Short Rib Ragu

December 31, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Let's be honest—short ribs are great in any incarnation. I wanted to use them in a ragu that had a little more oomph than the typical braise so I went into umami overdrive with porcini mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce and anchovy paste. It's great over polenta or pasta, but maybe even better as leftovers in a po-boy. - Minimally Invasive

Minimally Invasive

Food52 Review: Featured in: 10 Slow-Cooker Recipes Made for Fall TV Binges.

This is a hearty, earthy ragu that we’re confident would be just as satisfying over pasta as it is over polenta. The mushrooms, which get pureed with the rest of the sauce once the short ribs are fall-apart-tender, make the liquid cloaking the shredded short ribs nice and meaty, and the wine, anchovy, tomato paste and mustard make it sing. Gremolata is an nice, bright touch at the end. On a frosty winter evening, this would be perfect with a big, green salad and the other half of that bottle of red wine. – A&M
The Editors

Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 4 hrs


For the short rib ragu

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 5 1/2 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat, lard or oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1/2 bottle big red wine
  • 14 ounces can fire-roasted whole tomatoes and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or water (more or less as needed)
  • 1 recipe gremolata (as follows)


  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons zest from one large lemon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
In This Recipe


For the short rib ragu

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.
  2. Season ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (I used a 5-qt. 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 and anchovy 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, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms and soaking liquid (minus the last 1/4 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 3 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 polenta, sprinkled with gremolata.
  7. Slow-cooker variation: After browning the meat, add it to a slow cooker, along with the rehydrated mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients, and cook on "low" for 8 hours.


  1. Mix ingredients in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|American|Beef|Carrot|Celery|Mustard|Rib|Red Wine|Anchovy|Cast Iron|Make Ahead|Slow Cook

Reviews (280) Questions (19)

