Slowly braised until rich and flavorful, this deliciously meaty short rib ragu is the perfect sauce to dress your favorite freshly prepared pasta in. Infused with red wine, herbs and beef stock, simmered together with porcini mushrooms, this hearty sauce tastes just like one you'd enjoy at your favorite bistro!
A Flavorful Bistro Favorite Enjoyed at Home
Ah, I absolutely adore the “romantic” quality of dinner at a favorite local Italian trattoria or bistro...
The fantasy of a steaming hot, rich and hearty pasta dish prepared with a robustly flavorful sauce being placed in front of me, along with some fresh, warm bread for dipping and a nice glass of red wine, is one that I can utterly get lost in.
And while I thoroughly enjoy going “out on the town” for a meal like this with my hubby every so often, what I really love and appreciate about it is that I can easily recreate it in my own kitchen on those occasions when the food itself sounds incredibly enticing, yet perhaps not so much the “going out” part.
A rich, hearty short rib ragu tossed together with freshly cooked spaghetti, a personal favorite of mine, can be deliciously developed slowly in my own oven over a couple of hours, with just the right ingredients and those flavors that I love.
For me that includes a copious splash of good red wine, lots of garlic, herbs, some crushed tomatoes, and some wonderfully earthy and aromatic porcini mushrooms.
My short rib ragu with porcini mushrooms is a pasta recipe that I think you'll find a lot of pleasure and comfort in if you're a fan of bistro-style meals like I am. It's unmistakably cozy and brimming with the slow-simmered flavors of food prepared with lots of love, no reservations ever required. 😉
How to Make Short Rib Ragu
While there are many types of meat ragu, this particular recipe makes use of rich and flavorful short ribs that are first seared until browned on all sides, then slowly braised in a sauce for roughly two and a half hours until completely fork-tender and shreddable.
This particular ragu has some southern Italian influences as it incorporates tomatoes as part of the ingredient list rather than milk or cream, which helps to cut through some of the richness of the short ribs.
I also like the addition of red wine and a bit of beef stock, as well as some dried porcini mushrooms.
Some aromatic ingredients are incorporated as well, such as finely diced onions, carrots and celery, which sort of melt away into the sauce as it cooks, plus garlic and Italian dried herbs, and fresh parsley is added in at the end.
And because I'm partial to spaghetti as the choice of pasta here, I use that, but you could easily substitute your personal favorite type of pasta.
Here's a glance at my short rib ragu with porcini mushrooms recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- I begin by rehydrating my dried porcini mushrooms with hot water for about 15-20 minutes, then drain and rinse (if they're a bit gritty), and set them aside.
- Next, I season my short ribs and brown on all sides for a few minutes in my large, heavy-bottom braising pan, then remove them.
- The aromatic ingredients go into the pan next, followed by the tomato paste, wine, stock, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and porcini mushrooms.
- Next, the short ribs are nestled back into the pan and things are brought to a vigorous simmer before being placed into a low oven to be braised for roughly two and a half hours, or until the meat is tender enough to separate with a fork.
- The short rib ragu is finished by removing the short ribs from the pan and carefully shredding them, then adding the meat back into the pan with the sauce and folding in some fresh parsley.
- I serve the the ragu either separate from the spaghetti so that it may be spooned over top, or the spaghetti is added directly into the pan with the sauce and tossed until combined before serving.
Short Rib Ragu with Porcini Mushrooms
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 674 calories (includes roughly 2 ½ ounces of cooked pasta)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 pounds beef short ribs
- Black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti (or favorite pasta), cooked according to package instructions, and held warm
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Add the dried porcini mushrooms to a small bowl, and pour 1 cup of boiling water over them; cover, and allow them to soak/rehydrate for about 10 minutes; then, strain them, and squeeze any excess liquid out of them (if you find them to be a bit gritty, give them a rinse and squeeze dry); set the mushrooms aside.
- Place a large, heavy-bottom braising pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat, and add in about 4 to 5 tablespoons of oil.
- While the oil heats, sprinkle the short ribs with about 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper, plus the flour; toss to coat them.
- Add 2 to 3 ribs into the braising pan (you'll need to work in a couple of batches), and brown the ribs on all sides, about 4 minutes per side; remove from pan when brown, and repeat until all ribs are browned; set them aside for a moment.
