This style of sauce gives the best of both--short ribs end up succulent and perfectly cooked while braising eliminates the need for labor intensive stirring that a traditional ragu usually demands. To keep dinnertime hassle to a minimum this recipe can be made in one pot, enameled cast iron would work the best.


  • 5 lb bone in short ribs
  • tempered salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. animal fat or neutral oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, split and diced
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, cored and diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. anchovy paste
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2­-3 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed with a spoon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a handful of aromatic herbs tied in a bundle thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage
  • water or chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Season ribs liberally with salt and black pepper, allow meat to temper for a better and more even cooking. Heat oil or fat in a large, heavy bottomed pot (break out your enameled dutch oven or a large oven­ ready pot!) over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches, brown the ribs 2­3 minutes per side then set aside. In the same pan sauté onion, carrot and fennel until translucent. Add garlic and gently warm until fragrant but not browned.
  3. Using a spatula, move vegetables to the sides of the pot to create a hot spot then add tomato and anchovy paste into the center. Stir until caramelized, then incorporate into the vegetables. Add red wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and aromatic herbs.
  4. Add ribs back into the pot and fill with water or chicken stock until nearly covered. Bring the liquid to a boil then cover with a layer each of unwaxed baking paper and baking foil. Braise in oven for 3 hours or until the ribs are falling easily off the bone.
  5. Remove ribs from liquid while braise is hot and set them aside to cool. Remove bay leaves and herb bundle. For a smoother sauce, purée braising liquid and vegetables with an immersion blender to the texture of your choice. If sauce seems thin, set over low heat to reduce. When ribs are cool enough to handle, strip meat from the bones discarding any large pieces of fat, and mix to incorporate into sauce.
  6. Serve over polenta or your favorite pasta with fresh herbs and a sharp hard cheese. This is a recipe that benefits from a night in the fridge, so don’t be daunted by this big batch and savor the leftovers!

Servings: 8­ - 10 people