Slow Cooker Short Rib Sauce with Bucatini

IMG_0890 (575x353)Carbs, be damned. I can’t go too long without my beloved pasta!

It won’t be long before the warm weather arrives (please?) with salads and summer fare on the menu. But, here on the Cape, spring days are still fairly chilly. Soup and comfort food are still what’s for dinner.

A local Italian restaurant has the most wonderful Bucatini Bolognese on its menu. It’s hard for me to order anything else whenever we dine there. Their Bolognese is pretty traditional with a mix of beef, pork, and veal while this recipe calls strictly for beef in the form of short ribs. I decided as soon as I could get my hands on some bucatini I was going to make it. On my next shopping trip, lo and behold, I discovered that my local supermarket carries bucatini—score!

You make the short ribs in a slow cooker, first searing them and then throwing the ribs and most of the other ingredients into the slow cooker. Then, 5 or 6 hours later when the beef is tender, you shred it with a fork and throw it back in with some remaining seasonings. Cook your pasta, serve with a green salad (and some crusty rolls since you’re having pasta anyway—what the heck), and the Italian restaurant can do without you for the evening.

One year ago: Cadbury Cream Egg Cookie Cups

Two years ago: Fish Tacos with Tequila Lime Aioli

Three years ago: Smoked Salmon in Phyllo Cups

Slow Cooker Short Rib Sauce with Bucatini

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  • 2 tbl. canola oil
  • 8 beef short ribs
  • 3 tbl. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 12 oz.cremini mushrooms, chopped (I couldn’t find them, so just used regular mushrooms)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (about 1/4 cup minced)
  • 1 (28-oz.) can tomato puree
  • 1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for topping (I used Romano)
  • 1 pound bucatini pasta, cooked al dente


Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add canola oil. Season the short ribs with the salt and pepper then lightly coat them with the flour. Add the short ribs to the pot (you may need to do this in two batches) and sear until golden on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove the short ribs and add them to the slow cooker.

Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, beef stock and red wine to the slow cooker with the ribs. Stir in the oregano and thyme until well distributed. Cook on high for the first hour; then cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

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After cooking on low for 5 to 6 hours, remove the ribs with a pair of kitchen tongs (keep the sauce covered) and let them slightly cool until you can touch them. Remove the beef from the ribs and add it back to the slow cooker. Add in the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cheese. Stir well and cook for another hour on low heat. You may not need to go the full hour if the consistency is to your liking. (Mine was thick enough in 45 minutes.) Remove the thyme sprigs.

Before serving, try the sauce and season to taste if you prefer more salt and pepper. Serve over bucatini and top with extra cheese.

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Source: Adapted recipe from How Sweet It Is

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