One of the many things I love about spending time in Atlanta with Emily and Matthew, aside from the obvious is our shared love of food. They have a passion for great cuisine, always exploring the new and diverse world of food in Atlanta and are frequently diving into new recipes. Emily recently made this dish for us over the holiday season. We all ate like we hadn’t seen food for days.
Short ribs are one of those great cuts of meat, for years ignored except for those of us who grew up in the beef industry. My Grandmother and my Mom cooked every cut of the beef. And that can be interesting as a young child but it was our normal. This is a cut of beef that benefits from a long, slow braise and as the meat cooks it melts down into succulent goodness.
A ragù is simply an Italian sauce served over pasta, one that includes meat and vegetables. In this case the meat in the sauce comes from the short ribs. Layers of flavor are built into the dish starting with the fond – those wonderful brown bits created from sautéing the ribs before braising to the bouquet of vegetables and herbs all steeped in port and wine. Slow cooked for hours until the meat can be gently pulled from the bone, tossed back into the rich ragù then tossed over tender pappardelle.
It is a labor of love and worth every minute of time it takes to prepare!
Short Rib Ragù with Pappardelle Pasta
5-6 pounds short ribs
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
1 large shallot, chopped, about ½ cup
4 celery stalks, chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup port*
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups red wine
4 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed to break up the rosemary leaves
1-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 pound pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
Fresh parsley, chopped and grated Parmesan cheese for serving
About 30-45 minutes before you start cooking, generously season the short ribs with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, covering all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let the ribs sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes but no more than one hour.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Sear the ribs in the hot oil until each side is golden in color. Cook about 4- 5 ribs at a time making sure to not crowd them otherwise they’ll steam and you won’t get that first layer of flavor. Transfer to a separate platter and continue cooking until all the ribs are cooked.
In the same pan, add the carrots, the onion, shallots and celery. Season the vegetables with the ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables blending in until the flour is smooth. Cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring to prevent the flour from sticking. Add the port* and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom well and mixing into the vegetables. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the flour has cooked and the mixture has thickened slightly.
Add the tomato paste, the wine, beef stock, the garlic, bay leaves, crushed rosemary, thyme and parsley.
Place the short ribs back into the stockpot nestling into the sauce. Toss in the cherry tomatoes.
Cover and cook in a 325-degree oven for three hours or until the meat is very tender and pulls easily off the bone.
Remove the short ribs from the stock until they’re cool enough to handle. While the meat cools, skim any fat that has accumulated off the top of the sauce. Once you can easily handle the short ribs, pull the meat off the bone. Return the meat to the sauce and cook over low until the sauce thickens and the meat is heated through.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle until it is just tender – for fresh pasta about 2-3 minutes, for dried pasta about 7-9 minutes. Drain but do not rinse. Ladle part of the sauce over the pasta, tossing to coat it well. Serve with extra sauce and garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
*If you don’t have port on hand, use an extra ½ of red wine for deglazing.