- Next, skim a little of the oil out of the pan if necessary, so that you're left with about 3 to 4 tablespoons; add in the onion, carrot, and celery, plus a tiny pinch of salt and pepper, and saute those (scraping up any browned bits from the bottom) until slightly softened and golden, about 3 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, and stir that in; once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and stir that in to incorporate, and cook for about 1 minute to cook out the raw flavor.
- Next, add in the red wine, and allow it to slightly reduce, about 30 seconds (it'll look slightly thickened).
- Add in the beef stock, the can of crushed tomatoes, the Italian seasoning, the porcini mushrooms, and ½ teaspoon of salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the ribs back into the pan, and nestle them into the sauce; bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer, then cover tightly with a lid, and turn off the heat; place the braising pan/Dutch oven into the oven (middle or lower rack), and braise until the meat is fork tender and easily falling from the bone, for about 2 ½ hours.
- Once tender, remove the beef ribs from the braising pan and set them aside for a moment to cool slightly until they can be handled; once slightly cooled, shred the meat using your fingers or a couple of forks (discarding the more fatty/cartilage-y bits), and set it aside for a moment.
- Skim the excess fat from the top of sauce, and using a fork, lightly mash up any larger pieces of veggies, like the carrots and celery (most of the veggies will have pretty much melted into the sauce during the braising process); stir in the chopped parsley, and check to see is any additional salt/pepper is needed.
- Return the shredded beef to the sauce and stir it in to incorporate.
- Serve the ragu over the spaghetti (or even toss some spaghetti directly in some of the ragu with a pair of tongs), and serve with a little Parmigiano-Reggiano over top.
Tips & Tidbits for my Short Rib Ragu with Porcini Mushrooms:
- Skim off some of the fat: Because short ribs are rather rich in collagen and fat, this infuses the ragu with lots and lots of beefy flavor, but it will benefit from being skimmed a little bit. Once the short ribs have braised and are tender, and you remove them from the pan to shred them, take a moment to skim away any excess surface grease from the sauce with a spoon. You can leave a small amount for flavor, and that will easily be blended in, but skim off as much as you can so it isn't too fatty.
- Finely mince the veggies: Because the carrots, onions and celery are meant to melt into the sauce and create just a little bit of texture, mince them finely to avoid having chunks that are too big and don't break down. These are meant to provide extra flavor rather than lots of “stew-like”, chunky texture.
- Your choice of pasta: I'm a fan of spaghetti here, because it's not too thick nor too thin, and can beautifully stand up to a rich, hearty short rib ragu and not break apart. Other great options are linguini or fettuccine, or even penne or rigatoni, if you prefer.
- Omit the wine, if you prefer: The relatively small amount of red wine that is used in the recipe basically reduces and simmers off leaving little to no alcohol; but if you prefer to omit it altogether, just substitute that much more beef stock, and proceed with the recipe.
Craving more bistro-style recipes? Check out this Bistro Sausage Pasta, this Spaghetti Bolognese, this Chicken Cacciatore, or this Bucatini Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!
Thalia @ butter and brioche
The ragu looks absolutely divine - so rich, flavoursome and hearty. I must try your recipe. Wow!
Made this, followed the recipe except I added half a bulb of chopped fennel. Had to add some liquid after 2 hours (almost burned!) but man...it tasted beautiful. Served it on pepperdelle. So rich and no ingredient over powers.
The Cozy Apron
Hi BD, thanks for taking a moment to comment on the recipe! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, and even found a way to make it your own by adding the fennel. Happy cooking to you!
Ingrid, this was the perfect meal for a cold, wintery Indiana night. Absolutely hit the spot. I had to use some fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh mushrooms (trying not to venture out more than I have to), but otherwise, I stuck to your recipe. Delicious. I'm thinking of using some of the leftovers in the "Savory Hand Pies" recipe that you have, since the main ingredients are similar (I'd just need to cook some potatoes and peas and throw 'em in the mix, along with some white pepper, Worcestershire, and extra thyme). If I do that, I'll let you know how it turns out. Full, happy bellies here. Love, Melissa
The Cozy Apron
Oh, fantastic, Melissa! We LOVE this one. So comforting, and as you mentioned, perfect on a cold evening. 🙂
Enjoy playing around with the leftovers for the hand pies...I think it'll be super tasty! Happy cooking (and experimenting!), Melissa!