Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream Sauce
Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream Sauce combines my ideal winter Saturday—staying home to cook comfort food—with my ideal way to celebrate my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Ground Hog Day, or any other day I can passably justify as a special occasion: letting someone else cook.
On Friday (Valentine’s Day), the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner, yet at 9 a.m. the next morning, I hit the kitchen and proceeded to cook and bake for 5 straight hours. I adored every minute.
Plus, occupying myself with a boozy chocolate pie, fairy-light cookies, and other yumminess (all coming soon!) meant that I was far too busy and important for silly things like preparing my taxes. Boozy pie or taxes? I think you know the right answer.
I adore cooking because I find relaxation, rejuvenation, and creativity in my tiny, cherished kitchen. I adore eating out because I experience new flavors, techniques, and hello—a hot, tasty meal is set before me, no dishes required? As much as I enjoy my time in the kitchen, I highly appreciate the culinary work of others, and I try to choose restaurant dishes I wouldn’t ordinarily make at home.
Then, Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream happened and threw off my entire restaurant-psyche. After tasting a dreamy, truly unique pasta dish at a neighborhood Italian restaurant, I became obsessed with recreating it myself.
It was actually Ben who ordered the pasta, but I probably would have eaten 80% of it if he hadn’t threatened to place my fork somewhere rather unflattering if I didn’t stop. The dish was a rich sauce of Chianti-braised beef short ribs over ravioli filled with horseradish mascarpone, dusted with an orange gremolata. If an Italian menu were an art collection, this short rib pasta would be the Mona Lisa. It was a masterpiece.
Like any masterpiece—the Mona Lisa, a symphony a banana split—the collective sum the short rib dish was more important and satisfying than the individual elements. Sure, the ravioli was creamy and decadent, the sauce rich and complex, and the gremolata refreshing, but the combined taste of all three was what captivated me. I became so obsessed with this restaurant’s short rib pasta, I placed my first ever order with a butcher (short rib tip: call ahead), picked up two bottles of Chianti (one for the pasta, one for “inspiration”), and then retreated to my kitchen to create my own version of this heavenly beef short rib dish at home. Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream is the result.
No dish cooked for hours in red wine can be bad, but Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream is magnificent. Inspired by the restaurant, I braised the short ribs in Chianti, fresh herbs, and warm spices until they fell off the bone, then used the braising liquid to create a robust, soul-satisfying sauce to pour over the pasta.
In place of the restaurant’s horseradish mascarpone ravioli I chose long, wide ribbons of pappardelle, then topped them with a Greek yogurt horseradish cream sauce. As much as I’d love to be the girl who whips up her own homemade mascarpone ravioli with one hand, while holding a glass of wine in the other, I’m more the girl who tries not to burn what’s on the stove with one hand, while holding a glass of wine in the other. Honestly, I didn’t miss the ravioli. The tender braised short ribs cling to the pappardelle so beautifully, and the creamy horseradish sauce created the luscious texture and flavor-poppin’ effect I was seeking.
Plus, I just love pappardelle noodles. I find them utterly comforting and wonderful in every way. While I stick almost exclusively to whole grain pastas at home, pappardelle is my exception. Its texture and twirl are worth it.
The final layer of flavor to our Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream is the orange gremolata. Gremolata is an Italian condiment/garnish most classically comprised of parsley, garlic, and lemon, and its effect is not to be underestimated. I tried a few bites of short rib pasta with it and a few without, and the difference is unmistakable. The gremolata adds a layer of brightness and balance that is more than outweighs the two extra minutes of chopping it requires.
If you haven’t cooked with beef short ribs previously, they are one of the most affordable cuts of meat you can purchase (similar in pricing to stew meat). They are tough immediately out of the case; however, the two-step combo of stovetop browning + hours hanging out in the oven with an entire bottle of red wine transforms them into a succulent, falling-off-the-bone-tender meat. Though they are not the leanest cut, I love them for a special treat, and they are far kinder to our budget than picking up a pair of steaks.
Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream is my restaurant-obsession, turned home-cooking obsession. It’s so fantastic, I say we skip going out for the next special occasion and stay home to make it instead.
Oh hey, it’s President’s Day! Sounds like a special occasion to me. Let’s celebrate with big plates of Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream, shall we?
Kudos to comforting pastas: