short rib ragu

Beef Short Rib Ragu

This sauce is a game changer: it’s so easy to make, yet it’s so impressive, your friends will think you’ve seriously upped your cooking game when they eat it. Serve over wide pasta ribbons or creamy mashed potatoes or polenta. The ragù takes a few hours to cook, but once everything’s in the pot, you can pretty much leave it alone. I also like this recipe made up as written but cooked down a bit or strained to remove most of the juices and stuffed into cannelloni shells. I will then serve it with burnt sage butter or a tomato sauce .
Servings: 8


  • 4 lbs bone in beef short ribs River Cottage Farm of course!
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 oz prosciutto optional but great don't skip this if recipe if you don't have any on hand
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs Tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Dry red wine
  • 3.5 cups beef broth or as needed


  • Trim the short ribs of excess fat. Thoroughly pat the meat dry with paper towels. Cut Prosciutto into thin strips (if using)
  • In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the prosciutto and sauté until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto to a large platter.
  • Working in batches, add the short ribs to the pot and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes per batch. Transfer the beef and its juices to the platter.
  • Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pot and stir in the onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cumin. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, lightly colored and aromatic, about 10 minutes. Return the short ribs and prosciutto to the pot, add the 1 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper and stir well. Stir in the tomato paste, wine and enough broth to just cover the meat. Cover the pot partially with a lid, reduce the heat to low and braise, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 3 hours
  • Remove the pot from the heat, and remove and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Carefully pour the contents of the pan through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Transfer the short ribs to a cutting board. Using your hands or 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the pot. Let the sauce stand for a few minutes. Using a large spoon, skim the fat off the surface. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat in the pan and rewarm over medium-low heat before serving. Serves 6 to 8.


Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cook Good Food (Weldon Owen, 2014).