Braised beef with Tortelloni

I never have to go to Olive Garden again! This is the best thing on their menu and now I can make it at home without the alcohol. I combined two copycat recipes and used a mixture of good apple juice, apple cider vinegar and honey to replace the Marsala. The result was awesome!  

*Naptime tip: Braise the beef while you’re kid-free, re-warming it and cooking the pasta when you’re ready for dinner.

Rachael's iPhone 20140806 321

http://ninetophive.blogspot.com/2011/08/braised-beef-and-tortelloni.html

http://www.mommysavers.com/copycat-recipe-olive-garden-braised-beef-tortelloni/

Using these two sites as guides, here’s what I did:

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 C. flour
2 lbs boneless beef short rib
1 white onion, finely diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Simply Apple juice
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
approx. 20 oz cheese tortelloni (or tortellini if the larger tortelloni cannot be found)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
(adapted from Mommy Savers)
Directions:
Dredge beef in flour and sear hot and fast in olive oil in a large skillet.  Remove when browned. Add a little more olive oil if necessary and sauté the onions and mushrooms over medium heat until softened. Add garlic, dried spices and salt and pepper then cook for 30 more seconds. Stir together the apple juice, apple cider vinegar and honey. Pour into the pan. Add the browned meat back in then cover and reduce heat to low. Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the sauce has thickened and the meat is tender.   Stir occasionally, adding more apple juice if necessary.
10 minutes before the beef is finished, boil the tortelloni in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Toss tortelloni into the pot with the beef for 5 minutes. Make a slurry with the balsamic vinegar and corn starch and add to the sauce. Cook until thickened. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Finish with diced tomatoes and chopped basil.
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