Short Rib Bolognese and Handmade Basil Pasta

It’s been a while since I’ve done a recipe post! This is the thing about working full-time and going to school part-time and working on a podcast part-part time: not a lot of time for noteworthy meals. But the stars aligned and I found short ribs on super sale at the grocery store, and had some handmade basil-flavored noodles on-hand from a previous study break, and Sunday’s comfort food came together in the most amazing rich, meaty, seasoned, saucily delicious dish.

With mounds of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves, there is no dish more comforting, rich, and warming on a cold, fall night. (But seriously, what are those? I live in Hawai’i and sweat year-round.) Set aside some time to make sure everything is ready to go, set your timer for stirring the pot, and set your tummy for a meal worthy of kings.

Sauce recipe adapted from Cooking for Keeps and pasta recipe adapted from Marc Vetri’s Mastering Pasta.

Short Rib Bolognese and Handmade Basil Pasta


No basil in this pasta, but you get the scrumptious idea.

90 minutes before; up to three months before.

Ingredients and Recipe for Handmade Basil Pasta

  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • Bowl of ice water at the ready
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 2/3 cup bread flour
  • 9 egg yolks

Set aside a bowl of ice water. Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Blanche basil leaves for 1 minute. Transfer basil to ice bath to stop them from cooking, reserving blanching water. Once basil leaves are cooled, transfer to mortar and pestle. Add olive oil and mash until you have a paste, adding basil water if/when needed. (The thicker / less leafy the paste, the greener the pasta.)

Put bread flour in a mound on a flat surface and create a well in the center. Add egg yolks and basil paste. Mix with fingers until it all comes together in a ball, adding reserved basil water if needed (only 1 – 2 Tablespoons should be needed). Kneed for 5 minutes until cohesive, a bit shiny, and dough pulls back when stretched. Shape into a ball then flatten into a disc. Cover and rest for 30 minutes, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

(Let any refrigerated dough come to room temperature for 30 minutes.) When ready, divide dough into 4 equal portions. Shape one portion into an oval and dust with flour, shaking off excess. Run through pasta machine on setting 1. If needed, dust with more flour. Run through a second time. Run through setting 2, then again. Run through setting 3, then twice. Fold into thirds to make the ends flat and even. Run through settings again. Run through noodle setting. If needed, lightly dust noodles with flour. Drape over pasta drying rack or hanger.

Repeat for remaining portions of basil pasta dough. If eating that night, keep on rack until ready to boil. If making for a future meal, dry on rack for 24 hours. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to three months.

Ingredients and Recipe for Short Rib Bolognese Sauce
Adapted from Cooking for Keeps

  • 2 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds of beef short ribs
  • 10 ounces (~12 in number) baby carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup white or red wine
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28oz can whole tomatoes (San Marzano, preferably)
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup water

Saute chopped bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain all but 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat. Generously salt and pepper short ribs. Add ribs to Dutch oven and cook on all sides until crispy (about 12 minutes). Remove ribs to a plate and turn heat down a little.

While ribs are cooking, add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic to a food processor and process until almost a paste (this is your mirepoix). Add mirepoix and a half teaspoon salt to Dutch oven and cook until soft and slightly browned (about 10 minutes). Add milk or half and half and cook until almost fully evaporated. Add tomato paste and cook for one minute. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add sugar, spices, rest of salt, canned tomatoes, Parmesan rind, bacon, short ribs, and basil to pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for up to five hours (or until meat is falling off the bone).

Remove meat and rind and set aside. Increase heat to medium. Add water and noodles to pot and cover. Cook for 4 minutes if using fresh noodles, 10-12 if using dried. While noodles are cooking, shred short rib meat, discarding bones and membranes. Once noodles are done, add shredded short rib meat back to pot and stir to mix everything together. (Freeze bones for future stock!)


Ugly yet beautiful?! Clean-up is … splattery.

Serve with mounds of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped basil. Get ready to cancel all dinner plans over the ensuing few days in favor of leftovers.


Now go forth into your weekend and make something delicious!

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