Mushroom and Short Rib Ragu

short rib ragu on a white plate.

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5 from 6 reviews

Mushroom and short ribs slowly simmer for a rich ragu sauce that is topped with a bit of dark chocolate. Pair with a full-bodied Italian red wine.


  • 1 onion, chopped, and divided into 2 equal portions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 ozs baby bella mushrooms or other mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup red wine, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lbs beef short ribs, bone in
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers (optional)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram or oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth, low sodium
  • 1 lb rigatoni or other substantial pasta shape
  • 2 ozs dark chocolate, shaved into small pieces
  • Parmigiano cheese for passing at the table.


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot on medium heat. Add half of the chopped onion, and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pot, stir to combine with the onions. Cook until the mushrooms begin to sweat, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of the wine to the pot, and cook until it is mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Remove the mushroom mixture from the pot, and set aside in a bowl for adding back later.
  4. Add the olive oil to the pot, heat on medium high. Add the short ribs to the pot, along with salt and pepper to taste. Brown each side of the short ribs, turning occasionally. The short ribs take about 10 minutes to brown.
  5. As the short ribs are browning, place the remaining half onion, carrot, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, rosemary and ketchup in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well chopped to a purée consistency. Add this vegetable mixture to the pot with the browned short ribs.
  6. Add the beef broth to the pot, along with the marjoram, bay leaf and remaining 1/4 of wine. Stir in the mushroom mixture set aside earlier. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid after the first 75 minutes of simmering. Continue to simmer the ribs, uncovered for another hour and half, stirring occasionally. The short ribs simmer for a total of 2 hours 45 minutes.
  8. Begin cooking the pasta according to package instructions when the short ribs reach the end of the simmering time.
  9. Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot, letting excess sauce drip back into the pot. Place the ribs on a platter. Let the short ribs cool for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile keep the sauce simmering, uncovered, on medium low.
  10. Slide the meat off the bone, and set the bones aside. Using two forks, pull the meat apart to make bit size pieces. You are likely to be able to do a portion of the meat by hand, but will need to finish with a food processor. Place the short rib meat you have broken up by hand back into the pot. With the remaining meat, use a knife to cut off any large pieces of fat. Meat and fat mixed together is fine to use. Place the remaining meat and bits of fat in a food processor. Pulse to break the meat into small pieces. Move the meat from the food process back to the sauce pot.
  11. Stir the shredded short rib meat to incorporate into the sauce. Simmer on medium low while the pasta finishes cooking.
  12. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta when it is ready. Add about 3/4 of the sauce into the pasta, and stir to combine. Scoop additional sauce into the pasta if desired. Reserve any extra sauce for another use.
  13. Sprinkle the shredded chocolate over the pasta and let it melt in. Scoop the mushroom and short rib ragu onto plates, and enjoy with a good Italian red wine.


  • “Baby bella” mushrooms are baby portobellos
  • This recipe generated a bit more sauce than we needed for one pound of pasta. Add the sauce to the pasta gradually, any extra sauce can be frozen for later use. Or, you could cook more like 1 1/4 pound of pasta.
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