This easy, Braised Short Rib Ragu is slow-cooked in a Dutch Oven until falling apart and then tossed with hot pappardelle pasta. This slow braised ragu is the perfect make-ahead, cozy dish to serve friends and family!
Key Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
- Bone-in short ribs: The bone adds extra flavor. When you are ready to shred the meat, be sure to trim off the bone as well as the membrane that is next to it as it tends to be tough.
- Onions, celery, and carrots: Dice your vegetables into ¼ inch dice. Since onions have a tough time cooking once combined with tomatoes, be sure to get your onions nice and soft before adding in the tomato paste and canned tomatoes.
- Tomato paste: I use double-concentrate tomato paste that comes in a tube. Be sure to check your tomato paste-- if it isn't double-concentrate, you'll want to double the amount of tomato paste in the recipe.
- Red wine: Red wine is traditional in ragus. I like to use dry red wine when cooking. Since the flavors of the wine will come through, make sure it is a wine that you would enjoy drinking, but know that it does not need to be expensive.
- Chicken stock: I like using homemade or high-quality chicken stock. The flavors of the stock will show in the final ragu, so using a delicious, flavorful stock will make your ragu all that more tasty!
- Crushed tomatoes: If your store is out of crushed tomatoes, you can also use whole peeled canned tomatoes and simply mash them with a potato masher or pulse them in the blender or food processor. I once accidentally bought fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and the sauce still turned out delicious-- don't feel like you need to make another trip to the store if you make the same mistake as me!
- Pappardelle pasta: I love serving this braised ragu with pappardelle! Homemade pasta would be delicious, but to keep things easy I love using Trader Joe's pappardelle. For a gluten-free version, you can toss it with gluten-free pasta or serve it on top of polenta. When serving it over polenta, I like to shred the short ribs in slightly bigger pieces to add extra texture to the soft polenta.
How to make braised short rib ragu
- Season the short ribs all over with salt and pepper and sear them in a Dutch Oven on medium-high heat until browned. Set them aside on a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute the veggies until the onions are softened. Add in the garlic then the tomato paste.
3. Deglaze the pan with red wine before adding in the stock, crushed tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Add back in the short ribs and their juices and simmer partially covered for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is tender and easy to pull apart.
5. Shred the short ribs and discard the bone and membrane. Toss the short ribs back in with the tomato sauce mixture.
6. Toss the ragu with hot pasta or serve on top of creamy polenta. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
Prep-ahead and storage tips
Braised ragus are excellent to make for company because they taste even better when prepped in advance! You can make this slow braised ragu up to 3 days in advance. Allow the ragu to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you are ready to enjoy it, skim off any fat that rises to the top and then reheat on the stovetop.
You can also freeze this short rib ragu! It should last in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 months. Before using, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it on the stovetop.
- This ragu is slow-braised and I do not recommend speeding up the process on this recipe. Low and slow is the name of the game for super tender short ribs.
- Anytime I cook with a bay leaf, I like to occasionally smell the dish as it is cooking. If you smell super strong notes of bay, remove the leaf from the pot.
- The size of your short ribs as well as your stove will affect the total braising time. If you find that your sauce is drying out, add a bit more stock. Because the cooking time can vary, be sure to give yourself enough time for this to cook before dinner. The shredded short rib ragu can be kept on a very low simmer on the stove for a bit before serving. You are better off having extra time rather than not having enough time.
- I like topping my pasta with parmesan, but if you want this to be dairy-free, you can totally leave that out.
More pasta dishes you'll love
If you give this slow braised short rib ragu a try, I'd love to know what you think! And be sure to tag @ccs_table on Instagram so that I can see what you've made!
Braised Short Rib Ragu
- 2 lb bone-in short ribs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 cup diced onions ½ large yellow onion
- ½ cup diced celery 2 sticks
- ⅔ cup diced carrots 1 large
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon double concentrate tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- 15 oz canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 lb pappardelle pasta
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional
- Heat a large dutch oven on medium high heat.
- Season the short ribs with salt and pepper all over. Add the olive oil to the pan then the short ribs. Brown the short ribs on all sides (about 7-10 minutes) before transferring them to a plate. If doubling the recipe, you may need to work in batches to not overcrowd the pan.
- Reduce to medium low and add onion, celery, carrots and a pinch more salt. Saute until the veggies until the onion is soft, about 7-10 more minutes.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the tomato paste has turned brick red.
- Turn the heat back up to medium high and add the red wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Allow the wine to reduce for a minute.
- Add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the short ribs and their juices back to the pan and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot partially with the lid (leave about 2 inches cracked) and simmer for 3-4 hours. Every hour or so, rotate the meat and make sure the sauce is at a low simmer. If the sauce has dried out too much, add in a splash more of stock.
- When the short ribs are tender and easy to shred, remove them from the pot. Cut the meat off the bone and membrane. Discard the bones, membrane, bay leaf, and thyme stems. Using two forks, shred the meat before stirring it back in the sauce. Taste seasoning with more salt and pepper, if desired.
- If serving with pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season the pot generously with salt. Cook the pasta until al dente and reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. Add the pasta to the hot ragu and toss well. Add the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is silky and coats the pasta.
- Serve immediately and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
- This dish serves 6 people when serving with a side or appetizers. It will serve 4 hungry eaters without any sides.
- If using regular concentrated tomato paste, you'll need to double the amount.