Ragu is a blanket term for a variety of Italian meat-based sauces, the most famous being bolognese. Ragu can also refer to the Neapolitan variety which differs from bolognese in that it uses larger chunks of meat, lacks any dairy, and makes heavy use of tomatoes. While developing this guide we took a “best of both worlds” approach and combined elements of bolognese and traditional Neapolitan Ragu. The resulting sauce is packed full of fall-apart short ribs that have been slow-cooked to perfection, a traditional bolognese base of onions, carrots, and celery, and a rich puckering tomato sauce. Trust us, one bowl won’t be enough! Follow this simple guide to make perfectly cooked slow cooker short rib ragu every time.
Ingredients and Tools
- 2 lbs short rib
- 1/2 lbs pancetta or bacon, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 (14.5) oz cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/2 tsp thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 8 pappardelle nests
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Shredded parmesan
- Suvie or a slow cooker
- Skillet, preferably cast iron (Optional)
- Large pot
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Cook the pancetta (or bacon) until crisp and the fat has begun to render. Remove from the pan.
Remove most of the oil from pan, leaving behind about 1 tbsp. Place the short ribs into the pan and sear each side, about 30-60 seconds per side. Remove from heat.*
*Note: The above step is optional. If you’re short on time you can simply add the short ribs and pancetta to the pot or pans without searing.
Chop the onions, celery, and carrots and crush the garlic.
Add all the ingredients (garnish excluded) to the protein pan (divide between two pans if necessary) season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Place the pan in the upper right cooking zone. Place the pappardelle nests in the starch pan and season with 1 tbsp salt. Put the starch pan in the lower right cooking zone. Fill the reservoir with water and enter the Slow Cook settings into your Suvie. Set to cook now or schedule.
Slow Cook Settings
Protein: LOW, 6 hours
Starch: 0 minutes
After the cook, remove the pan or pans.
Slow Cooker Instructions
Add the short ribs and pancetta to the slow cooker pot followed by the onions, carrots, and celery.
Add the garlic, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, wine, beef stock, and thyme.
Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Place the lid on the pot and Cook:
Low for 8 hours
High for 6 hours
In the last 30 minutes of cook time, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the parpadelle nests and cook until al dente. Remove from heat and drain.
Remove the short ribs from the pot or pans and shred into small pieces using two forks. Discard the bones and remove any large pieces of fat.
Add the shredded short rib back into the pot or pans.
Place the parpadelle into bowls and top with ragu.
Garnish with parmesan.
Recipes to try
Short Rib Ragu
Short Rib Mac and Cheese
Beer-Braised Short Ribs
Soy Braised Short Ribs
Garlic-Braised Short Ribs with Cauliflower Puree
Short Rib Sandwiches with Cheddar and Braised Onions
Should I use bone-in or boneless short ribs?
Either will work just fine.
Can I skip the pre-sear?
You can, however the pre-sear step adds an added layer of flavor to the dish.