A childhood favorite gets a grown-up make-over with tender oven braised short ribs in a rich homemade tomato sauce. This short rib beefaroni is comfort food at it’s best.
When I think about serious comfort food, homemade beefaroni tops the list. It was a childhood favorite and still never fails to satisfy the craving for something hearty and savory.
And it’s usually around January that the craving strikes – the post-holiday slump along with the cold weather is the perfect time to a big batch of this classic pasta dish, but we’re making it with a grown-up twist: short rib beefaroni.
Taking a childhood favorite and giving it an upgrade is one of my favorite things to do. Like my tortellini tuna casserole and sloppy joes, this hearty beefaroni is a step-up from the original. It’s rich and cozy pasta dish, and the perfect weekend cooking project.
- This recipe isn’t difficult to make, but it does take time. Short ribs need several hours to cook, but your patience is rewarded with tender melt-in-your-mouth beef.
- If you want something quicker, bookmark this for later and try my beef penne recipe instead. It’s beefaroni made with ground beef and is ready in 30 minutes. It’s not as rich, but it’s just as satisfying.
- This recipe includes oven tomato sauce. The short ribs simmer in it for a few hours, and the sauce cooks down, concentrating all of the flavors.
And let me add that this is not a homemade version of the canned stuff with the happy, smiling chef on the label. It’s about ten thousand times better. Maybe a hundred thousand, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
- Beef short ribs – you can use bone-in or boneless
- Chopped celery, carrots, onions, and garlic
- Canned whole plum tomatoes
- Beef stock
- Dried Italian seasoning
- Fresh parsley
- Elbow macaroni
- Black pepper
How to Make It
This beefaroni recipe starts on the stove and finishes in the oven, so use an oven-safe pot with a lid.
Heat olive oil in the pot and brown the short ribs on all sides. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to do this in batches. Once they have a nice crust, take them out of the pot.
In the same pot, cook the veggies over medium heat for about five minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, stock, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Give it all a stir, bring it to a simmer and then place the short ribs in the pot.
Place the lid on the pot slightly askew so steam can escape and place in the oven. Leave it to simmer at 325°F for two to three hours. About halfway through the cooking time, check on it and if the liquid has reduced a lot, add a little more beef stock.
The timing will vary depending on your oven, so the best way to know when the ribs are done is to test them. If the meat pulls away easily with a fork it’s done.
Once the beef is done, boil the elbow macaroni while you finish the rest of the sauce.
Take the pot out of the oven and remove the beef. Shred or chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.
For the sauce, I like to puree it. If it’s really thick, use some beef stock to thin it and blend it until smooth or mostly smooth.
Add the shredded beef back to the pot with the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish it with some chopped parsley.
A Few Last Tips
You can cook the beef and tomato sauce ahead of time. Once you’ve pureed the sauce and shredded the beef, store the sauce in the fridge. You can reheat it and add the cooked pasta when you’re ready to serve it. You may need to add a splash or two of stock to thin sauce.
For the seasoning, any combination of dried Italian seasonings will work. So, if you don’t have the mix you can sub the same amount of dried oregano, time, and parsley.
If you like a little heat, add some red pepper flakes to the sauce.
I hope you give this short rib beefaroni a try! It’s one of my favorite winter comfort food recipes and totally worth the time to make it. Enjoy!
More Comfort Food RecipesPrint
A childhood favorite gets a make-over! This hearty pasta dish has tender beef short ribs and a rich tomato sauce – it’s comfort food at it’s best!
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Braise
- Cuisine: American
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds beef short ribs, seasoned on all sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt (see note)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
- 16 ounces beef stock
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 12 ounces macaroni
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the short ribs (in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan) on each side until browned. Remove them from the pan and set them aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic to the pan and cook them until they start to soften about five minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, along with all of the liquid from the can. Add the beef stock, Italian seasoning, and parsley.
- Stir it all together and add the short ribs. Bring it to a simmer, turn off the heat and partially cover the pot with an oven-proof lid. There should be a gap to allow steam to escape. Transfer it to the oven and let it simmer for two to three hours. The ribs are done when you can easily pull the meat off the bone with a fork.
- When the sauce and beef are close to being done, cook the macaroni according to package directions. While it’s boiling remove the pan from the oven and take the short ribs out of the sauce. Pull the meat from the bones and shred or chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Next, puree the sauce using an immersion blender. You can also use a regular blender but let the sauce cool. If your sauce is thick add beef stock to thin it. Place the pan back on the stove (if your sauce is cooled, turn the burner to medium to warm it up again.
- Add the shredded beef to the sauce and stir. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it before adding it to the sauce and beef. Stir it all together, garnish with extra chopped parsley for garnish, and serve.
You can use boneless short ribs, too, but I recommend using only one pound.
Check on the ribs after about an hour or so. If you notice the liquid has evaporated you can add more beef stock. The ribs don’t need to be submerged, but there should be enough liquid so the vegetables don’t get dry.
Depending on the kind of beef stock you use, you may need to add more salt. Wait until you puree the sauce and then give it a taste. Add more at this point, if needed.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 406
- Sugar: 7.4g
- Sodium: 409.2mg
- Fat: 10.6g
- Saturated Fat: 3.6g
- Unsaturated Fat: 6.4g
- Trans Fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrates: 53.1g
- Fiber: 5.9g
- Protein: 25.9g
- Cholesterol: 60.4mg
Keywords: homemade beefaroni, short rib pasta, short rib beefaroni
Post updated from the archives. First published in May 2015.