Pin It
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Noodling Around The Slow Cooker !


Buon giorno!

So every year in the fall and winter, the annual period designated for “comfort food”, I long for one of my favorites, Pappardelle with Short Ribs Sauce. This one says comfort to me every time with those double-wide noodles covered with the most tender of meats and one of the most divine sauces laced with a hearty vino rosso. The tender, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs are indeed the star here as they anchor the sauce with an intense depth of flavor as well as giving it a deep dark mahogany color which enshrouds the pasta in richness. A word about the pasta: With this recipe, I do recommend the use of Pappardelle pasta – a very wide noodle. It “takes” the sauce well and has so much body as to partner with it rather than just lay there. If Pappardelle is not available, Tagliatelle or Fettucine would stand in well here. You’d think after such a description that preparing this dish might be an arduous task – but it’s not. The required slow cooking offers a perfect opportunity to use that Crock Pot or Slow Cooker gathering dust in your cabinet. If you don’t have a Slow Cooker, I will also show you how easy it is to prepare in your oven.

I am the Queen of Nothing if not Multi-Tasking. If I can’t do at least three things at one time and be thinking about the fourth, it must be time wasted. I ponder what the most perfect cooking method might be for people like me who must keep all the balls in the air at one time – one that will allow me to produce a tender piece of meat while balancing the preparation of  several other dishes. On the other hand, I propose that this method would indeed approach nirvana if I could also suggest it to the person who might not enjoy cooking at all and would rather be napping all afternoon- unconcerned about the value of managing any number of balls in the air at any given time. WOW – would that be perfection or what?

 Well it may not quite be perfection, but it is one of the oldest and easiest cooking methods – BRAISING- and it is a great choice for Short Ribs. When I say old here, I am talking ancient. Braising is said to go all the way back to the soldier days of the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty, Li Shimin. For those of you, like me, who might not be up on just when “the Tangs” were tooling around China – it was around 618-907 – just a little before my time and not exactly recent history. So you get the idea – we/they have been Braising for a while now. What is Braising? It is the simple browning of meat in a little oil and then simmering slowly at a very low temperature in a covered container – Not exactly rocket science. We can do this! You can braise using a slow cooker or in the oven. (I will give you instructions to prepare today’s dish either way.) The best part is that you use less expensive cuts of meat which become extremely tender in the process. The long cooking time breaks down the meat tissue and thereby tenderizes it so that it literally falls off the bone. This method does not require a lot of attention, fuss, stirring or labor on the part of the cook.  Are you beginning to love the idea of Braising?

So we are about to prepare an amazing dish sure to win the hearts of your family and which will be  just as suitable for your next dinner extravaganza with several of your “peeps”. This is also a dish that is presently on the menus at the most “chichi”of Italian restaurants. You will be soooo cool! –All in the same afternoon, you will put your feet up and start that Swedish novel you have been putting off about girls with dragon tattoos, who kick hornets nests, while playing with fire. Aha! You, too, have become a multi tasker like me. Troppo Bella! With this post, we shall commune and form a support group with a Seven Step Program for Braising while preparing our Pappardelle With Short Ribs Sauce:

The Seven Steps

1. Season

2. Brown

3. Saute Vegetables

4. Add liquid etc

5. Cover

6. Cook “endlessly” til tender

7. Nap/Book (Most important step – do not skip)


4 lb. (approx.) Beef Short Ribs


3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4 Cloves fresh garlic – chopped finely

1 large onion chopped

1 c. baby carrots chopped small

1 Stalk celery chopped small

2 Tbsp Tomato Paste

Zest of one large Orange

1 can (14 0z) can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 c. dry red wine

1 1/2 c. Beef Broth or stock

2 tsp Fresh Chopped Thyme

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese

Fresh Basil for garnish


Regardless of whether you are using a Slow Cooker or Oven Method you begin the same way. Season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large pot add the olive oil and brown the short ribs on all sides – just a couple of minutes.


Remove them and set aside.


In the same pot, add garlic, onion, carrots, celery. Stir and cook for a minute.


Then add the tomato paste & orange zest and stir to incorporate.



Now pour all the ingredients from the pot to the Slow Cooker


Add the tomatoes.


Add the red wine.


Add the broth. Stir.


Add herbs and a little salt and pepper.


Add the short ribs into the Slow Cooker and stir a little to nestle the ribs and mix the ingredients.




Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours until meat is so tender that it falls from the bone.


After adding the orange zest and tomato paste, pour in the red wine and cook on Med. High while scraping bits up from bottom of pot.

Add the tomatoes, broth and herbs. Stir.

Add the short ribs back to the pot. Cover and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours until short ribs are tender and falling off the bone.


Regardless of which method you choose: Slow Cooker or Oven –After the ribs are cooked remove them from the pot/cooker and set aside.

Skim fat off the top with a large spoon and discard the fat. One easy way to do this is to refrigerate the sauce overnight. The next day the fat should be congealed and solid on top and easy to scrape off!

Sauce will appear thin. This is about to change! Using an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender or vitamix, blend until fairly smooth with just little bits left. Suddenly your sauce will appear thicker and velvety.  Check for seasoning and add Kosher salt and pepper to taste.


Remove the meat from the bones – it should fall right off. Then shred with 2 forks pulling in opposite directions as I suggested in my post on Pork Ragu.


