Beef Short Rib Ragu + Bucatini

Beef Short Rib Ragu + Bucatini

This recipe marks my first time cooking with beef short ribs.  I made a similar ragu last year, but I used stew meat instead. Ragu literally just means a meat sauce that is served with pasta.  That leaves it pretty open to interpretation.

I decided to make this Beef Short Rib Ragu after I ended up with 5 boxes of De Cecco Bucatini after my last girls’ wine night.  I had to order the bucatini online because I couldn’t find it in the grocery store here.  If you haven’t tried it, it’s basically spaghetti that is hollow inside.  It has a texture unlike any other pasta I’ve ever tried– it’s chewy on the outer layer with a good bite on the inside.  It may be my second favorite pasta shape (after rigatoni).  I started looking around to see what other types of sauces go well with bucatini.  The most common ones I found were all’amatriciana (which I love, but I wanted something new, and I just made Linguine All’Amatriciana recently).  Then there’s carbonara (which I make from time to time, but it’s just so fattening!).  And finally, ragu. 14956379_375995076072468_786858947885382994_n

I chose the ragu because it feels different and fun, and because I’ve been in the mood for beef lately.  I rarely serve beef because of the cost, and short ribs are pricier for me, but what the hell?!  I can’t live on chicken thighs all the time.  Sometimes a splurge is a good thing (not to mention we just paid off our last credit card, so I’m feeling pretty smug and rich right now). 

So I didn’t really get this recipe from anywhere, but I was more “inspired” by a few other interpretations I found online.  The recipe on How Sweet Eats was the main inspiration (if you love food, you’ll love her website), but I kinda just looked at the general idea and ran with it.

This recipe takes all day, and it may be best left to a weekend because it does make a big mess in the kitchen.  Now that I think about it, I guess you could prep this all the night before, set it all in the slow cooker, and place the slow cooker in the fridge.  Then early in the morning, pull it out, turn it on, and let it cook all day.  That would actually be perfect if you were craving this on a weeknight.  Let’s just say it’s not a spur-of-the-moment meal.

Total Time:  10 hours

Difficulty Level:  Intermediate

Serves:  6-8


4 to 4 ½ pounds of beef short ribs, at room temperature

Salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions (or one large), small diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

the unusual shape of Bucatini

16 oz (2 cups) red wine

1- 6 ounce can of tomato paste

1 pound of white mushrooms, sliced thinly

2- 14.5 ounce cans of Italian stewed tomatoes

1- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

8 sprigs of whole fresh thyme

3 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary, minced

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound of dried bucatini pasta

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven.
  2. Season each side of the short ribs generously with salt and pepper.
  3. In 2 batches, brown the short ribs on all sides until a light crust has formed.
  4. Remove the short ribs, and set inside a 6 quart slow cooker.
  5. Add a little more olive oil to the Dutch oven if needed. Add the chopped onion, and sauté over medium until softened.
  6. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the red wine.
  8. Whisk in the tomato paste, and cook for 5 minutes until liquid has reduced a little and the sauce has thickened.
  9. Add the reduced onion and wine mixture on top of the beef in the slow cooker.
  10. Top with the mushrooms, canned stewed tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes.
  11. Add thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, and cinnamon.
  12. Cover and cook on high for 7 hours.
  13. Pull beef ribs out and shred. Remove the bones.
  14. Cook for another hour.
  15. Before serving, cook bucatini according to package instruction. Toss sauce with pasta.  Serve with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper (if you like it spicy).


  1. Yum! Initially, I thought the picture was short rib ragu over fries! Ha! That would be amazing too but I guess bucatini makes a little more sense 😉

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