What a treat is this braised short rib ragu recipe, peeps! Fall-off-the-bone, extra tender, and succulent beef short ribs slowly braised in a rich, flavorful stew. Big, bold flavor from fresh herbs, aromatics, spices, vegetables, red wine, tomatoes, and more. It’s a hearty, delicious stunner that’s perfect for nearly any occasion. This is the ultimate restaurant-quality Italian food made in the comfort of your own home.

braised Short Rib Ragu with rigatoni in black bowl with black fork

Listen, when it comes to my holy grail meats, short ribs are one of them. On any given day when I’m in the mood, you will find me braising short ribs in my dutch oven. On top of that, I have a penchant for developing recipes that have a restaurant-quality vibe with a no stress feel. Friends, this short rib ragu recipe is just that. While it may sound hella intimidating, it couldn’t be any easier!

Braised Short Rib Ragu

Whew, are y’all ready to dive into this one? This recipe features tender and succulent short ribs that have been braised in a rich, flavorful tomato-based stew. Big, bold taste comes from the simplest ingredients. I always like to say that if you can brown, sauté, stir, and then braise…you’re golden! Real talk, this short rib ragu is honestly so easy to make with an insanely rewarding finish.

Back To Basics: What Is Ragu?

In short, ragu is an Italian meat-based sauce. It typically features ground beef, tomato ingredients, aromatics, spices, red wine, broth, and a heap of herbs. Everything combines and cooks down over time into a lovely, super rich sauce that is commonly served with pasta… >> comfort food at its finest!

An unbeatable level of delicious magic happens with braising: the meat connective tissues tenderize and break down while absorbing the flavors that it’s accompanied with in the pot. Homemade braised short rib ragu takes a few hours due to the slow cooking process, but man, the wait is worth it. Sheesh.

Comforting staples: braised short ribs, this baked ziti, southern classic faves like cabbage and sausage & smothered pork chops, and cozy meatloaf

Short Rib Ragu in large white pot with wooden spoon

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Beef short ribs: The head honcho, friends! You’ll need thick and meaty *English style/cut* bone-in, beef short ribs. Not to be confused with the thinner cousin, flanken style/cut, that is common for Korean BBQ and other recipes. English cut short ribs are cut parallel to the bone as opposed to across from it…which basically means that the pieces are nice and fat and not thin/long. That ultra-meaty goodness is what makes this short rib ragu sing!
  • Butter & olive oil: Used to brown the short ribs for a nice sear.
  • Onion, celery, and carrot: An aromatic trio or trinity that’s clutch in braising.
  • Garlic: What is an Italian recipe (or any damn recipe) without garlic?! I love using garlic paste for a super garlicky punch (and for one less step of having to mince cloves, ha!) but feel free to use cloves of garlic, too.
  • Tomato paste: A must for huge, bold, and signature tomato-y flavor.
  • Red wine: Used to deglaze the aromatics and provide some acidity. I often use Chianti for this braised short rib ragu recipe. It’s a wine blend that is from Tuscany, Italy and I enjoy that authentic, truly Italian taste. However, you can surely use any dry, red wine that is accessible to ya.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes: Super simple and found in the canned goods aisle. Fire roasted tomatoes are roasted over an open flame and as a result, they yield a distinct smokiness that gives an added oomph here.
  • Worcestershire: A pantry staple, bottled condiment that gives a boost to so many dishes, like soups and stews. It has a unique combo of flavors from various ingredients. Also, it kinda acts like an umami flavor bomb, too.
  • Spices: We’re using seasonings like salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, chipotle pepper, and bay leaves. All of them are perfect and the chipotle pepper adds a subtle hint of heat for a contrast in flavor.
  • Beef broth: You’ll need liquid to cover the short ribs. I use beef broth for that true beefy flavor to be all up and through this braised short rib ragu!
  • Cheese: I love me some parmigiano reggiano cheese as it is usually aged and the best of the best of Italian cheeses. You can totally use parmesan cheese as well. Additionally, I toss in a cheese rind for extra deliciousness in the braise pot- optional. The rind kicks up the flavor and gives more depth, swoon.
  • Fresh herbs: Ragu needs some freshness, and you get that with using fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. A little blend of poultry herbs, mmm.

