Short Rib Ragu

This Short Rib Ragu recipe is an amazing take on a classic Italian dish. It’s incredibly rich, full of tender, juicy beef, and bursting with flavor from fresh herbs, garlic, and tomatoes. 

A plate of short rib ragu with pappardelle, topped with parsley and parmesan cheese, with a fork

The Most Tender and Flavorful Short Rib Ragu

This short rib ragu is the perfect combination of two of my favorite things: pasta and meat. Juicy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs mixed with tomatoes and beef broth make for a hearty, rich sauce, and large pappardelle noodles soak up all the flavor.

Rosemary, thyme, garlic, carrots, and celery add a fresh element to this Italian classic, while red wine gives it a kick of acidity, and deepens all the flavors. 

Simply put, this is a pasta that will knock your socks off. It’s rustic and comforting, but also a great dish to make if you ever need to impress anyone. The short ribs get their flavor by cooking low and slow for a few hours, but as long as you’ve got the time, it’s a surprisingly easy dish to make. It’s one of my favorite Italian recipes to cook, and I’m sure it will be one of yours, too.

Ingredients for Short Rib Ragu

Here’s everything you need to make this hearty and comforting pasta dish. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts needed for each ingredient.

  • Short ribs – Make sure to buy bone-in short ribs as they have much more flavor.
  • Olive oil
  • Onion – I like to use a yellow onion for this recipe, but white or red onions will also work.
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper – Be sure to use freshly-ground black pepper.
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Garlic
  • Red wine – A dry red wine will work best. Use a wine that’s good enough quality that you would drink it, but don’t break the bank on a super fancy bottle.
  • Beef broth
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Pappardelle – You can use other styles of pasta if you prefer, but the thickness of pappardelle holds up very well to the richness of the braised short ribs.
  • Heavy cream – This is an optional ingredient that will make the ragu richer and creamier.
  • Parmesan cheese – Parmesan is an optional garnish.
  • Fresh parsley – Parsley is an optional garnish. 

How to Make Short Rib Ragu

Here’s how to make this fun and rich short rib recipe.

  • Prep the short ribs. Thoroughly dry the ribs with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper on all sides.
  • Sear the short ribs. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add some of the ribs, making sure to not crowd them. Sear until browned on all sides, then remove from the pan. Place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil, then repeat the process with the rest of the short ribs.
  • Add the veggies. Drain the fat from the dutch oven, keeping about 2 tablespoons in the pot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, with some of the salt and pepper. Cook until the veggies are very soft, which should take about 10 minutes. 
  • Add the herbs. Add the rosemary, thyme, and garlic to the veggies, and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Deglaze. Add the wine to the dutch oven and stir to get all the browned bits of bit and veggies off the bottom of the pot. 
  • Add the tomatoes. Pour the canned tomatoes and beef broth into the pot, and stir to combine.
  • Braise the meat. Place the short ribs in the dutch oven, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot, and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. 
  • Shred the shirt ribs. Remove the short ribs from the pot, and let them cool until you’re able to handle them. Shred them and discard any fat, then add the beef back to the pot. 
  • Skim the fat. Let the sauce rest for 30 minutes, then skim off the fat that is resting on the top.
  • Cook the pasta. Cook the pappardelle noodles according to the instructions on the box. 
  • Finish the dish. Add the pasta to the sauce. If you’re using the optional heavy cream, add it to the sauce as well. Toss the pasta, simmer for 5 minutes, and serve with the optional garnishes. 

Tricks and Tips 

Here are a few tips for making the best short rib ragu every time.

  • Cook the pasta al dente. When cooking the pappardelle, cook until it’s al dente, rather than fully soft. After cooking in the boiling water, the pasta will cook for a few minutes in the ragu, at which point it will finish cooking. 
  • Season at the end. Go light when adding salt to the ragu. The beef is seasoned, and different beef broths have different sodium levels. Keep it light with the salt in the sauce, then taste at the end, and adjust the seasoning as needed. 
  • Get a good sear. If you like steak, then you know just how much a good sear can change the flavor. The same is true with short ribs. Even though you’re going to shred the short ribs, getting a good sear is still very important for the flavor. Make sure you sear the short ribs for a long enough time, at a hot enough temperature, to get a good sear. 
Close up of a plate of short rib ragu with pappardelle, with noodles twirled around a fork

Serving Suggestions

Since this short rib ragu is a hearty Italian dish, I like to serve it with something lighter and fresher, like roasted veggies or a salad … or keep it classic with some garlic bread! And you know it goes well with some red wine as well. Here are some of my favorite recipes to serve with this pasta dish.

How to Store and Reheat Short Rib Ragu

You can keep short rib ragu leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, or in a microwave on 80% power in 30-second intervals. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

This is one of my favorite dishes to keep in the freezer, so that I can have easy weeknight meals. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer and it will last for 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge before reheating.

More Pasta Dishes to Make

Hopefully you loved this hearty, comforting, and tender short rib ragu dish. Here are a few of my other favorite pasta recipes to make. 

Print
A pot of short rib ragu and pappardelle noodles, topped with parmesan cheese and parsley

Short Rib Ragu

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x

This short rib ragu is hearty and rich, with tender and juicy meat. It’s the perfect winter pasta.

Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 17.6 ounce bag pappardelle
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Dry the short ribs with paper towels and then season on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to a 5 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the short ribs in a single layer, leaving room around each short rib to promote proper searing. This step will have to be done in 2-3 batches. Sear the short ribs until brown and caramelized on all sides and then set aside on a plate, covered with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  2. Drain the fat from the pot, keeping about 2 tablespoons. Add the onions, carrots, and celery along with 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Cook the vegetables until very tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme, stir, and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
  3. Deglaze the pot with the wine, stirring to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Let the wine reduce for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the beef broth and crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine.
  4. Add short ribs back to the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then cover and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the short ribs to a board and let cool slightly.
  5. Shred the short ribs, discarding any fat, then stir back into the sauce. We like to let the sauce sit, uncovered, for 30 minutes and then skim some of the fat off the top. Alternately, you can make the sauce a day ahead of time, let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight. Before warming up again, remove any solid fat that has formed on the top of the sauce.
  6. Cook the pappardelle according to the package directions, drain and add to the sauce. Stir in the heavy cream (if using). Toss the pasta in the sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  7. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and fresh, chopped parsley for garnish.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: beef short rib recipe, easy short rib recipe, beef ragu, ragu sauce

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