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Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 7 hours


12 servings

Updated: Dec. 10, 2022
An irresistible sauce gives the beef in this short rib ragu another dimension of flavor. Nearly any starchy side, such as potatoes or polenta, will work in place of the pasta. Short ribs are my crowd-pleaser weekend meal for all occasions. —Missy Raho, Morristown, New Jersey


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 pound pappardelle
  • Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved, optional


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown meat in batches. Transfer meat to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Add mushrooms, onion, carrots and bay leaves.
  2. In the same skillet, add tomato paste, wine, garlic and seasonings. Cook and stir over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darkened, 2-4 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes until blended. Transfer mixture to slow cooker; cover. Cook on low until beef is tender, 7-9 hours. Discard bay leaves.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Serve ragu over pasta. If desired, serve with Parmesan cheese.
Short Rib Ragu Tips

Can you use other kinds of meat instead of short ribs to make ragu?

Although beef short ribs are very flavorful, you don’t have to stick to this cut. You can use brisket or even a chuck roast if you like. You also don’t have to stick with beef. There are numerous kinds of ragu that use pork, duck, lamb and even poultry.

Do you have to brown the short ribs when making ragu?

You brown meat for a couple reasons. The first reason is to achieve something called the Maillard reaction. This is the brown fond you find in your skillet when browning beef on the stovetop. The process of browning causes the proteins and sugars in your food to caramelize, creating hundreds of flavor compounds and lending more layers of flavor to your food. The second reason is the color. Browning the meat first gives your ragu a deep color.

What kind of red wine should you use to make short rib ragu?

When it comes to red wine, there are lots of choices. And if you don’t drink red wine often, these choices can be very confusing. For ragu, you’ll want to stick with something on the dry side that doesn’t have a lot of tannins. A nice cabernet sauvignon, merlot or red blend are our go-to wines. If you don’t drink wine often and are worried about wasting the unused wine, box wines are a great alternative. You can pour out just what you need, and the rest will stay sealed and fresh in your pantry until the next time you need some.

How should you store leftovers of short rib ragu?

After the ragu is cooled to room temperature, package it up in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also freeze for up to 6 months. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Culinary Editor

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup ragu over 3/4 cup pasta: 302 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated fat), 31mg cholesterol, 328mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 4g fiber), 18g protein.

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