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?
Braised Short Rib Pasta with Horseradish Cream Sauce
For the Horseradish Cream:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons creamy horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Short Ribs:
- 6 bone-in short ribs (approximately 4 pounds—buy by weight, not size)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic smashed
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bottle Chianti or other dry red wine (750 mL) such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- 3 cups reduced sodium beef stock
- 3 all spice berries
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 springs fresh rosemary
- 2 springs fresh sage
- 8 ounces pappardelle pasta
For the Gremolata:
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
- 6 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Prepare the horseradish cream: Combine Greek yogurt, horseradish, Dijon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
- Pat the short ribs dry, then rub all sides with thyme and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Place in a shallow baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, remove short ribs from refrigerator to allow to come to room temperature. Place rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325?F.
- Generously season the ribs on all sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Heat the olive oil in a high-sided, ovenproof sauté pan or Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat. (Choose a pan with a lid that is large enough to hold all of the vegetables and short ribs.) Let the oil become very hot so that it is almost smoking. Working in batches, add the ribs and cook, turning as needed, for about 3 minutes per side, or until very well browned on all sides. Be careful of oil splatters and do not crowd the pan. Transfer the short ribs to a plate. Pour all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pot.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the carrots, celery, and onions to the pan and cook stirring occasionally for 3 or 4 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by one-third. With a wooden spoon, scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, return to a boil, then add the ribs. Wrap the all spice, cloves, rosemary, and sage in a cheesecloth and tie to create an herb bundle (optional but will make easier to remove later.) Add to pot. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, then put on the pan’s lid. Place in oven and bake 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender and easily gives when poked with a paring knife. Let cool. (At this point, you can refrigerate the entire pot overnight. The next day, the fat will have solidified at the top and remove easily.) Remove herb bundle. Transfer the ribs to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Let rest at least 10 minutes. Tip the pan to skim away the fat from the top of the vegetables. (If you refrigerated overnight, remove the fat from the top, transfer the short ribs to a plate, then continue.)
- Scoop the vegetables and a few ladles of the sauce to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. (Alternatively, you can place an immersion blender directly into the pot and puree.) Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Return the puree to the pot with the liquid. Once the short ribs have rested 10 minutes, pull the short rib meat from the bones, then cut or pull them into bite-sized pieces. Add meat to the pot Cook over low heat until hot, about 20 minutes..
- Prepare the gremolata: Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on a flat surface. Spread the orange zest, garlic, and parsley out on the parchment paper and let air dry while you finish the ribs. When ready to serve, stir together in a small bowl.
- Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain then add immediately to the pot with the short ribs and stir gently to combine.
- Transfer short rib pappardelle to serving bowls. Top with horseradish cream and gremolata. Serve immediately.
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Kudos to comforting pastas: