Beef Short Rib Ragu

By • December 31, 2010 19 Comments

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Author Notes: This ragu is delightfully rich with many layers of flavors. It is always a hit, especially with the red meat lovers. I have used bone-in and boneless and while bone-in ribs generally add an extra meaty flavor to the end result, the boneless take up less room in the pot, require less work and with a good beef stock, the depth produced by the bones isn't missed. This recipe is a little time consuming, but it is a lovely fall or winter meal and well worth the preparation. I love that this can be made in advance and can be prepared a few different ways. I have served over papardelle pasta and also polenta. I have also found that the leftovers make amazing sandwiches on good bread with some sharp provolone. I am a stickler for skimming fat throughout cooking and recommend you do the same to avoid too much grease. This dish can be made up to 4 days in advance and freezes very well. A good reason to make the ragu in advance is to enable the most effective fat skimming. This dish can also be slow cooked on the stove top (approx. 1 1/2 hours covered and another 1 1/2 uncovered), thus eliminating the use of the oven in step 3. Alternatively, the ragu can be cooked in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours in step 3, after adding the ribs and stock to the pot. If cooking in a slow cooker, I would reduce stock to 2 - 2 1/2 cups. kxr173

Serves 4-6

  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds Beef short ribs (I use boneless)
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, chopped (approx. 2 oz. or substitute bacon)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes (whole or chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 1/2 cups beef stock (may need more while braising depending on desired consistency)
  • 1/2 cup ruby port
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese or Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch Oven (at least 5 quarts) over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with the salt & pepper and dredge in flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and set it aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add the short ribs to the pan and cook until browned on all sides, approx. 7 - 8 minutes total. Lift the short ribs out and let cool briefly on a plate.
  2. Combine the onion, carrot, parsley, garlic, tomatoes and tomato paste in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Once the short ribs are browned and removed from the pan, return the pancetta to the pan and add the tomato mixture. Stir and let cook 3 - 4 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add ruby port and sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Simmer until liquid is almost absorbed, approx. 4 minutes.
  3. Return the short ribs to the pot and add the beef stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then cover tightly and place casserole in oven, cooking until ribs are very tender (approx. 2 - 2 1/2 hours, depending on size of ribs).
  4. Remove the cooked ribs from the casserole. Set the casserole on the stove top over medium heat and simmer to thicken sauce just slightly (add more beef stock if sauce is too thick for your liking). As soon as the ribs are cool enough to handle, shred the meat (if using bone-in ribs, remove the meat from the bones).
  5. Degrease the sauce and remove the bay leaf. Return shredded meat to the casserole and simmer to reduce sauce to desired consistency.
  6. Serve ragu in bowls over fresh papardelle pasta or polenta. Top with Parmesan or Pecorino Romany cheese and fresh parsley.

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