This is everything you’ll need for a meaty, velvety short rib ragu sauce

* The red wine & beef broth are combined together in the image below.

ingredients laid out on beige surface for braised Short Rib Ragu

How To Make Braised Short Rib Ragu

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Prep the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Brown the short ribs. First, season the ribs with salt/pepper and then set them aside to marinate and come up to room temperature. Afterwards, warm up the butter/olive oil and sear the short ribs in batches. You want to get a nice, crispy brown sear on all sides. This unlocks even more flavor as the short ribs go through a caramelization process as they brown aka the Maillard reaction to be technical. Then set the browned short ribs aside.
  3. Sauté the aromatics. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot into the pot and sauté until tender. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking.
  4. Bring the flavors together. Stir in the tomato paste and cook together along with the aromatics. Then pour in the wine to deglaze the pot a little. Add in the tomatoes, worcestershire and all the seasonings- stir everything together to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
  5. Assemble the braise. Add the short ribs back into the pot and cover with the broth. Then add in the bay leaves, cheese rind (if using), and fresh herbs.
  6. Braise the short ribs. Transfer the pot into the oven to braise for a few hours. Go back to the pot every now and then to check on and stir the mixture. Perfect braising time is 2 1/2 to 3 hours long.
  7. Bring the short rib ragu together. Remove the short ribs from the pot along with the cheese rind and herb stems. Shred the short ribs into pieces and add it back into the pot with the sauce. Stir everything together to combine. Friends, you made short rib ragu! Ayyyyee! 🙌🏾

Let’s Talk About Short Ribs

So, we’ve already talked about English style beef short ribs but let’s discuss selecting perfect short ribs for this ragu! And really, getting the best short ribs in general. You want to grab well-marbled & meaty beef short ribs. These ribs also have a great ratio of meat without a considerable amount of fat on them. Honestly, I always hand select my short ribs in the case from my local butcher. Some pieces are fattier than others and for this recipe, it’s all about the meaty bites for this short rib ragu! Bone-in, always always for flavor!

Where do short ribs come from? Short ribs are a cut of beef taken from the front plate and shoulders of beef cattle. The front plate refers to the lower rib cage of the steer and cuts can be taken from the plate, brisket, chuck, and rib sections. However, cuts taken from the chuck area of the cattle are considered the best. To recap, aim for bone-in, english style, chuck short ribs.

seared short ribs and herbs sitting in ragu sauce in large white pot

What You’ll Need For Short Rib Ragu Pasta

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

The short rib ragu sauce is an absolute stunner on its own, but my favorite way to serve it up is with some good ole pasta! It gives the coziest & comforting vibes this way! The best for a luxe, Italian dinner or date night at home.

  • Pasta: As pictured in the images, I often use rigatoni pasta. I love this wide, tubular shape of pasta for the sauce to get lost in and really soak up all the juices. However, nearly any kind of pasta will be amazing with this short rib ragu. If you enjoy long pasta, for example: tagliatelle, pappardelle, or bucatini. For fans of short cut pasta: fusilli, casarecce, paccheri, penne, etc.
  • Freshly grated cheese: Parmigiano reggiano or parmesan cheese for serving.
  • Fresh herbs: Toss on some freshly chopped thyme, parsley, or basil.
  • Burrata cheese: Oof, burrata is one of my faves. It’s made from an outer shell of mozzarella cheese and formed into a plump, soft ball with fresh cheese curds and cream inside. When served at room temperature alongside the short rib ragu pasta, it gives even more creamy richness, whew!

⇢ Aside from the pasta, all other elements are totally optional, but suhhh good!

Tips + Tricks For Recipe Success

Here’s some additional info on this short rib ragu & short rib ragu pasta recipe…

  1. Room temperature short ribs. First, protein browns even better when it is near room temperature as opposed to being cold from the fridge. The recipe card notes after seasoning the ribs to let them sit for a bit to absorb the salt/pepper and to come up to room temperature.
  2. Use a large dutch oven. You’ll often see in my images that I use quality dutch ovens, like Staub or Le Creuset pieces. They’re solid cookware for nearly all things, but especially braising. Although, you certainly do not need these brands- any oven-safe, large dutch oven will work!
  3. Pulse the veggies. I highly recommend using a food processor to chop the onion, celery, and carrot. Only a processor can finely pulse them into a fine consistency. Furthermore, if you plan on serving the short rib ragu with pasta, I find that it is an even more crucial step. Reason being is because you don’t want huge chunks of chopped veggies throughout in your pasta, right?! Alternatively, you can use a knife if needed, no worries!
  4. Oven or stovetop braise. The recipe card, below, gives instructions for braising this dish in the oven. I rarely braise on the stovetop just because I prefer not to since this recipe takes some time, but it can be done if you prefer. At step #6, simply turn the heat to the lowest setting, and braise on the stovetop for the same amount of time. Boom, boom, pow!
  5. Let the flavors meld. This one is mainly for the short rib ragu pasta, peeps. After cooking the pasta, add it into the pot with the ragu sauce and bring everything together. Allow the two to meld for at least 10 minutes. Consequently, this process ensures that the pasta soaks up the ragu sauce entirely and absorbs all the flavors. No dry pasta pieces, ew.
close up of braised Short Rib Ragu in large white pot with wooden spoon

