This Short Rib Rigatoni recipe with braised beef short rib ragu is the ultimate comfort food, offering a restaurant-style pasta dish that is hearty and satisfying you can easily make in a dutch oven at home.
Short Rib Rigatoni is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s hearty, filling, and downright delicious.
In this short rib recipe, we’ll show you how to create a restaurant-style ragu that will leave you wanting more. This beef short rib dutch oven dish is a family favorite!
What is Ragu Sauce?
A short rib ragu is a rich and flavorful sauce made by braising short ribs in a cast iron dutch oven. This technique produces tender, fall-off-the-bone meat that melts in your mouth.
This sauce pairs perfectly with rigatoni – a hearty, tube-shaped pasta that holds up well to the bold flavors of the short rib ragu recipe.
Restaurant Style Braised Short Rib Ragu
Short rib rigatoni with beef short rib ragu is one of our favorite comfort food dishes.
It’s packed with flavor and always hits the spot, especially on cold winter days when you need a little extra warmth and nourishment.
This restaurant-style rigatoni is made with a braised short rib ragu – a rich, slow-cooked sauce made with short ribs, herbs, and spices.
This recipe is simple to make and requires minimal ingredients, so it’s the perfect dish for beginner home cooks who want to create a restaurant-style meal right in their own kitchen.
So if you’re ready to treat yourself to some rich, restaurant-style rigatoni goodness, look no further than this recipe. Let’s make some!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Bone in beef short ribs – I suggest using ribs with good marbling and removing any excess fat to avoid greasiness.
- Olive oil – I suggest using good quality oil for flavor and cooking the meat.
- Herbs – Fresh thyme, sage, and parsley add a lot of flavor to the beef and sauce. You can also use fresh parsley for garnish if desired.
- Salt and pepper – Used for seasoning the beef and bringing out its full flavor.
- Vegetables – Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic add a depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Bay leaves – This adds a subtle earthy flavor to the sauce.
- Liquid – We used dry red wine and beef broth for this recipe. As the wine adds complexity of flavor and beef broth gives more beefy flavor. However, if you don’t have dry red wine, you can just use beef broth for this recipe.
- San Marzano tomatoes and tomato paste – This boosts the overall flavor of the pasta sauce.
- Rigatoni pasta – I prefer using Barilla rigatoni but pappardelle, gnocchi, or caratelli pasta work well too.
- Parmesan cheese– Adds a nutty and salty flavor to the dish.
- Dutch oven – for braising the beef short ribs
- Foil – to cover the short ribs
- Saucepan or stock pot – to cook the pasta
How to Cook Short Rib Rigatoni in Dutch Oven
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Set it aside. Tie the fresh herbs together to make a bouquet garni, then set it aside.
Making the Short Rib Ragu Recipe on Stovetop
Add olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef short ribs with crowding and brown them on all sides.
After the ribs have been browned, place them on a plate and cover them with foil to keep them warm.
Reduce the heat to low medium. Add vegetables, onions, and bay leaves.
Saute until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have softened for about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and wine. Let the mixture simmer until it is reduced by half.
Add the short ribs, beef broth, tomatoes, and bouquet garni to the dutch oven then stir to combine.
Braise the Short Ribs
Cover the pot and cook the short ribs at 325°F for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The meat should be so tender that it falls off the bone when you poke it with a fork.
Prepare the Rigatoni Pasta
In a large saucepan, add water and boil it. Add two teaspoons salt to the boiling water. Cook pasta to al dente or according to the directions on the pasta’s package. Drain the rigatoni when it is done cooking.
To serve: cover the rigatoni with braised beef short rib ragu sauce. Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese and top with chopped parsley.
- Use different pasta shapes – rigatoni is great, but you can also try pappardelle, gnocchi, or cavatelli pasta.
- You can also use different cuts of meat to change up the flavor profile of this dish. For example, try with a bone-in cut or one that has been cured.
- Add other ingredients to the sauce, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, or zucchini.
- If you don’t have a Dutch oven available, you can use a slow cooker to braise the ribs instead. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for about eight hours.
- You can switch up the beef ragu for a slightly different flavor profile by using short ribs marinated in soy sauce or other Asian seasonings.
How to Serve Short Rib Rigatoni
Fridge: Store short rib rigatoni in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Freezer: You can also freeze this for longer storage before or after cooking. Let it cool completely, then store it in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheat: Simply place them in the oven or microwave and heat them until it is warmed through. You can also add a bit of additional broth or sauce to help keep the pasta from drying out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I give ragù more flavor?
There are a few different ways to give your ragù more flavor. One option is to use meat seasoned with herbs, spices, or other seasonings before cooking.
You can add additional ingredients such as mushrooms, bell peppers, or sautéed onions and garlic to the ragù while cooking.
Additionally, you can finish the ragù with a splash of wine or broth to add extra richness and depth of flavor.
Why do you soak short ribs in water?
There are a few reasons you might choose to soak short ribs in water before cooking them.
First, soaking them can help remove excess fat and grime from the meat, which helps ensure that your braised short rib ragu is extra tender and flavorful.
Soaking them also makes them easier to cut, which can help minimize the prep work you need before cooking.
Additionally, soaking in water can also help soften the meat and make it more pliable, especially if you are planning on braising them for a long period of time.
Does cooking short ribs longer make them more tender?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as tenderness can vary depending on several different factors.
Generally speaking, cooking short ribs for longer periods of time may be more likely to make them fall off-the-bone tender, especially if you are braising or simmering them in liquid.
However, they can also be very tender even when cooked relatively short.
The key is to cook them at a low temperature for as long as necessary, which may vary depending on the cut and thickness of your short ribs.
Ultimately, it is best to test the doneness of your short ribs periodically while cooking and adjust your cooking time accordingly to achieve the desired level of tenderness.
Should short ribs be covered or uncovered?
Short ribs should be cooked with some form of cover or lid to help retain moisture and prevent them from drying out.
However, you may also want to add liquid, such as broth or wine, to help add additional flavor and richness.
Short Rib Rigatoni
- Dutch oven or heavy-lidded pot - for braising the short ribs
- foil - to cover the short ribs
- 4 quart saucepan or stock pot - to cook the pasta
- 4 pounds bone in beef short ribs trimmed of fat
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-5 stems fresh thyme
- 3-5 stems sage
- 3-5 stems parsley
- salt and pepper
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine or beef broth
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 can (26 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 pound (16 ounces) rigatoni pasta (or pappardelle, gnocchi, or cavatelli pasta)
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shaved
- fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Season the meat with salt and pepper, set aside. Tie the fresh herbs together with kitchen twine to make a bouquet garni, and set aside.
- Add olive oil to Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Without crowding, brown the beef short ribs on all sides. When browned, place the short ribs on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Turn the heat on the pot down to low-medium. Add vegetables, onions, and bay leaves and saute until the onions are translucent and vegetables soften about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and wine and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. Add beef broth, tomatoes, bouquet garni, and short ribs to the Dutch oven.
Braise the short ribs
- Cover the pot and cook at 325°F for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The short rib meat should be fork tender, it may have fallen from the bone.
Prepare the Rigatoni pasta
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and add two teaspoons of salt to season the water. Cook pasta according to your pasta's package directions. Drain rigatoni.
- To serve: cover the pasta with beef ragu sauce. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and top with chopped parsley.