove excess fat from top with a meat baster, or refrigerate for several hours (or overnight) and skim fat off top. Reheat ribs and broth, covered, in a 400-degree oven or on top of stove for 10 to 15 minutes.

Rosemary-Parmesan Polenta

1 cup polenta, conventional or instant
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
8 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
pinch of cayenne
dash of red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil for sautéing

If using conventional polenta, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water as needed. Do not worry if the polenta makes large bubbles and loud noises; this is normal. (If using instant, follow package directions.) When finished, stir in remaining ingredients except oil. Pour or spoon polenta into a pie pan or other pan to a depth of about 1 inch. Let cool. (The dish may be prepared a day or two ahead up to this point.) Cut into serving-size squares or wedges and sauté over medium-high heat on one side only in olive oil until crisp.

Italian Parsley-Caper Sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
4 anchovies, mashed in a mortar or bowl
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together first 8 ingredients. Stir in vinegar; then gradually stir in oil until sauce reaches sconsistency of pesto. The sauce tends to separate after it stands, so do not put in too much oil. To serve, divide polenta and ribs into 4 portions and place in bowls. Pour a bit of braising liquid over the meat and spook or pour on parsley-caper sauce. Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Serves 4.