I’m all about winter comfort food. I especially love Sunday dinners that I can put in the oven early in the morning, and cook low and slow all day long, flavors magically blending into a rich savory sauce. I suppose I could do this during the week as well, but I live in fear of burning the house down while I’m at work or otherwise out and about. I should note my family has an aversion to anything that comes out of a crock pot. So, fabulous slow cooked wonders are reserved for weekend dinners.
I would like to present to you the last – and quite possibly the best – comfort dish of the winter months from the kitchen of House Morell. Because after snow and ice and sleet and more snow, I have to believe spring has finally arrived in DC.
One of my foodiest friends, who is posted overseas at the moment, arrived in DC this weekend, so I needed a dish to impress. We spend a lot of time exchanging Emails about our latest cookbook crushes. Hers: Extra Virgin and Olives, Lemon, & Za'atar. Mine: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. But as it turns out, this recipe was inspired by the Crock Pot Sunday Sauce from one of my favorite blogs, Half Baked Harvest. I adjusted it to be cooked in an oven (let me repeat: We live in a crock-pot-free zone), and tinkered with the spices and flavorings to make it my own. This is a sauce with serious rich meaty heft, complemented by a tangy sweetness lent by the onions, tomatoes, and marsala wine.
My husband said: “I don’t know what you call this stuff, but it is the best I’ve ever had.”
It’s ragu, babe. And agreed, it was insanely good. It was indeed a dish that impressed.
Beef Short Rib Ragu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 pounds bone in short ribs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ marsala wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- One 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 sweet onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, skin removed and crushed
- 4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less, to your taste)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 lb pappardelle, cooked according to package directions, for serving
- parmesan cheese, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Heat a large dutch over medium high-heat and add the olive oil and butter. Generously sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper, and place in the dutch oven in two batches. Sear the ribs on all sides for about 3 minutes per side. Remove the ribs and set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, and add the onions, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the beef broth, marsala wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, basil, parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the short ribs back to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stove, than transfer to the oven. Cook for about 6 hours to 7 hours. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, and remove the short ribs from the sauce with a pair of tongs. The meat should be falling off of the bone. Cool of a few minutes. Remove and discard all the bones, then shred the short ribs with your hands or two forks. Throw away any large pieces of fat. My short ribs were on the fatty side, so I also skimmed a bit of excess fat from the top of the sauce. Return the meat to the sauce with the 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer on the stove.
- If the sauce seems too thin allow it to cook with the lid off while you boil your pasta, if the sauce seems just right, keep it covered.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta well.
- Serve the warm sauce over a hot a bed of pappardelle, and sprinkle with the extra parmesan cheese.