At the Sublime Samana Hotel and Residences in Las Terranas, Dominican Republic, chef Cristian Matías Báez crafts his own unique take on Dominican cuisine using native ingredients. Ripe plantains and yucca stand in for potatoes in his version of gnocchi, which he serves with short rib ragù at Bistro, the hotel’s casually refined on-site restaurant. A long, slow braise with red wine, cayenne, and paprika results in tender, fall-off-the-bone morsels of meat; bolstered with cream, the rich sauce is then ladled over the slightly sweet, fluffy dumplings.
FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne
- 4 lb. bone-in beef short ribs
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 3 tbsp. manioc starch
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
FOR THE GNOCCHI
- 3 large ripe plantains
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
- Kosher salt, to taste, plus 1 tsp.
- 1 cup yucca flour, plus more as needed
- 1⁄2 cup manioc starch
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 egg
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Make the sauce: Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, and cayenne in a bowl; rub spice mixture over ribs to coat completely. Heat oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Heat oven to 350°. Discard all but 2 tbsp. of the fat from the pan, and return to medium. Add carrots and onions; cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add manioc starch and stir to coat; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook until slightly caramelized, 2-3 minutes. Whisk in wine and cook until slightly thickened, 6-8 minutes; add stock and thyme and bring to a simmer. Return ribs to the pot, cover and transfer pan to the oven. Cook, turning every hour or so, until ribs are very tender, about 2 1⁄2-3 hours. Transfer ribs to a bowl and let cool slightly. Discard bones and shred meat; set aside.
- Bring cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat and cook until reduced to 1 1⁄2 cups, about 10 minutes; keep warm. Strain short rib sauce and add to cream; return rib meat to sauce and keep warm.
- Make the gnocchi: Peel plantains and cut lengthwise into quarters; cut away black seeds down center of each quarter and discard (seeds will discolor gnocchi). Combine plantains, potato, and salt in a 4-qt. saucepan and cover with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook until potato is tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain, let cool slightly, and rice plantains and potato into a bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt, yucca flour, manioc starch, 1⁄2 cup Parmesan, white pepper, egg, and nutmeg; using a fork, stir until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; knead briefly to combine. Divide the dough into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a 3⁄4”-thick rope; cut ropes into 1″ pieces. Transfer to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet, loosely cover with a damp towel and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and working in batches, add gnocchi and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to sauce and toss until evenly coated. Divide between bowls and top with remaining Parmesan.