Efi and Liz’s favorite

This ragu is richly flavored from slow-cooked short ribs, finely diced vegetables, herbs, garlic, shallots, and red wine. It is the perfect meal to impress your guest and mimic a high end Italian restaurant. This is a great winter weekend recipe. Let the savory and rich sauce stew on the stove while you read a book by the fire. You will love this classic Italian short rib ragu recipe! 


  • 2 bone-in beef short rib, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced 
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups port or red wine
  • 28 oz crushed tomato, 1 can
  • 3 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 2 lb pappardelle pasta (or 1 batch homemade pappardelle pasta recipe)
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
  • freshly grated parmigiano cheese, for garnish


  1. Pat the short ribs with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then season generously with 2 teaspoons kosher salt.
  2. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot and heat over high heat until shimmering. Add half the short ribs and sear on each side until deep brown, about 10 minutes total. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the remaining short ribs.
  3. Add the onion, shallot, carrot, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are softened and browned, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a few more minutes, until darkened and thickened.
  4. Pour in the wine (the alcohol will burn off at this point). Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Reduce the liquid by half, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, beef stock, bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme to the pot. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the short ribs, making sure the meat is submerged. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 31/2- 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim excess fat off the top as needed. The short ribs are done when the meat pulls apart easily.
  7. Discard any bones that the meat has fallen off of, as well as all the herb stems. Pull out any remaining bones and discard. Using two forks, shred the meat in the pot (you can also take the meat out onto a cutting board to shred and add it back into the pot. 
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
  9. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. If making homemade pappardelle cook about 5 minutes until al dente. Strain pasta and add to the pot of ragu sauce. Turn gently to incorporate all the pasta with the sauce. 
  10. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and freshly grated parmigiano cheese. Mangia! 


Al dente pasta should always cook with sauce for couple of minutes on the stovetop, allowing the two separate components to come together as one cohesive dish. If you feel like your pasta never turns out as good as it does in a restaurant, this simple step goes a long way to add the special touch!

How To Finish the Short Rib Ragu 

Add the cooked pasta straight into the simmering ragu, tossing to combine well. Adjust as needed so the ragu coats the pasta evenly. If it’s too thick, toss in some of the reserved pasta water; if the mixture is too loose, toss in an extra handful of parmigiano cheese. Cook for a couple minutes more, allowing the pasta to marry with & absorb some of the sauce.

How to Make Braised Short Rib Ragu

The work in making this dish is all upfront and the rest is sitting back and letting it simmer. 

The process is time (but you aren’t doing any of the work)-intensive, since the goal is to tenderize a tough cut of meat & pull big flavors out of relatively simple ingredients.

The process is mostly hands off! So, set a timer and take a nap and then your ragu will be ready.


Browning creates the base flavor upon which the rest of the short rib ragu is built, so it’s incredibly important to take the time to sear the short ribs well.

  • The short ribs need to be completely dryMoisture is the natural enemy of a good, hard sear, so use paper towels to pat them as dry as you possibly can.
  • You need a good, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, which retains its heat well & distributes it evenly. 


Add the ‘soffritto’ veggies – carrots, celery, & onion – to the same pot used to brown the short ribs. This is the first step in building layers to the flavor of this dish. Let them get a bit brown as you release their flavors in this step. 


Deglaze the pot by adding in the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits developed on the bottom of the pan by browning the short ribs & soffritto. This adds richness and depth to the sauce. 


Now for the fun part – letting the sauce simmer! Nestle the browned short ribs into the braising liquid, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cover the pot & let it cook until the short ribs are fall-apart tender – your kitchen will smell like absolute Italian comfort food heaven.

Short Ribs

Beef ribs that are cut into 3 to 4 inch sections, consisting of meat, fat and bone.Short ribs are cut from the chuck and plate primal sections. They have a lot of flavor, but are fatty and fairly tough. 

For best results, short ribs should be cooked slowly with moist heat. This is the perfect recipe for beef short ribs! When cooked slowly in the braising liquid and tomato sauce, they become ‘fall off the bone tender’. So delicious! 

What is Ragu?

Before we dive into this braised short rib ragu recipe, let’s define the broad term- ragu. The  “What is ragu?!” is a question I get asked a lot since there seems to be a wide variety of dishes name ‘ragu’.

“Ragu” is a broad term used to describe a rich, slowly cooked Italian meat sauce. It’s hearty, intensely flavorful, & unlike a slowly simmered tomato sauce (sugo al pomodoro), ragu is all about the meat. In that sense, it’s almost more stew-like than what may come to mind when you think of Italian sauces. However, much like marinara or tomato sauce, ragu is traditionally served with pasta, gnocchi, or polenta. I am sure you’ve enjoyed my nonna’s famous ragu – Classic Italian Ragu!

The best part about getting familiar with making ragu is that it is very versatile. You can make a beautiful ragu using almost any meaty ingredient that lends well to a slow braise: porkground turkey or chickenwild boarducklambmushrooms or eggplant for a vegetarian ragu, or, of course, beef short ribs.

Can you Freeze Short Rib Ragu? 

Yes! You can freeze this short bib ragu! I doubt there will be any leftovers, but just in case you want to save the leftovers ragu here is what you need to do- allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. Ragu will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months

Make-Ahead Short Rib Ragu

Transfer the cooled short rib ragu sauce to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. To serve, all you have to do is heat it up & toss with your pasta of choice – easy!