Last week, Cleveland lost a great man, husband, father, brother, friend and yes, chef. Dominic Cerino was 55.
I first met him about 5 or 6 years ago. Admittedly, I was not a fan of Carrie Cerino’s nor was I looking forward to my assignment from Cleveland Magazine to review one of their pasta dishes. Shame on me. Not because I wasn’t anticipating my assignment, but because I was judging a book (the restaurant) purely by its cover. I have never been happier to be so wrong.
That interview led to a friendship with Dominic Cerino. I quickly became won over by his cooking, his passion, his never-ending stories and mostly by the genuine kindness he showed. He was a good man.
I had the privilege of interviewing him. Those interviews were filled with laughter, learnings, our shared obsession with Babbo, and of course — full and content bellies. You can read about them here.
A lot of people think about Blue Egg Ravioli when they think of Dominic’s signature dishes. Not me. I think of his short ribs and Norcia lentils that he made me several times and eventually passed on the recipes. I make these short ribs several times a year – especially when I am entertaining a big group of family and friends. Because I can’t think of a better dish for loved ones to gather around and enjoy.
Rest in peace, Dominic. You left a profound mark on many and will be missed by all.
Dominic’s Short Ribs
- ½ c olive oil
- lawrys seasoning salt (his not-so-secret ingredient)
- flour to dust ribs
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom brazier. Season the short ribs, dust lightly with flour then caramelize on all sides. Remove then add:
- ½ c pancetta, slides ¼ in thick and diced
- 2 c diced onions
- 1 c diced carrots
- 1 c diced celery
- 1 clove of garlic
- ½ T salt (maybe less, depends on the quality of your pancetta)
Sautee in same oil as short ribs. Cook until they start to brown, then add:
- ½ bottle chianti or Barolo – a favorite of Dominic’s
- 2 – 3 whole cloves
- 1 or two whole rosemary sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Stir well and bring to a boil. Add short ribs back. Cover loosely for proper reduction. Simmer lightly for 4 hours or until fork tender. Remove ribs and strain the liquid. Allow fat to rise and remove. Adjust seasoning – if needed – and serve over ribs. Enjoy!