You can freeze both the sauce and the meat or part of it at this point and use it later if you like. This recipe makes a lot of sauce. You could easily get 2 dinners for 4 out of it.

Cook your pasta – add your sauce and meat to it and serve with grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese. Garnish with Fresh Basil.

With this dish – I love a nice Italian red – both in the sauce and at the table. I like Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 or a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo like Cantina Zaccagnini 2007. Both are very easy to find and will not break the bank!

As pasta meals go, you are gonna LOVE this one! Go on, have a bite!


Parla Come Mangi!




Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

Follow Me on Pinterest


  1. Here we go again… Linda has another delicious dish !
    I am slowly becoming a great cook ! Thanks Linda!
    The photos are the best ! They sure do help me NOT make a mistake !
    This will be Saturday dinner !

    • So glad to hear that, Peggy. Trying new things in the kitchen is what it’s all about. I think you’ll enjoy this one.

      • Hey Linda…if i have to be out of the house for like 6 hours and dont have a slow cooker….can i just cook it in the oven same process for 200 degrees for 6 hours instead of 350 for 3?

        • Aram – If not using the slow cooker, I would use the alternative oven cooking method mentioned in the recipe. I would not trust the oven at the 200 degree temperature for such a long time for this. The slow cooker does not maintain the 190 degree or 200 degree temp. for the cooking time. It is a gradual progression of heat. I would say if you don’t have a slow cooker – you might want to make this dish on a day you would be around to use the oven method.

  2. Amanda Conklin says:

    OK, This one is for us ! It looks easy enough for me, the cooking – challenged friend who reads and naps, daydreams and paints, no – dishwasher friend and Ron who loves to eat ! BRAVO, and it’s not even chocolate. I can’t go wrong following these photos and tips, and it looks burn proof too. Love it !


  3. Linda, you should take a bow, you out did yourself again! Another great recipe fit for a King or Queen!

    • Ann – Oh my! Thank you for the kind comment. I hope you enjoy this. It is a great (and easy) way to prepare short ribs and to enjoy the richness of their juices with pasta.

  4. I made it today while the AT&T pro-am was on TV. I used a boneless chuck roast instead of the ribs and some curly wide pasta ribbons because I couldn’t find the pappardelle. I used a little lemon zest because I didn’t have an orange. IT WAS DELISH! Thanks, Linda! I’m still drinking the last of the glass of wine 🙂 and I have four meals worth of leftovers!

  5. So easy to put together! I am doing the oven method method. Young and Restless is now on…the short ribs are in the oven…7:00 dinner time!

  6. It is cooking in the crockpot now. Smells delish!

    • Great news, Jim! Be sure to share the results. I have a feeling that a number of crockpots are in use today!Buon appetito!

  7. Hi Linda,
    I am trying this delicious recipe again, only with a roast. I will shred half of it and keep the other half for beef bbq sandwiches.
    Keep on cookin’!

  8. Made this today, but with a chuck roast. Delicious!! Can’t wait to try another one of your recipes. Thank you!

  9. Think I could do this in my pressure cooker? Ill make the pappardelle myself, so that won’t be a big deal.

    • Chad – if you feel comfortable doing that, you certainly can try it. I have not. Previously, have made this recipe both on top of the stove and in the slow cooker. It works well either way. I have not prepared it in a pressure cooker.

      • The good news is it worked very well. Cut down the cooking time total to just over an 1.5 hrs(45 mins once it came to pressure). Only modifications I had to make was I had to reduce the sauce because in a pressure cooker it didn’t evaporate any. All the amounts worked perfectly. Really great recipe. My mother-in-law raved and have it a 10 and my two year old had 2 servings. I will definitely be making it again and will be making more of your recipes. Thanks again.

        • Chad – I am thrilled to hear this and really appreciate your sharing your experience making this recipe with the pressure cooker. This has been a very popular recipe on the site. I hope that others see your comments and perhaps try your method at home! Ciao!

  10. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for the recipe. I had a dish like this in a restaurant so I was looking for something along these lines. Yours is much better. I think it’s the immersion blender tip that pulls it all together. Thanks for a new family favorite.

    • Thank you! This is a very popular recipe on my website. You are right about the immersion blender. Blending at the end gives the sauce some body and really makes a difference. So happy you like it!

  11. Your short rib recipe looks fantastic!! how many does this serve?

    • Kate – The serving information is buried in the text – but it should provide 2 meals for 4 people. What I usually do is freeze some of it for a second meal. It freezes very well, and is a wonderful rich dish to have ready to pull out on a cold winter day. It is one of the most popular recipes on my website. Hope you enjoy it!

  12. Gloria says:

    Seriously delicious! Papparadelle is my absolute favorite and this is wonderful.

  13. Linda, this has become the go to family favorite especially for my youngest daughter. She has been craving this dish again for a couple months. I am TRIPLING the recipe for a crowd today! Love your website and recipes.

    • Ha Ha! Jim, this is great to hear. I had to laugh as aside from being a favorite of so many – it is also the favorite of my 17 mo. old grandson! Go for the triple! Thanks so much for the great comment!

  14. Your recipe looks great ;I am trying it out today can not wait to see the results.

  15. Andrea Payne says:

    This is dynamite. Will be making again.