280 Reviews

sue February 1, 2019
This is wonderful...absolutely restaurant quality meal.
SPark0101 October 29, 2018
Sharing my thoughts having made this in a slow cooker. Overall, the dish was tasty and my family enjoyed it, but it is pretty time-consuming.<br /><br />In terms of my method, a few notes:<br />- I browned the short ribs, but didn't cook anything else before putting the ingredients in my slow cooker. <br />- I reduced the liquid and only used 1 cup of wine, 1/2 cup of stock, but all of the tomato juice and mushroom liquid.<br />- I mixed everything but the ribs in the slow cooker and then nestled the ribs in the pot.<br />- Otherwise, I followed the directions given except that I didn't puree the vegetables. Because I didn't have much liquid, the consistency of my ragu with the shredded meat was more of a stew than a soup.<br /><br />From a taste standpoint, I increased seasonings and added crushed red peppers, and if I make this again, I will double vegetables but decrease the meat.
Kathryn L. October 8, 2018
Sounds absolutely delicious! I’ll wait until Chanukah or New Year’s Eve to try. It’s too hot outside to think about this dish. But come late November, December I’ll be looking for this to cook. My crock pot can’t wait.
Hannah October 1, 2018
Do you think I could make this in a crockpot? I want a special meal for Thursday but I work until 5😣
Hannah October 1, 2018
Omg Nevermind!!! I saw #7 on instructions!! Thank you
Elizabeth C. September 23, 2018
Thank you!
Elizabeth C. September 23, 2018
Just curious as to why you’d use chicken stock as the braising liquid as opposed to beef?
Author Comment
Minimally I. September 23, 2018
Just because I usually have homemade chicken stock in my freezer. Also, when I don't, I'm always happier with the chicken stock I purchase than the beef stock. Could be my crappy grocery store, but I've never found a really great beef stock there.
kathleen B. September 23, 2018
Isn't this supposed to be a group of slow cooker recipes? Please - it sounds great, but I'd really like the slow cooker instructions!
Robin September 23, 2018
Read #7 in the instructions:<br /><br />Slow-cooker variation: After browning the meat, add it to a slow cooker, along with the rehydrated mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients, and cook on "low" for 8 hours.
Jill June 3, 2018
I just made this...weird for a summer meal, I know! I toned down the liquids to be lazy and make it in the instant pot and it was fantastic! Just had to remove the meat to boil down the sauce at the end and I forgot to puree it, but still amazing. I used boneless short ribs and didn't have any fat to skim, served on the day I cooked and was still fantastic. The gremolata was key.
Author Comment
Minimally I. June 4, 2018
I haven't even thought to make this in the Instant Pot — thanks for the tip! (Think I'll wait till this fall, though. :))
Hart W. June 4, 2018
Did you use manual pressure? And if so, would you share the time setting and whether natural or quick release? Sounds wonderful!
Cmgrauer February 12, 2018
I love love love this the regular way!
Cmgrauer February 12, 2018
I just bought a Crockpot...Would I adjust anything in this recipe to make it in the crockpot?
Amy January 13, 2018
Is it necessary to refrigerate overnight? I want to eat this today :)
Alecsandra T. November 17, 2017
Does anyone know if this freezes well? Ideally, I'd like to freeze this in portions and use it for weeknight dinners.
em-i-lis November 17, 2017
Yes! It freezes beautifully! (Minus the polenta)
Alecsandra T. November 19, 2017
Great, thanks!
ihaventpoisonedyouyet September 6, 2017
This recipe is very similar to one I found on another site - its Bobby Flay's recipe which I'm making at this very moment. I like the extra additions here though and I'm adding the anchovy paste, Worcestershire, porcini mushrooms, gremolata. These are strong flavor punches and I bet they up the ante in the Flay thing on my stove. No offense Bobby.
Author Comment
Minimally I. September 6, 2017
Hope you like it! #nooffensebobby LOL
Katherine September 9, 2017
I just made this the other day. Yum. A favorite. However wish I had read this first. I bet all those additions really added some punch. I love playing with flavors.
ihaventpoisonedyouyet September 9, 2017
Whoa, this was really good!! "Demeating" the short ribs is so disgusting that I don't think I can make this more than a couple of times a year but it's worth the gag reflex when I do. Since I was first going by Bobby Flay's recipe I had already purchased paparadelle (sp?) and used that, although I think polenta would have been better. All the add-ins - anchovy paste, tomatoes, gremolata, porcini shrooms, etc made this the superior dish to BF.
Author Comment
Minimally I. September 10, 2017
Thank you — I'm so happy you liked it! I feel the same way about peeling tongue as you do about the short ribs. :)
nickelhn May 6, 2017
IN order to avoid blending the fat from cooking the ribs into the sauce as instructed in paragraph 5 of the instructions, could I skim it, then blend it?
Author Comment
Minimally I. May 6, 2017
Yes, absolutely. Or, you could refrigerate it overnight to remove even more fat, then proceed with the recipe.
Terry January 31, 2017
Time consuming but worth it.....the gremolata is a grand slam - it adds a brightness and freshness needed in this dish. This makes a lot but no complaints as we will enjoy the leftovers
Footnotes December 9, 2016
Unfair question, I know I know, but I've recently developed an allergy to mushrooms. Any thoughts on modifying this recipe? Is there a way for me to try this recipe or should I find another?
Katherine December 9, 2016
Just looked over the recipe again, though haven't made it yet (a future must do!). There are tons of flavor elements in the recipe, so doesn't look like the elimination of mushrooms would be a fatal flaw -- may not even be noticeable. Personally, I think it would be delicious even without mushrooms.
Alison D. December 9, 2016
Are you allergic to all mushrooms? My mom developed an allergy to all mushrooms besides plain button mushrooms...didn't know if you could sub those?
Author Comment
Minimally I. December 9, 2016
Sorry to hear about the allergy, Footnotes! One thing I love about braises is that they're so tweak-able. The recipe already already includes so umami-rich ingredients that I'll bet it would be fine without.
Footnotes December 9, 2016
Oh that's a great question! I know I am allergic to those button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms but I haven't explored much beyond yet. I used to do this amazing mixed mushroom reduction for topping steak and the like with. And that mix, being such a concentrated mushroom punch, was how I finally narrowed down the latest addition to the allergy catalogue. I really should try to narrow it down.
Footnotes December 9, 2016
Thanks! I think I'll give it a shot! Can't wait... it looks delicious!
Melissa H. November 28, 2016
For those who've made this...I'm making this for 4 people. I hate not having enough food for people, but feel like this recipe makes a LOT of ribs and I'm over having lots of leftovers post-Thanksgiving. Do you think if I halve it, it will be enough for everyone to have plenty of food?
Susan W. October 28, 2016
I'm making a mini version with 2 boneless grass fed ribs from my beef and pork CSA. It smells incredible. My big dilemma is whether to serve it over polenta or mashed potatoes. My daughter suggested both. Genius! Can't wait until tomorrow's dinner!
Author Comment
Minimally I. October 28, 2016
What a great solution!
Hart W. October 28, 2016
Thank you so much for this great recipe! I have made it three times now, and it is fabulous!!
Author Comment
Minimally I. October 28, 2016
So happy you enjoyed it, Hart! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. :)
Alison D. October 27, 2016
I know that I shouldn't puree the veggies until after I remove the fat after the ragu has been cooled, but should I remove the meat from the bones before putting in the refrigerator?
Author Comment
Minimally I. October 27, 2016
I don't think it matters too much. You'll need to remove it eventually, and I find it's easier to take care of earlier rather than later.