Why We Love This Recipe 🤩

…& here is why you will also LOVE this braised short rib ragu recipe:

  • Flava, flava, flava: This is a dish that is filled with rich, luscious, and lip-smacking flavor in every single bite. Super tender short rib pieces swimming in a sauce loaded with flavorful aromatics and slowly braised in all that goodness. There are so many different flavorful components to enjoy here!
  • Textures on 1000: I adore the levels of texture in this short rib ragu recipe. The succulent, beefy magic that is braised short ribs meets with a slick and creamy ragu sauce, rounded out with the bite of perfectly cooked pasta.
  • Special event or any day treat: You can serve up this delight for special events like birthdays, anniversaries, special holiday dinners, and all that’s in between. On the other hand, it’s easy enough to be served up for no occasion at all other than because you felt like it >> and that’s reason enough lol.
  • Restaurant-quality at home: Listen, I love me a well-crafted meal made right at home, my favorite place. This recipe is a real showstopper that makes you get out of any at-home recipe rut. All in all, this homemade ragu is a special treat that’ll make you think you dined out at your local Italian joint.
braised Short Rib Ragu with rigatoni in large white pot

What To Serve With Braised Short Rib Ragu

As pictured, we love serving this short rib ragu with pasta, but you can serve this ragu with other things. For example, when not using pasta, I’ve served this ragu right on top of some creamy mashed potatoes, so delish. High key, that’s probably my #1 alternative way of serving! On the other hand, cheesy/buttery polenta or grits and even pillowy soft, potato gnocchi would be so dreamy, too!

I would be remiss if I failed to mention some other tidbits that are so lovely here. Crusty baguette slices (for soaking up any runaway ragu sauce 👅!) & a glass of your favorite red wine is nice. >> FYI: any medium-bodied Italian reds, like Sicilian, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel, pair well with tomato-based sauces.

black hand holding bowl of Short Rib Ragu with rigatoni and burrata in black bowl with black fork

Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu

If you’d like to whip up this recipe in your slow cooker/crockpot, let’s do it!

First, follow the instructions below on seasoning/resting the ribs. Next, if your slow cooker vessel has a browning function then you can sear the short ribs in it. Otherwise, brown the ribs in a pot on the stovetop. The same goes for sautéing the aromatics- follow steps 1-4 in the recipe card, below.

Then place everything into the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Lastly, follow the remaining instructions to complete the short rib ragu.

Instant Pot fan? Someone will ask me about this lol. Here’s the thing- technically it can be done. However, I don’t recommend it. Why is that Quin? This is braised short rib ragu, and to braise means to cook slowly. The magic of braising is slowly letting all the flavors build up and meld together over time. Therefore, please put that pressure cooker away! Love you, mean it.

Storing Leftover Short Rib Ragu

Keep any leftover short rib ragu stored inside of an airtight container. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When ready to reheat, you can reheat on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until warmed through. You may need to rehydrate the ragu with a splash of water or more beef broth to help loosen it up some. Leftovers= flavor intensity!

close up of Short Rib Ragu with rigatoni in black bowl

Y’all, if you’ve made it this far, I hope you enjoy this Braised Short Rib Ragu recipe. It is seriously amazing and one that you will keep coming back to! Be sure to report back and lemme know what ya think- until next time! 🤟🏾

⇢ Check out my Easy Skillet Lasagna, this Creamy Beef Pasta, my Sausage Kale Pasta w/ Mascarpone Sauce, and my all-time fave, Rasta Pasta

Print
clockclock iconcutlerycutlery iconflagflag iconfolderfolder iconinstagraminstagram iconpinterestpinterest iconfacebookfacebook iconprintprint iconsquaressquares iconheartheart iconheart solidheart solid icon
braised Short Rib Ragu with rigatoni in black bowl with black fork

Braised Short Rib Ragu

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Cook Time: 3hr
  • Total Time: 3hr 30m
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Main Entree
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

What a treat is this braised short rib ragu recipe, peeps! Fall-off-the-bone, extra tender, and succulent beef short ribs slowly braised in a rich, flavorful stew. Big, bold flavor from fresh herbs, aromatics, spices, vegetables, red wine, tomatoes, and more. It’s a hearty, delicious stunner that’s perfect for nearly any occasion. This is the ultimate restaurant-quality Italian food made in the comfort of your own home.


