Spiced Short Rib Ragù

A delicious, rich meat sauce made with beef short ribs, slow-cooked to perfection until fall-apart tender. This ragu has layers upon layers of flavour. It’s perfumed with cinnamon, allspice and clove, which add warmth and a slight sweetness to the sauce. It’s a true flavour bomb! Serve Bolognese-style with pappardelle or use it as a base for a delicious lasagna.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Meat


  • 5 bone-in beef short ribs
  • sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsps double concentrated tomato purée
  • 400 ml sweet red wine
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps ground allspice
  • ¾ tsp ground clove
  • 2 x 400g tin of good-quality whole peeled plum tomatoes, hand-crushed
  • 600 ml beef stock
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  1. Pat the short ribs dry and season generously with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Heat a splash of extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the short ribs, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Transfer the browned short ribs to a plate.
  2. Pour out the fat, leaving the browned bits at the bottom of the pot behind. Add a splash of olive oil and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrot and celery and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until nice and soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then add the tomato purée and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to caramelize and darken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the red wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by around ¾, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice, clove, tinned tomatoes, beef stock, bay leaves and sugar. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Return the short ribs (and their juices) to the pot, bone side up, and bring everything to a simmer.
  6. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fall-apart tender, 4 to 4 ½ hours. Alternatively, you can bake the ragu, covered, at 150℃/fan 130℃ for the same amount of time. Don’t forget to preheat your oven beforehand!
  7. Transfer the short ribs to a large plate or chopping board and let them rest for 10 mins. Meanwhile, skim off the excess fat from the surface of the ragù using a large spoon or ladle.
  8. Coarsely shred the short ribs using 2 forks. Return the shredded short ribs to the sauce. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste. Serve Bolognese-style with pappardelle or use it as a base for a delicious lasagna.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram, tagging @zenaskitchen. I can't wait to see what you've made!

0 0 votes
Recipe Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stevie Rodis
1 year ago

Omg it’s so good!! I ended up using a brisket that I cut into wide hunks and it worked so well. Thank you!!

10 months ago
Reply to  Stevie Rodis

So glad you enjoyed it!