Pappardelle with wine-braised short rib ragú

What I love about cold weather in December is not just that it encourages us to eat hearty comfort foods but that we’re able to do so without pretense.

Come February, eating a giant bowl of pasta feels like both an obligation and a failure to live out your New Year’s Resolutions.

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But in December no one is expecting us to eat healthfully! It’s the holiday season for crying out loud, and that means eating well and often.

So, for your cooking project this weekend, might I suggest wine-braised short ribs over a steaming bowl of pappardelle?

I was inspired to take on this project by a Bon Appetit article I stumbled upon a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was much more article than recipe featuring a stream-of-consciousness style list of steps. And while I love the idea of cooking without a recipe, if I’m going to spend three hours on something it better come out right. Right?

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So for your edification, I’ve compiled a recipe from various sources and can say based on first-hand experience that the resulting meal is decadent, delicious and nap-inducing, all the ingredients for a perfect chilly December night in.

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Pappardelle with braised short rib ragú
(Adapted from Bon Appetit here and here)

Serves 4

2.5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut between the bones if not purchased that way
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 small carrots, or just under a cup diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 28 ounce can chopped or whole tomatoes, such as San Marzano
1/2 bottle dry red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 pound pappardelle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven or other oven-safe pot, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs on all sides. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add garlic, carrots, and onions to dutch oven and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to combine, cooking for about a minute or until it starts to darken. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes into the pot, including about 3/4 of the juices – if you use the whole can your sauce will be saucier which may be your preference but wasn’t mine.

Add wine and stir to combine. Add the short ribs and accumulated juices back to pot, bone-side up. Cover and transfer to the oven, baking for 2.5 to 3 hours or until short rib meat is tender and falls off the bone easily.

Remove short ribs from the pot and shred, discarding the bones. Add meat and any accumulated juices back to the pot and simmer on the stovetop to thicken the sauce slightly, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pappardelle, following the cooking time on the package.

Drain and either add the cooked pasta directly to the pot of sauce or plate individually.

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