If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll notice some things that come up a lot in my recipes. I like recipes that really celebrate the ingredients. Ones that are simple for the home cook. And, most importantly, ones that are cooked with love. My beef short rib ragu is definitely done with a whole lot of it.
Beef short rib ragu
Low and slow. Low and slow! Say it with me now, how do you make this recipe? Low and slow! This is the only way to master a ragu. You can’t speed it up. This is not a Monday night special, it’s a slow lunch, a loving dinner. This is what you make on that special fifth date where they are coming over to yours for the first time. Low and slow is how you absolutely nail the beef short rib ragu. Patience really is a virtue!
Building flavour – bones and all
Building flavour in a beef short rib ragu is done with two methods: time and thyme. That’s right, lots of herbs really help to build the flavour in this recipe. I have used rosemary, bay leaves and thyme but you can add whatever herbs you like! Dried oregano would work perfectly in this ragu. Also, bones. That’s right. Bones and all. You get SO much flavour from bones and they’ll slide out with ease after a long cook! It also gets a lot of flavour out of a good dry red wine added and some beef stock. These two elements bring a richness to the sauce. It does mean that you’ll need to really exercise patience because you’ll need that liquid to reduce.
It might look like a long recipe but actually, beef short rib ragu doesn’t take a master in the kitchen. You just want to make sure that you’ve got the lid off the pot to encourage it to reduce. As this is a stock based ragu as opposed to one that uses tinned tomatoes or passata, the liquid will need a little extra time to thicken. The other thing that you can do if you’ve lost the patience, the house is filling with that amazing aroma, you can’t wait any longer or you like it to be a little thicker, you can blend it with a stick blender. It’s a bit of the cheat’s way out but I think it’s just common sense. You can’t wait forever to indulge!
What can I serve beef short rib ragu with?
The most obvious answer is a short pasta. I like using a hollow one because it picks up all the flavours of the sauce and coats it, inside and out. But that’s not the only thing. It can be served by itself with some delicious garlic bread to dip it in, a slice of my famous garlic confit focaccia or with some mashed potatoes. Or, one of my favourites, put it into a cheese toasty the next day for an extra decadent sandwich.
I always say that a ragu’s flavour deepens over time. Make it the day before, or even a few days ahead, to allow those flavours to really shine! It’s also a great way to save on time. And, the best part? This ragu keeps really well in the freezer for when it is a Monday night and you have nothing in the fridge – this ragu will keep you going.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a review, please do so here! I always love answering your food and recipe related questions and hearing your feedback on my recipes.
Images by Alanna Penna photography.
Beef short rib ragu
- 1.5 kg beef short ribs 3.3 pounds
- 500 g pasta 16oz
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots finely diced
- 2 brown onions finely diced
- 2 celery stalks finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves crushed
- 120 g tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine 125mL
- 3.5 cups beef stock 800mL
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- salt + pepper
- fresh parsley to serve
- pecorino romano to serve
- Season both sides of the beef short rib with a generous amount of salt and pepper. In a large pot on a high heat, bring 2 tablespoons of olive oil to heat and fry the beef short rib for 3 minutes on each side or until a caramelised crust forms. Do this step in batches so the pot is not overcrowded and the meat broils. Remove the meat from the pot and set to the side, ensuring you leave all of the juices in the pan
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the pot. Cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until fragrant and the onion is translucent. Stir occasionally to avoid the garlic and onion from burning.
- Turn the heat to high and add the tomato paste to the pot. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, or until the paste turns a dark red colour and is sticking to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook until 80% of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the beef stock to the pot along with the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and very generous amount of salt and pepper. Return the beef short rib to the pot, ensuring they are covered by the liquid. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer for 2.5 – 3 hours.
- Remove the beef short rib from the pot and break the meat apart with a fork. It should be extremely tender. Return the meat to the pot and stir through.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Follow the instructions on the back of the pasta for al dente pasta and drain your pasta 1 – 2 minutes before the suggested cooking time. Reserve up to 1 cup of pasta water.
- On a low heat, stir the pasta through the sauce while slowly incorporating the pasta water, until you have a smooth and silky texture. Serve with finely chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkling of pecorino romano.