Red Wine Braised Short Ribs 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.
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, this recipe 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.
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.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
- 5 pounds meaty bone-in short ribs 1 1/2 inches or thicker
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 6 medium carrots chopped (about 3 cups)
- 4 ribs celery chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine such as Chianti, cabernet sauvignon, or Cotes de Rhone
- 4 cups beef stock or chicken stock plus more as needed
- 1 can (14-ounce) fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 6 springs fresh thyme tied into a bundle with kitchen string
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- mashed potatoes, cooked papardelle or similar pasta, roasted potatoes, or creamy polenta
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the short ribs dry, then season generously all over with 5 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy-bottomed, oven-safe pot with a cover (I used a 5.5-quart Dutch oven) over medium-high heat (you don’t need to add any oil). Add about half of the short ribs in a single layer, making sure they are not touching one another (if the pan is too crowded, they won’t brown properly). Sear on all sides until they are deeply browned, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer the short ribs to a large baking dish that can catch any juices. Repeat with remaining short ribs.
- Carefully discard all but about 2 tablespoons fat from the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery, onion, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring every so often, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
- Scoot the vegetables to one side to create an open space in the pan. Add the tomato paste and stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then stir the paste into the vegetables to combine. Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Add the wine (be careful as it will splatter), and using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, scrape up any browned bits that have collected on the pan. Bring the wine to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer until the wine is reduced by approximately half, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the stock, tomatoes, Worcestershire, Dijon, thyme bundle, and oregano.
- Nestle the short ribs into the pot, along with any cooking liquid that has collected in the pot.
- Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil. Cover the pot then transfer to the oven.
- Bake the short ribs in the oven, covered, for 1 hour.
- Remove the lid, then continue baking, uncovered, for 1 hour more, until the meat is fall-apart tender.
- With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the short ribs to a large plate. Check the pot for any bones that have separated from the meat and discard. Fish out and discard the thyme bundle.
- Return the pot to the stove and bring the liquid to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
- With a large spoon, skim off some of the fat from the sauce (you won't be able to get it all; just spoon off what you can). Return the short ribs to the sauce and heat to warm through for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot with mashed potatoes or oven roasted potatoes, papardelle, or cooked polenta.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm short ribs in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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