Short Rib Pasta

I had some leftover short ribs from Monday's dinner, so Thursday night I decided to make a short rib pasta. My brother had come over to help Bryan and I go get a Christmas tree, so the least I could do was feed him before we ventured out to the tree lot.

Short rib pasta is one of Bryan's and my favorite dinners at C&O Trattoria, especially with the flat and thin pappardelle noodles they use. Since I'd never made short ribs before, obviously I'd never made short rib pasta, but I figured it couldn't be too hard. Turns out it was super easy and I only had to make a few modifications to the original short rib sauce.

To start, I removed and shredded the leftover short ribs from the sauce. Tip: The short ribs are much easier to shred when they're warm, so I reheated them for a moment or two prior to shredding them with the tips of two forks.

I set the shredded short ribs aside and poured the remaining sauce in a covered pot over medium heat. Once the sauce had been heated through and started bubbling along the edges, I removed the cover and added a slurry to thicken the sauce. A slurry is essentially a whisked mixture of white flour and ice water. I combined 4 tablespoons flour and 1/3 cup of ice water and whisked it until it was totally combined. I poured it into the reheated sauce and stirred occasionally as it came to a boil. It's essential that the sauce comes to a boil after the slurry is added or else it won't thicken properly. If it doesn't thicken as much as you'd like after adding the slurry, make another small batch of slurry and repeat the steps above.

Once the sauce was thick enough, I added the shredded short ribs and let them heat through.

I tasted the sauce and decided it needed some fresh cracked pepper, so I added about a 1/2 teaspoon and mixed it into the sauce. I reduced the heat to low and let the sauce barely simmer so I could start on the pasta.

I couldn't find pappardelle so I got Italian fettucine instead. I filled a 3-quart stock pot about 3/4 of the way full with warm water, added a splash of olive oil, covered the pot and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, I added the pasta one "nest" at a time. It cooked for about six minutes before becoming al dente (meaning "to the tooth" in Italian).

I drained the pasta, added it to the simmering sauce and gently tossed it until the pasta was well coated. I always cook pasta in its sauce over low heat before serving (if only for a moment or two) so the pasta has a chance to absorb the sauce.

That's pretty much it! I served the pasta in wide pasta bowls (thank you, wedding registry) and it was really great. Next time I might add some sauteed mushrooms to the sauce to give it more texture, but the flavor and viscosity were perfect. It was a great way to turn leftovers into another delicious dinner and I've got to say, the boys loved it. :)


  1. Wow, the short ribs look fantastic and the leftover as a pasta dish is inspired! Question: Do you find that boiling the pasta with oil rather than salt results in better taste, or texture? Just curious.

    Loving your Crumbs blog (as well as Inconvenient) -- you're a very talented writer - thank you for sharing with us!!

  2. Hi Penelope! While I used to salt the water, I prefer adding a tablespoon of good olive oil to the water to prevent the pasta pieces from sticking to one another. I've done it for so long that I honestly can't remember what it's like NOT to add the oil to the water. My husband has an interesting technique, too: he sprays the bottom of the pot with olive oil spray before adding the water. He finds is not only helps the pasta from sticking to itself, but also to the pot after drainage. He also believes it provides a more even distribution of oil.

    What's your method? Salt or oil?


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