Mezze Rigatoni With Short Rib Ragu

A ragu is a slow cooked meat based sauce, and there as many variations as there are regions in Italy. I have posted a couple of versions of Ragu alla Bolognese in the past, but strangely enough I have never featured a Southern Italian ragu. This is especially perplexing, considering I am Sicilian, and grew up having this type of meal on Sundays.Ragus from the south are usually made by cooking large pieces of beef and/or pork in sauce for hours until tender. Then the sauce is spooned over pasta for the primo or first course in a meal, and the meat is served separately as the main course.You can put beef and pork ribs, sausage and even meatballs in, but I decide to keep mine simple and just make a nice beef short rib ragu, with some diced pancetta thrown in to add a little pork flavor.

Finally, while I said the meat is usually served as a separate course, you can also opt to pull it off the bone, shred it up and mix it back in with the sauce, if you are just looking to make pasta with a hearty sauce. Enjoy!

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Mezze Rigatoni With Short Rib Ragu

Short Rib Ragu Recipe

  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 1 stalk celerey, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 4 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 35-ounce cans imported Italian peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 leaves of basil, chopped
  • 1 pound mezze rigatoni
  • freshly ground ricotta salata cheese for serving


  1. In a large deep sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the short ribs and pancetta and brown the ribs on all sides.
  3. Crush the tomatoes with your hands, and add to the pot. Then add the beef broth, season with salt and pepper to taste, and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 2-1/2 hours. Add the chopped basil in for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  4. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil, add the mezze rigatoni and cook until al dente. Toss the pasta with some of the sauce, sprinkle with grated ricotta salata cheese and serve as first course. Transfer the ribs from the sauce to a serving platter and serve as the second course.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours

8 Responses

  1. I have an iphone and tried the app. But it has the same BIG proelbms that the online system has. Mainly, everything stays on there even if it’s one time use and you use it. No way to know what prices/coupons are still unused. Ugh. And it has the added problem that once you add something to your list it remains greyed out on the Savings tab, even if it has a higher limit.

  2. Great plate! Had to make the following changes:
    1. Add a cup of red wine when the tomatoes are thrown in.
    2. Pick the meat off the bones and separate the cartilage then throw the meat back in after the second hour.
    3. The ricotta doesn’t have to be grated. It can be scooped on when serving it up!
    4. I added 1 tablespoon oregano the same time I added an entire large sprig of fresh basil (last 10 minutes).
    5. For the love of gawd and all things holy, serve up a big red with this!

  3. I’ve been making this recipe for years since i first stumbled across it on your site. It’s amazing as is, the only change i have made over time is adding portobello mushrooms. I’m going to try the Beef Braciole recipe next.

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