Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu is our favourite quick and easy Italian pasta sauce.
Our healthy Instant Pot Ragu can be prepared in under an hour and features beef short rib, tomato sauce, onion, garlic and red wine.
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Travel to Italy by Cooking Short Rib Ragu at Home
I love traveling to Europe!
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey and Italy.
What I love most about traveling to Italy is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Saturnia, Pitigliano, Sorano, Montalcino, Siena) are unique from what you’d find in Venice, Modena, Milan, Rome, and Amalfi Coast.
If you’re visiting Tuscany on a romantic honeymoon you’ll find homemade beef ragu on many menus, from large cities to small towns. Beef ragu is commonly served with creamy polenta, gnocchi or homemade pasta like tagliatelle.
Once back home from an Italian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Italy and can impress friends and family by making our easy Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu recipe.
Where To Eat Short Rib Ragu
Haven’t traveled to Italy before? It may be helpful to first sample ragu at a local Italian restaurant to better understand how the dish might be served. Order short rib ragu at restaurant menu to get an idea of the texture and flavour of the hearty beef and tomato sauce.
In Toronto, popular Italian restaurants in Yorkville, King West and Ossington that may serve Beef Short Rib Ragu include Bar Vendetta, Buca, Superpoint, Amano, Fabbrica, Oretta, FIGO, Nodo, Locale Mercatto, The Good Son, Taverna Mercatto, Ascari Enoteca, Il Fornello or Gusto 101.
My Family Loves Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu
Like many Canadians and Americans, one of my families favourite comfort foods to enjoy at dinner is pasta.
We love cooking Pici Cacio e Pepe, Ricotta Gnocchi, Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale, Garlic Boursin and Lemon Linguini with Grilled Chicken, Creamy Mediterranean Hummus Pasta with Pesto Chicken, Rigatoni with Fried Sage, Roasted Pecans, Prosciutto and Pumpkin Velouté and Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese.
Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu is our favourite quick and easy pasta sauce recipe for meat lovers. If you like the taste of pomodoro, marinara or bolognese tossed with al dente pasta you’ll love this healthy Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu recipe.
We typically serve our Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu recipe on Sunday’s in the winter as its so comforting on a cold day spooned over pasta or polenta.
We also love cooking it at the cottage in Muskoka in the summer months. My family can spend all day at the dock swimming and once back in the kitchen we can have a big bowl of pasta on the table just in time for sunset.
What is Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu?
In northern Italian regions, ragu typically features minced, chopped or ground meat, cooked with sautéed vegetables in a flavourful liquid. The meats may include one or more of beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, or game.
Italian cooks traditionally prepare their family’s secret ragu recipe over a long afternoon, stirring the braised stew with a wooden spoon for two to six hours. At dinner time the flavourful tomato beef sauce is spooned over pasta, polenta or gnocchi.
Since most of us don’t have an entire day to tend a bubbling pot of pasta sauce, we’ve developed an authentic recipe using the Instant Pot.
We use the Instant Pot’s sauté and stew cooking settings in this recipe. We first sear the beef short rib with minced garlic and onion. Then we add red wine, beef broth, tomato sauce and chili flakes. You’ll know the braised stew is finished cooking when the meat falls off the bone.
Why Braise Short Ribs When Cooking Ragu?
Braising is a cooking method in which tough cuts of meat such as short ribs are browned in fat (such as butter or olive oil), then covered and cooked on low heat for a long time in a small amount of liquid, such as broth, water or wine.
Since beef short ribs are a tough cut of meat, braising allows the chewy collagen to dissolve into gelatin, which allows meat fibres to separate more easily. Tough cuts of meat love being slowly cooked in liquid as the result is a soft and tender slice of steak.
By cooking short ribs in a tomato and wine liquid mixture the flavourful fat in the beef renders and combines to create a delicious savoury sauce.
You should not prepare ragu with tender cuts of beef like ribeye, tenderloin or filet as they would overcook and become tough when braised. I’ve seen some people barbecue high quality steaks and then add them to tomato sauce, which unfortunately doesn’t impart the same quality of flavour.
If you’re looking to make a smooth and rich beef ragu, make our easy Instant Pot recipe to enjoy the best tomato meat sauce!
