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Ribs at the Old Adobe


Barbecue short ribs and noodles never tasted so good as when I ate them recently at a winery dinner, joining other guests around a big oak table in a 143-year-old adobe.

The adobe stands on the grounds of Mosby Vineyards at Buellton. Although U.S. 101 passes close, the setting is bucolic. Vineyards stretch for acres and huge oak trees shade the old structure.

The adobe is sometimes used for winemaker dinners, but this was a homey gathering to which owners Bill and Jeri Mosby invited a handful of friends and family.

We sat in the kitchen while Jeri Mosby finished the ribs, which were braised in a homemade barbecue sauce. She had found the recipe in a 1940s cookbook and updated it by adding fennel root and wine.

A devotee of Italian food, she cooked fresh fava beans with prosciutto, garlic and white wine. The beans came from the Buellton farmers market and were so young and tender they did not require peeling.

Such flavorful dishes need only simple accompaniments, such as noodles to soak up the short rib juices, a salad and, of course, wine. That night, one of the guests brought along good crusty pain au levain from the Acme Bakery in Berkeley. Instead of a rich dessert, we sipped liquid dessert: Mosby Distillato, a strong, clear spirit distilled from wild plums that grow near the Oregon border.


Jeri's Barbecue Short Ribs

Egg Noodles

Favas with Prosciutto

Watercress Salad with Gorgonzola

Wine Suggestion

Nebbiolo, Sangiovese or other red wine

Shopping List

3 pounds boneless short ribs

1 to 2 bottles red wine

1 bottle white wine

1 bunch celery

1 bulb fennel

4 pounds fresh fava beans

1/4 pound prosciutto or pancetta

1 bunch parsley

2 to 3 bunches watercress

2 to 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

1 (2-ounce) package walnuts

1 bunch radicchio

1 lemon


Extra virgin olive oil


Balsamic vinegar

Brown sugar


Worcestershire sauce

Dijon mustard

Salt, pepper


Wide egg noodles

Game Plan

Day before: Cook short ribs. Refrigerate overnight so fat will rise to surface.

30 minutes before dinner: Cook fava beans. Skim fat from short ribs and reheat. Wash and trim watercress for salad. Place in salad bowl.

15 minutes before dinner: Cook noodles. Toss with olive oil if desired.

Just before serving: Add dressing to salad. Arrange noodles, short ribs and fava beans in large bowls to serve family style.


Some markets will bone a slab of ribs, but you can also use traditional ribs with bones, as long as they are cut in short lengths. Serve the ribs with buttered egg noodles.

3 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

1 cup catsup

1/2 cup Nebbiolo, Sangiovese or other red wine, plus extra if needed

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup diced celery

1 fennel bulb, diced, optional

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon flour, if needed

Brown rib pieces in olive oil in Dutch oven. Add onion and brown in pan with meat. Add vinegar, brown sugar, catsup, wine, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, celery, fennel and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or cover and bake at 350 degrees until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim fat. If juices need thickening, stir in flour blended with a little cold wine and cook until thickened.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

493 calories; 1,405 mg sodium; 105 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 36 grams protein; 0.29 gram fiber.


4 pounds fresh fava beans

1/4 pound prosciutto, pancetta, bacon or ham, diced

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cup white wine

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Shell beans. Peel beans if large.

Saute prosciutto, onion and celery in 1 tablespoon olive oil in saucepan, stirring frequently. When meat fat has melted, add fava beans and wine. Cover and cook about 20 minutes. If beans should become dry, add a little more wine. Add salt and pepper to taste and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

453 calories; 462 mg sodium; 15 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 55 grams carbohydrates; 28 grams protein; 2.87 grams fiber.


2 to 3 bunches watercress

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil

2 to 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

3 to 4 tablespoons walnuts, chopped


Freshly ground black pepper

Radicchio leaves

Wash watercress and drain well. Remove leaves from stems and discard stems. Place watercress in bowl. Add lemon juice, then oil and mix well. Add cheese and walnuts and mix lightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve on radicchio leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

196 calories; 345 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.66 gram fiber.


Kitchen Tip

Peeling fava beans is like the proverbial riding of a bicycle: Once you get good at it, you stay good at it. Quickly blanch the shelled beans in hot water; then all that's required is a tiny rent in the skin made with a knife or your fingernail. The beans should shoot right out.

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