Ingredients

Scale

For the short rib ragu:

  • 4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs (English-cut)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste or 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry, red wine- preferably Chianti
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 parmigiano reggiano or parmesan cheese rind, optional
  • 1 small bundle of fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage (about 23 sprigs each, aka poultry blend of herbs)

For the short rib ragu pasta:

  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta (or pasta of choice): penne, casarecce, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fusilli, paccheri, bucatini, etc.
  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano or parmesan cheese, to taste
  • freshly chopped herbs for garnish: thyme, parsley, basil- optional
  • 4 ounces burrata cheese, at room temperature- optional

Instructions

For the short rib ragu:

  1. Season and rest the short ribs: On a large plate/platter, generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper on all sides. Set the short ribs aside to marinate and to come up to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Afterwards, preheat the oven to 325°F. 
  2. Brown the short ribs: In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add in the butter and olive oil. Once the mixture is sizzling, swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom of the pot. Working in batches, add a few short ribs into the pot. Sear the short ribs on all sides until a nicely browned crust appears, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the browned short ribs onto a cleaned plate and repeat the process until all the short ribs are browned. Then set the browned short ribs aside and reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Sauté the aromatics: Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot into the pot. Use a wooden utensil to sauté the mixture together, while stirring every so often, about 10-15 minutes. Look for any moisture to be drawn out and for the aromatics to be golden brown. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking the mixture together until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Bring the flavors together: Create a small well in the center of the pot and add in the tomato paste. Use a wooden utensil to stir the paste in along with the aromatics until combined, about 2 minutes. Add in the red wine to deglaze and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine reduces a little, about 2-3 minutes. Then pour in the canned fire roasted tomatoes with its liquid as well as the worcestershire. Followed by the seasonings: oregano, thyme, and chipotle powder. Stir the mixture together until fully combined.
  5. Assemble the braise: Return the browned short ribs back into the pot along with any residual juices that have collected. Pour in the beef broth and make sure that the ribs are submerged under the liquid. Add the bay leaves, parmigiano reggiano/parmesan rind (if using), and fresh herbs into the pot- carefully stir to combine.
  6. Braise the short ribs: Cover the pot with a lid and carefully transfer the pot to the oven. Allow the short ribs to braise until extra tender and falling off the bone, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours- going back to the pot to stir the mixture together for even cooking, every so often.
  7. Bring the short rib ragu together: Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Take the short ribs out of the pot and place onto a cutting board or a large platter. Remove the bay leaves, cheese rind, and the herb stems from the pot. Allow the short ribs to cool down some before handling. Then use two forks or your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to shred the short ribs apart into little pieces- discarding any fatty parts as needed. >> Note: depending on the amount of fat that was on your short ribs, you may need to skim off the fat/excess grease from the top of the sauce. Do that before proceeding with the step below- otherwise continue as directed.
  8. Add the shredded short rib pieces into the pot with the sauce and stir together to combine. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings by adding more salt/pepper, as desired. At this point, you can enjoy the short rib ragu as is or proceed with short rib ragu pasta, below.

For the short rib ragu pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook according to your package directions, al dente- stirring the pasta every so often. Meanwhile, as the pasta is cooking, on a separate stovetop burner, re-warm the short rib ragu over medium heat.
  2. Back to the pasta, remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta into a large colander- do not rinse the pasta.
  3. Add the cooked pasta into the pot with the short rib ragu and stir to combine. Stir everything together very well to coat the pasta with the sauce and then remove from heat. Use the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water to stream into the pot to help loosen the sauce, only as needed- stirring to combine. Let the pasta sit in the pot for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  4. Serve the short rib ragu pasta immediately into pasta bowls, top with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano/parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and burrata cheese (if using). Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

Keywords: Short Rib Ragu, braised short ribs, ragu sauce, short rib pasta, ragu, how to make ragu