This delicious beef ragu is crowd pleasing comfort food at its finest! Tender, juicy beef short ribs braised in the oven alongside tomatoes, red wine and fresh rosemary — it’s the perfect sunday dinner!
This is my absolute favorite weekend meal! Just toss a bunch of ingredients together in a big pot, place it in the oven and then walk away and forget about it while it transforms into the most magnificent ragu of your life. Okay, you will need about 20 minutes of active prep before you can let your ragu braise to perfection (namely searing the meat), but all in all this is a pretty hands off recipe.
preparing the ingredients
This recipe uses two types of meat: boneless beef short ribs and diced pancetta. If you don’t have pancetta on hand, you can definitely substitute bacon or even leave it out completely. The main flavor for this ragu will come from the short ribs braised in a rich tomato sauce. To get started, you’ll first want to chop the short ribs into chunks and sear them in a dutch oven. The caramelization of the meat will add a deeper flavor to the finished sauce that is so worth it!
Next, set the seared beef aside and toss in the onions along with the pancetta (if using). And after a few minutes of cooking, mix in the garlic. Sauteing the aromatics before slow cooking also adds dimension to the sauce and makes for a more pleasant texture. At this point, you might have lots of brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. You put in work to get that extra flavor and we don’t want to lose any of it so make sure to deglaze the pot by pouring in the red wine and letting it simmer for a few minutes to help release the caramelized residue.
And finally you can add the ingredients that require no additional prep: whole canned tomatoes (that you’ll crush before adding), beef broth, tomato paste, dried oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes and a few bay leaves. And the most important toss-in ingredient: one parmesan rind. There are so many uses for parmesan rinds so never ever throw them away! In addition to reducing food waste, saving your parmesan rinds to simmer in soups, stews and ragus will add an incredible umami flavor to your favorite meals!
braising short ribs to tender, juicy perfection
And now the easy part. Cover your pot and place it in the oven to cook for about three hours. You’ll know the sauce is ready when the short ribs are tender and can be easily shredded with a fork. Make sure to check your ragu after about 2 to 2.5 hours and adjust the time as necessary.
When your ragu is ready, it might seem a bit soupy at first. Remove the beef short ribs, shred and return them to the pot. If the ragu still seems like it’s not thick enough after giving it a good stir, you can simmer the sauce on the stovetop for about 10 minutes. I generally don’t need to do this, but it will depend on how thick you want your sauce and what you’re serving it with.
what to serve with short rib ragu
We love to serve our beef ragu with gnocchi, which makes for an incredibly hearty dish. But any type of pasta would also be great here. Wider pastas like pappardelle and tagliatelle are the most traditional options. And if you want a super comforting dish, try serving your ragu over creamy mashed potatoes!
To round out our Sunday dinner, I always like to whip up a batch of garlic bread and make a quick salad with just lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and a bit of olive oil and salt. The salad will incorporate a few greens into this meat-heavy meal and the garlic bread can be used to scoop up any extra sauce. Two super simple sides, but the perfect complement to the deliciously rich braised ragu!
Looking for more warming stews? Here are some of our favorites!
- bigos | polish hunter’s stew
- fesenjan | iranian pomegranate chicken stew
- misir wat | ethiopian lentil stew
- polish style goulash
- beef short ribs 2 lb (900 g)
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable oil 2 tbsp
- diced onion 1 large
- diced pancetta 2 oz (60 g)
- minced garlic 2 cloves
- red wine ½ c (120 ml)
- canned whole tomatoes 28 oz (800 g)
- beef broth ½ c (120 ml)
- tomato paste 3 tbsp
- dried oregano 1 tsp
- rosemary 2 sprigs
- red pepper flakes ½ tsp
- bay leaves 2 leaves
- parmesan 1 rind
- (plus additional for serving)
- gnocchi 16 oz (500 g)
- Preheat oven to 320 F (160 C).
- Cut the beef short ribs into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces and generously season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, sear the beef short ribs until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onion and pancetta to the pot and cook until the onion is translucent (five minutes).
- Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
- Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pot. Scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and cook for three minutes.
- Return the beef to the pot. Crush the canned whole tomatoes and add to the pot along with the beef broth, tomato paste, dried oregano, rosemary sprigs, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and parmesan rind.
- Give the ragu a good stir, cover the pot and transfer to the oven for 2.5-3 hours or until the beef is very tender.
- When the ragu is almost ready, cook the gnocchi according to package instructions.
- Discard the parmesan rind, bay leaves and rosemary sprigs. Remove the short ribs, shred and return to the pot. If the ragu isn't thick enough, you can simmer it on the stove for 10 minutes or so.
- Serve with gnocchi and a sprinkling of parmesan.
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