This short rib ragu recipe is the ultimate comfort food dish perfect for cooler weather and a cozy night in.
If you are in the mood for more recipes with short ribs, then check out my Red Wine Short Ribs recipe, next!
This content contains affiliate links which helps WhisperofYum.com to provide free recipes. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support of the blog, Whisper of Yum!
As the cooler weather starts to set in, I lean hard into this braised short rib ragu recipe.
It’s the perfect recipe for a date night in, when you’re in the mood for something comforting, entertaining a few guests, and it’s a reliable option for leftovers.
Why This Recipe Works
- Simple to make – What’s great about this recipe is that most of the work happens in the dutch oven. Over a period of 3 hours, short ribs turn into melt-in-your-mouth goodness and a decadent ragu sauce that is to die for.
- Flavor bomb – This dish is filled with so much rich and comforting flavors that gets even better over time.
- Versatile – What I most love about this ragu recipe is that it can be eaten with pasta, polenta and so many other carby pairings.
- Makes for great leftovers – I love how this ragu tastes the next day and it also freezes well, making for easy future dinners.
What Type of Wine Should You Use?
Whenever I make a dish that calls for using wine, my motto is to choose a bottle that won’t break the bank, but also something you’d enjoy with the dish (if there’s any leftover, that is). I typically won’t go for the cheapest bottle, but more-so something that’s priced mid-range.
As far as what type of wine to choose for this recipe, go for pinot noir (my personal go-to) or chianti or cabernet sauvignon. Don’t forget to save a glass to pair with this dish! A tasty reward for all the hard work. Cheers!
How to Make Short Rib Ragu
This recipe is quite simple to make, but it is crucial to not rush through steps like browning the meat and cooking the mirepoix. I’ll get into the “why” now:
- Brown the meat – This is one of three integral parts to making a highly flavorful ragu. Browning the meat creates a maillard reaction, which, scientifically is highly complex, but broken down, elevates the taste of food. This process takes about 10-18 minutes, as all sides of the short rib need to be browned.
- Cook the mirepoix. The next important step. Mirepoix is a flavor base comprised of celery, carrot, onion, and garlic, and is cooked in the rendered fat. The mixture isn’t browned but rather sweated to draw out the flavor. After, tomato paste is added and cooked until it develops a rusty, caramelized color.
- Remaining ingredients – Wine is added to deglaze the pan and cooked until slightly reduced. Next, broth, crushed tomatoes, herbs, parmesan rind, and the short ribs are added back to the dutch oven, then placed in a preheated oven for 2½ – 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
- Shred meat – Remove the bones, herbs, and parmesan rind from the pan. Shred short ribs on a plate and return to the dutch oven.
- Reduce sauce – Add cream then slightly reduce the sauce, about 10 minutes. If too thick, add beef broth until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Serve and enjoy!
What to Serve with Short Rib Ragu
What’s great about ragu is its versatility. You can pair it with a number of carby sides, here are some of my favorites:
- Pasta – Shapes like pappardelle, paccheri, ziti, and penne make for terrific vessels that will soak up the chunky sauce quite well.
- Polenta – Creamy, rich polenta is an automatic win. The smooth texture of polenta, akin to grits, pairs quite well with the hearty short rib ragu.
- Rice – You may not have thought that rice could be an option, but it’s another favorite pairing of mine.
- Gnocchi – Pillowy soft, buttery smooth gnocchi and a savory unctuous sauce. Need I say more about this delicious pairing?
How Long Are Leftovers Good For?
Refrigerating for 4-5 days is the sweet spot, as the flavor will deepen over time.
How to Freeze
Absolutely! Once fully cooled, place in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw out in the counter and cook in a pot until warmed through. If mixture is too thick, add a little water or beef broth.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure short ribs are completely dry. Before seasoning with salt and pepper, pat short ribs dry as this will ensure a better sear when the do not have a lot of added moisture.
- Season short ribs well. Don’t be shy with seasoning short ribs generously with salt and pepper, and be sure to season all sides.
- Short rib ragu cooked in a dutch oven goes hand-in-hand. Use a heavy-bottomed pan like this one as it helps to ensure consistent and even distribution of heat.
- Reduce the final sauce. Be sure to reduce the final sauce after adding shredded short ribs back to pot and just before serving.
- Cut vegetables small in size. Be sure to follow recipe suggestion sizes for the vegetables as this makes it more visually appealing in the final sauce.
- Don’t rush the sear. Take your time searing the meat as this will yield more flavorful results. Searing short ribs causes a Malians reaction, whereby the proteins and sugars of the meat yield a distinct and highly flavorful flavor and will impart a fabulous taste to the ragu. Be sure that all sides of the meat are seared with a beautiful brown crust. You will taste the difference, I promise.
- Better the next day. Make this a day ahead and let your willpower kick in. You will notice the difference in flavor as the ingredients have had time to really settle in.
Looking for More Recipes?
Try these favorites:
Did You Love This Recipe?
Short Rib Ragu
- 5 quart dutch oven
- 1½ tablespoons avocado oil
- 5 short ribs
- ½ heaping cup carrots, finely diced
- 1 rib celery, finely diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 7 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine, pinot noir
- 2¼ cups beef broth, plus 1 cup extra
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary, 3-inches long
- 1 large parmesan rind
- 3 tablespooons heavy cream
- 4 nests pappardelle
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Start by preheating the oven to 300°F and heat dutch oven over high heat.
- Remove all but 3 tablespoons of fat from dutch oven and add onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 4 minutes over medium heat, then add garlic and oregano, careful to not brown mixture and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Cook for an additional 6 minutes, careful not to brown the vegetables, rather cook vegetables over medium low heat until they are translucent, soft, and fragrant.
- Add tomato paste and press into vegetables using the back of spoon or cooking utensil. Cook for two minutes.
- Add red wine and cook over medium-heat until slightly reduced, 4-5 minutes.
- Add beef broth, crushed tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, parmesan rind, bay leaves and stir. Nestle short ribs back into dutch oven. Cover with lid.
- Cook for 1 hour at the 300°F mark. Then increase oven temperature to 350°F. After the 2 hour and 30 minutes mark, check short ribs for tenderness. Once meat easily shreds with a fork, remove from oven. Oven time typically takes 2 hours 45 minutes to 3 hours. Once cooked, discard bones, thyme, rosemary, parmesan rind, and bay leaves.
- Place short ribs on a plate and shred with two forks. Return shredded meat to the dutch oven and add heavy cream. Over medium heat, slightly reduce the mixture about 5-10 minutes. If too thick, add more beef broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.
- If serving with pappardelle, cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Drain and plate pasta, then top with ragu. Serve garnished with italian parsley and greshly grated parmesan.