Short Rib Ragu


Short Rib Ragú  |  Pappardelle Pasta

Intro Collage


There are just some dishes that taste better over time and this ragú is one of them, which made it a perfect choice for our Sunday dinner this week.  I needed to be away from home from dawn until dinner on Sunday, picking Maddie up from a horse show and getting the horses back to the barn.  I knew we would be exhausted arriving home and, after 5 days of living on horse show food, Maddie needed a home-cooked meal.  Short ribs, cooked in a bath of red wine, herbs and vegetables until the tender meat falls from the bone tops the list of our all-time favorite comfort foods and when served over a bowl of fresh pasta it becomes a meal that envelops you like a soft blanket.  This ragú requires time but the preparation itself is quite simple and, as is the case with most chilis, stews and the like, the flavor of the overall dish is better the next day.  I prepared the ragú on Saturday so on Sunday evening, shortly before Maddie and I arrived home, Michael simply reheated the sauce and the meat and brought a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.  The gremolata I intended to make as a topping for the dish simply did not happen.  Arriving home, I sat down at the kitchen island and the rich aroma from the sauce simmering on the stove, combined with the lovely glass of red wine Michael had placed in front of me, kept me rooted to my seat through dinner.  Even the photo of my dinner plate is courtesy of my husband.  This meal, and all of us being together for the first time in over a week, was satisfying beyond words.

A wide variety of recipes exist for cooking these large meaty cuts of beef…


Ingredients can range from beer, brown sugar and barbecue sauce to ketchup, vinegar and soy sauces.  I opted for a very traditional recipe which called for simmering the ribs for hours in the oven simmering in a bath of sautéed vegetables, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, red wine and stock…


LOTS of fresh herbs {thyme, oregano, rosemary and bay leaves}…


The addition of dried porcini mushrooms, steeped in boiling water for 1 hour, brought a wonderful earthy flavor to the ragú…


Browning the meat before simmering it in the sauce adds a step to the preparation but an important one.  The searing process creates a bit of a crust which helps seal in the juices ensuring moist, tender meat rich in flavor…


And the pot, ready to be covered and tucked into the oven for 4-5 hours…


The final dish…



Short Rib Ragú {adapted from Food52}

  • 5-6 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and pushed through a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ bottle red wine {preferably a hearty zinfandel}
  • 1, 28-ounces canned tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • chicken stock or water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water and set aside for 1 hour.  Strain soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and finely chop rehydrated mushrooms.
  2. Season ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (such as an enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Brown ribs in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, then set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat from pot, then sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  3. Create a hot spot in the pot by moving vegetables aside and leaving about a 3-inch radius bare. Add tomato paste to the hot spot and stir vigorously until caramelized, then stir into the vegetables. Add red wine to deglaze and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, mushrooms and soaking liquid (minus the last ¼-inch to keep sediment out of your dish), plus herbs.
  4. Add ribs to pot and fill with chicken stock or water until ribs are nearly covered. Bring liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and braise in oven for at least 4 hours or until ribs are fall-apart tender.
  5. Remove ribs from liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove bay leaves and discard. While ribs cool, purée the braising liquid with an immersion blender until thick and set over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin. When ribs have cooled down, discard bones and large pieces of fat, then shred the beef and return it to the pot. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, skimming any large pools of fat from the surface.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating. Serve over fresh pasta such as pappardelle.


K Initial

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