This is an easy recipe that you can prepare in your slow cooker. The short ribs will melt into the sauce, making the most tender short rib pasta you’ve ever tasted.
This is as comforting as comfort food gets! The slow cooked ribs fall off the bone and melt into a savory pasta full of vegetables. Toss it with your favorite pasta and serve with parmesan cheese. I promise you will impress everyone with this one!
Love beef and pasta? Try this creamy balsamic steak pasta next!
- Beef short ribs: these often come with the bone in (which is what we want), but it's ok if the ones you get don't have bones.
- Avocado oil: we like to use this because it has a higher smoke point and gets a great sear on the meat. However, olive oil or coconut oil will work too.
- Yellow onion: these cook down in the pasta sauce and adds so much depth.
- Wild mushrooms: I love the mixture of different mushrooms here, but if you can't find them any mushroom at the store will work.
- Garlic: we're using lots of garlic in this yummy pasta recipe. That's how all the good ones are!
- Red wine: this is the liquid we're using to braise the short ribs and it adds so much flavor to the meat. If you don't want to use wine, swap it for low sodium beef broth.
- Tomato paste: this thickens the sauce and adds a nice tomato flavor to the pasta.
- Balsamic vinegar: we aren't using much of this, but the acidity balances the dish well.
- Fresh thyme and bay leaves: short ribs, thyme and bay leaves (or a bay leaf substitute) are made for each other!
- Dry pasta: we opted for a gluten free pappardelle because it's the best pasta for this type of dish in our opinion.
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Why are short ribs so tender?
Beef short ribs come from the beef chuck of the animal. This makes them full of marbling, rich in flavor and great for braising and slow cooking. Think of a chuck roast used in pot roast or slow cooker beef ragù. It's from the same part of the cow that is used more often and less tender, so cooking them low and slow makes them ultra tender and fall apart.
What does braising mean?
Braising is a combination cooking method that includes searing meat then slow cooking it in liquid until it's a tender, fall-off-the-bone meal.
How to make short rib pasta in the slow cooker
- Sear short ribs: Pat the short ribs dry and brush them with oil then sprinkle generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat a large dutch oven or skillet over high heat then add the short ribs in an even layer. Sear without moving for 3-4 minutes on each side, letting them brown deeply. Use tongs to turn and sear all sides. This will take 12-15 minutes total. Transfer the short ribs to the slow cooker.
- Saute the vegetables: Turn the stove down to medium heat, then add the onion, garlic and mushroom to the rendered fat from the short ribs. Let them cook and soften for about 5 minutes, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Add to the slow cooker: Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. quickle whisk the red wine and tomato paste together in a medium bowl then poure it over the short ribs and vegetables. Top with the sprigs of thyme and bay leaves.
- Cook: Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. When it's done, remove and discard the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme.
- Shred: Carefully remove the short ribs to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the beef and discard the bones. Mix it back in with the sauce and keep the slow cooker on warm until you're ready to serve.
- Serve: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Toss the short rib sauce with the pasta and serve with fresh parmesan cheese, fresh thyme or fresh parsley.
Slow cooker tips
- For the most flavorful meals this October during Crocktober (and all of the time!), be sure to brown your beef in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker. A few extra minutes browning meat will add a deep, caramelized taste. Once in the slow cooker, set the heat to as low as possible! A slow, low heat brings out the best flavors.
- Resist the urge to peek when using a slow cooker. Keeping the lid shut prevents heat from escaping, which could lead to slowing the cooking process.
- Use large, tough cuts of beef, like chuck roasts, for slow cooking! The low-temperature, slow-cooking process allows the fat to break down, resulting in a tender, flavorful meal. Beef prepared in a slow cooker should be cooked to 160 degrees or until fork-tender.
Meal prep, storage and freezing
- Meal prep (freezer meal): follow the instructions to sear the beef and cook the veggies on the stove. Allow it to cool completely then transfer it to a large freezer bag and freeze flat for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and add it to the slow cooker in the morning.
- Store in the fridge: allow the cooked short rib pasta to cool completely then store in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Warm on the stove and serve with pasta.
- Store in the freezer: follow the same directions to cool and store in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and warm over the stove.
This recipe is sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to brands like them that allow me to continue to share free recipes with you!
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More slow cooker recipes
- Slow cooker beanless chili
- Slow cooker healthy sloppy joes
- Easy crock pot pepper steak
- Slow cooker beef ragu
Slow Cooker Braised Short Rib Pasta
- 4-5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (it has a high smoke point)
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- 1 lb wild mushrooms
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups dry red wine like a cab sav, merlot or zinfandel (could sub low sodium beef broth)
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lb dry pappardelle pasta (we used gluten free)
- Pat the short ribs dry and brush them with oil then sprinkle generously with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Heat a large dutch oven or skillet over high heat then add the short ribs in an even layer. Sear without moving for 3-4 minutes on each side, letting them brown deeply. Use tongs to turn and sear all sides. This will take about 12-15 minutes total. Transfer the short ribs to the slow cooker.
- Turn the stove to medium heat then add the onion, garlic and mushroom to the rendered fat from the short ribs. Let them cook and soften for about 5 minutes, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Transfer to the slow cooker with the short ribs.
- Whisk together the wine (or broth) with the tomato paste then pour it over the short ribs. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Right before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Remove the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme. Carefully remove the short ribs to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the beef and discard the bones. Mix it back in with the sauce then serve it over the pasta with fresh parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.