Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs Pasta Sauce

This is one of those slow-cooked Sunday sauces that you can prepare in several ways. I’ve always used my slow cooker in the past. This past week I was craving this sauce, and we are in Florida at our condo without a slow cooker. I decided to use my cast iron Dutch oven and prepare the sauce stove top, and it turned out great.

Short ribs need to be cooked low and slow, so no matter how you do it, you’ll end up with a delicious, tender meat sauce if you follow those principles. I’ve adapted the recipe to include instructions for the stovetop and the slow cooker, depending on how you want to prepare it.

This is an excellent dish for busy families because you can take a few minutes in the morning to get it started, then you just leave it on all day, slowly simmering and creating its magic. At dinner time, just pull the meat off the bones (most will have already fallen off!), cook your pasta, and serve.

You can serve this sauce on just about any pasta type, whether it is a fresh fettuccine or dried rigatoni. I like to pass some grated Pecorino Romano cheese when serving my pasta topped with this sauce.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Easy Slow Cooked Beef Short RIbs Pasta Sauce

Easy Slow Cooked Beef Short RIbs Pasta Sauce

Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 35 minutes

A meaty tomato ragu prepared in the slow cooker or stove top that works with any type of pasta.


  • 3 Pounds Beef Short Ribs
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive OIl
  • 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Diced Small
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled, Trimmed & Diced Small
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
  • 1 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 1 (28 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/8 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Pound Pasta of Choice

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley


  1. If cooking in a slow cooker, in a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown the ribs well on all sides.
  2. Place the ribs in your slow cooker, and add the onions and carrots to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they take on color.
  3. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the red wine to the skillet, and stir well, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Pour the wine and carrots over the ribs, then also add the tomatoes, paste, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  6. Turn your slow cooker on low for 6 hours. (If the sauce begins to thicken too much, add a cup of water)
  7. After 6 hours, use a fork to pull the meat off the bones of the ribs, break the meat up into small pieces, and discard the bones.
  8. If cooking on the stovetop, use a Dutch oven instead of the skillet.
  9. Brown the ribs, set aside and brown the vegetables.
  10. Return the ribs to the pot, add the other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat begins to fall off the bones.
  12. Remove the meat from the bones and stir into the sauce.
  13. Cook the pasta until it is "al dente", then drain.
  14. Add a scoop of sauce to the pasta and mix.
  15. Serve the pasta in individual bowls topped with additional sauce and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
  16. Pass the cheese around the table.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 711Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 174mgSodium: 230mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 49g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I made this in my slow cooker. I was disappointed when it was finished, the sauce was greasy and thin although it smelled good. Did I do something wrong?

    1. Some short ribs have more fat than others. You can easily use a spoon to remove any excess fat from the top of the sauce if you need to. If your sauce seems thin, just leave the lid off and cook on high to thicken.

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