Standing Rib Roast

 We celebrated our first Christmas in Florida this year. We have traveled up to Ohio every holiday season to be with our family, face the chilling cold and see the snow fall so pretty from inside the warmth of my family’s home. I knew this holiday would have so many mixed feelings; missing being with my sister, nieces and nephew, while not missing the cold, busy airports and dragging over the limit luggage.

I wanted this Christmas to be special and it was. We celebrated with close, special friends we love. I was baking cookies and planning a menu as if we were feeding extended families for days! We celebrated Christmas Eve with a full dinner of seven fishes. Baked ham, eggs and Panettone French toast followed the opening of gifts Christmas morning and a beautiful standing rib roast was our gorgeous entre, roasted perfectly tender and flavorsome.

A standing rib roast is sold by the number of ribs, not pounds. For six guests, a three rib roast is perfect. This type of roast is best ordered through the butcher for the specific size, cutting to the bone but leaving it attached and wrapping with string.

Standing Rib Roast to serve 6

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 Rib Roast (mine was actually 4 rib, approximately 10 ½ lbs)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 head of garlic, cloves separated and skinned

1 bunch fresh rosemary

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 cup red wine

1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon beef broth

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large skillet with olive oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper, rubbing in well. Sear the roast on all sides, approximately 3 minutes per side to seal in the flavor and form a nice crisp crust. Use tongs to help turn the roast.

Remove from the saute pan and place in a roasting pan, on rack, bone side down. Using a sharp knife, stab the roast with small cuts to insert cloves. I used about 10- 12 cloves spaced around the roast. Stick the rosemary and thyme stems around the roast through the strings holding the roast together. Pour the juices and oil from the saute pan into the bottom of the roasting pan and add about ½ cup of water. Place the roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Reduce the temperature and roast at 325 for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer registers 125 to 130 degrees for medium rare, 140 degrees for medium. Remove and let rest covered with foil for 20 minutes. The roast will continue to rise in temperature to approximately 160 degrees for medium.

Remove the fat from the roasting pan and heat the pan over medium heat. Add the cup of wine, bring to boil, scrapping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow to simmer and reduce. Add the beef broth, bring to boil and add in the slurry of tablespoon cornstarch and beef broth. Whisk well to incorporate and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the butter and season to taste. Serve warm with the roast.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin Scampi

I have been wanting to post a recipe for beef tenderloin as it is fairly easy to make and when cooked correctly, very tender and flavorful.  There are many ways to serve and prepare; rolled and stuffed, seared and roasted, marinated and grilled, topped on salads, drizzled with sauces, in a crunchy baguette, topped on a crostini, mixed into a frittata.

Seared and roasted is one of my favorite ways to cook a beef tenderloin and a good basic method.  I decided to do a surf and turf type entre; basically prepping two dishes, a roasted beef tenderloin and a shrimp scampi.  No sauce was necessary for the tenderloin as the juices from the scampi topped the tenderloin slices with a light, lemony sauce.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin Scampi

For the tenderloin:

2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Tie the tenderloin with twine to help hold its shape and create an even thickness.  Mix together the olive oil and remaining spices to form a paste and rub all over the tenderloin.  (The tenderloin can be prepped at this point and refrigerated over night or until ready to continue – bring to room temperature before proceeding)

Heat a cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium high heat and allow to get hot.  Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Put the tenderloin in the pan and sear it, turning once.  Place the pan in the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes.  Remove to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into 1/4 inch slices and platter.

For the Shrimp Scampi:

1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 – 4 large garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in the shrimp, garlic and salt.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, turning the shrimp until they are just pink.  Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and cook 1 minute.

Pour shrimp and sauce over the tenderloin slices.  Serve with additional lemon wedges.

On Top of Spaghetti

Meatballs!   I spent last Sunday making my sauce.  Enough for Sunday dinner and extra to freeze.  It won’t last long as I use it for so many dishes I prepare.  I flavor my sauce with Italian sweet sausage, pork neck bones and meatballs.  I won’t be sharing my mother’s sauce recipe, but I will share my meatballs.  While everyone loves my sauce, the meatballs receive equal praise.  And to Italians, and basically anyone who appreciates good food, biting into a flavorful, tender meatball vs a dense, bland softball is pure bliss. 

I have noticed lately that meatballs have become quite popular in restaurants.  I have seen giant meatballs served solo on a plate and I have heard of a restaurant in NY, the Meatball Shop, featuring a variety of ‘a la carte balls’ – how neat is that!  If I ever get to NY, I would love to check it out! 

Now those who know me well may be puzzled as to my eating pasta and meatballs together? during one meal?? NO, no.  I enjoy my pasta with complete abandon, sans meatballs.  When I go for meatball dining, I serve them either atop spaghetti squash, steamed spinach or ratatouile or with roasted veggies, sauteed broccoli and a mixed greens salad.  On rare occasions, truth be told, I have combined both 🙂

Meatballs

2 eggs
1/4 cup club soda or water
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large clove minced garlic
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground veal
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

2 quarts Marinara Sauce of your choice

Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare a broiler pan by filling the bottom pan with about 1/2 cup water.  Place on the top and spray it with Pam.   Pour Marinara sauce into a large saucepan and begin to heat.

Mix the club soda or water with the eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Combine the ground beef, pork and veal with the cheese and parsley.  Drop in the egg and bread crumb mixture and using your hands combine thoroughly, but do not over mix.  Shape into balls of desired size and place on a broiler pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and turn gently to maintain roundness.  Return to oven for 7 more minutes.  The meatballs are not completely cooked at this time. 

Drop meatballs into the simmering sauce and continue to cook on low heat until meatballs are cooked through and juices run clear, about 30 minutes.  Makes approximately 8 servings.