Short Rib Ragu

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Short ribs can take some time to prepare so I don’t make it as often as I like. But when I do have the time, dishes like this one from Bobby Flay makes it worthwhile (you can find the original recipe here). As with many short rib dishes, refrigerating the cooked dish makes removing the fat much easier. Just gently reheat on medium until warmed through before serving. A meaty and hearty dish like this really needs a nice wide pasta to stand up to it, such as pappardella. I used linguine on this night since it’s what I had and works just fine. I substituted the port wine with Marsala wine. Both are fortified wine but you can also use sherry. The other modification I did was to rough blend with an immersion blender to thicken the sauce a bit more but still leaving some chunk of carrots. If you want a thicker sauce but don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or a blender. If using a blender, make sure you vent the lid if the sauce is hot.

A few notes about the dish. Since the sauce is reduced a couple of times, don’t go crazy on the sauce. What might taste perfectly seasoned in the beginning will taste overly salty by the time the sauce is reduced. If you need to speed up the cooking time, use 375 degrees oven temp which should reduce the cooking time to about 2 hours. I don’t think the ribs is as tender but is still very good. Also since these are short ribs, there will be some larger pieces of tendons leftover after shredding. The Mister doesn’t like the tendons so more for me! If you don’t mind tendons but don’t like the larger pieces, just slice them into more bite size pieces and mix in. Delicious!

This recipe  makes plenty for 4 hungry adults.

Adapted from Bobby Flay


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds short ribs, each about 2-inches long, cut flanken style, across the ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 small carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine 
  • 2 cups red wine, such as cabernet
  • 1/2 head garlic (about 6 cloves), cloves separated and peeled
  • 3 1/2 cups beef stock, low sodium if possible 
  • 1 pound pappardelle or other long, flat pasta
  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated Pecorino Romano, for garnish (Parmesan reggiano can be used too)


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place a 5-quart casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil, and heat until it is almost smoking. Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, add short ribs to the hot oil. Cook ribs until browned on both sides. Remove ribs from casserole, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare bouquet garni: Place bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring edges together, and tie with kitchen string. Set bouquet garni aside. If you don’t have cheese cloth, you can tie everything together with kitchen twine but be warned that the herb leaves will fall off into the sauce.

Add carrots, celery, onion, and shallots to oil in the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

Add flour and tomato paste to the casserole, and stir to combine. Add Marsala wine; stir with wooden spoon until all browned bits have been scraped from the pan and the bottom of the casserole is clean. Add red wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Add garlic, beef stock and the reserved bouquet garni.

Return browned ribs to the casserole. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the casserole and place it in the oven. Cook until ribs are very tender, about 3 hours.

Remove the cooked ribs from the casserole. Set the casserole on the stove top over medium heat, and simmer to thicken sauce just slightly. As soon as the short ribs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, and shred into small pieces. Degrease the sauce and discard the bouquet garni. Return shredded meat to casserole, and simmer to reduce sauce by about half.

Cook pasta according to package until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, and serve with short rib ragu, sprinkle with the parsley and freshly grated Percorino Romano.


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