Port Braised Short Rib Ragu

Elevate ragu with wine, incredibly tender beef and a bed of creamy polenta.


  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup port wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Grated Parmesan and chopped Italian parsley for garnish
  • For the Parmesan polenta:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese


  1. Preheat a large no-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season ribs with salt and pepper to coat, and brown meat in batches on all sides until golden brown.
  3. Transfer meat to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. To the skillet, add the onion, carrot and celery, seasoning with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables until soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir into the vegetables until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Next, add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, scraping up any browned bits from skillet. Allow the sauce to reduce by 1/3 before transferring to the slow cooker, about 6 minutes
  4. Add the tomatoes, cheese rind and thyme followed by a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high heat until meat is fork-tender, 6 hours.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a cutting board. Using a ladle or large spoon, skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. With two forks, shred meat and return to cooking liquid.
  6. Serve over Parmesan polenta.
  7. For the Parmesan polenta:
  8. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  9. Add the milk, half & half, garlic, polenta and salt to the pot and stir continuously until the polenta becomes thick and creamy, 10-12 minutes. Add additional milk if the mixture thickens too quickly.
  10. Add the grated Parmesan and mascarpone and continue stirring until the cheese has melted into the polenta.
  11. Remove from the heat and serve immediately, smothered in the short rib ragu.
  12. Garnish with fresh parsley and more grated Parmesan.