What To Serve with Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu
If you’re planning an Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu feast the menu options are endless! Ragu is typically served over a starchy side dish like polenta, gnocchi or homemade pasta.
We love to serve this hearty Italian pasta dish with a fresh salad and glass of red wine. Feel free to pair with an Italian wine like Castello di Gabbiano’s Chianti Classico, or a local bottle from Prince Edward County, Beamsville or Niagara on the Lake.
If you’ve got a dinner party with gluten free guests in attendance we suggest making creamy polenta as it’s made of cornmeal not wheat.
Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal that was historically made from other ancient grains. The dish is a descendant of grain mush, known as puls or pulmentum in Latin, that was commonly eaten as far back as Roman times.
Before the introduction of maize from America in the 16th century, cheesy polenta was made from starchy ingredients like farro, chestnut flour, millet, spelt and chickpeas. It may be served as a hot Italian porridge, or allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried or grilled.
Cornmeal is available for purchase in a variety of grinds. Course grinds make a firm polenta that is ideal for grilling, baking and frying. Finer grinds of cornmeal are perfect for cooking smooth & cheesy polenta.
Gnocchi are Italy’s famed dumpling. The classic Italian pasta is traditionally made with either potatoes or ricotta cheese. The word gnocchi comes from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, which explains their petite size. It has been a traditional food-staple in Italy since Roman times.
The common thread between both varieties of Italian Dumplings are a handful of ingredients and cooking process. Most Italian Dumpling recipes are made with eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Once Italian dumpling dough has been prepared, both potato and ricotta recipes require boiling in salted water.
My preferred Italian Dumplings are ricotta gnocchi. They’re less finicky than working with potato gnocchi. I enjoy the soft texture of a ricotta dumpling more than the tougher density of recipes made with starchy potato.
Homemade Pici Pasta
Pici is a thick, hand-rolled pasta that looks like fat spaghetti or Japanese udon noodles. It originates from the province of Siena in Tuscany. In the nearby wine growing region of Montalcino the pasta is referred to by locals as pinci.
Pici pasta dough is typically made of a mix of flour, water and a pinch of salt. Some recipes call for a cracked egg and olive oil, which is optional and often incorporated according to Italian family traditions.
There are many ways to making fresh pici pasta at home. Nona’s in Tuscany are famous for rolling out thick and flat sheets of pici pasta dough on their kitchen tables. They cut the pasta into strips, rolling the dough between the palm of one hand and the table. The other hand keeps busy, wrapped around the remainder of the dough strip until it has reached optimal thickness.
Pici pasta can also be formed by rolling the strip between the palms of two hands. Both methods help form a thick noodle, slightly thinner than a pencil.
Every family has their own unique way of rolling pici pasta at home. A multitude of variations exist, with some chefs spreading out the dough with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Some use a sharp knife or circular pizza cutter before rolling the strips of dough by hand.
We suggest trying as many techniques as you’d like until you find a method that works best for you.
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Best Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu Recipe
Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu Recipe
- Instant Pot
- French knife
- Wooden spoon
- measuring cup
- measuring spoon
- 1 tbsp Canola oil
- 2 lbs Beef Short Rib bone in
- 1 Medium Onion minced
- 4 Garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
- 660 ml Passata
- 1/2 cup Beef Broth
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Red Chili Flakes
- 1 tbsp Basil sliced
- Turn Instant Pot to the sauté setting. While it heats up, trim excess fat from the short ribs and generously season the beef with salt.
- Add canola oil to the Instant Pot. Add the short ribs to the hot oil and sear on all sides until brown, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Use tongs and paper towel to remove excess oil from the pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Pour red wine in to deglaze and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Return short ribs to the Instant Pot, with passata, salt and crushed red chili flakes. Use 1/2 cup beef broth to rinse out tomato sauce from the jar and add to pot. Set Instant Pot to the stew/meat setting for 35 minutes. When done, let it sit untouched for a natural steam release.
- Remove short ribs and place on a baking sheet. Shred into bite size pieces, removing bones and any large pieces of fat.
- Meanwhile, set the Instant Pot to sauté again to reduce/thicken the sauce. Skim any fat off top of sauce and add shredded beef back in. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Serve with creamy polenta or your favourite pasta and top with grated parmesan.
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