Gnocchi con Ragu di Costine (Short Ribs)

2 hours
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


For the Ragu:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef short ribs (on bone)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 28 ounce cans peeled plum tomatoes, puréed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmigiano

For Fresh Gnocchi:

  • 9 Russet or Idaho potatoes, scrubbed (about 6+ pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 cups flour (plus additional for dusting)
  • Salt

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  1. Begin the ragu. If using fresh gnocchi, start preparing them after the ragu has been set to simmer.

For Fresh Gnocchi:

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, or for about 90 minutes. While still hot, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the middle. When cooled, pass the potato through a potato grater. Add the white pepper and then the egg yolk. Add about 1 cup of flour to the mixture. Mix thoroughly with a fork or pastry cutter and then form a ball. On a well-floured work surface, knead and fold mixture until the flour is incorporated, adding another 1 to 2 cups along the way. The dough should not feel sticky, so add a little more flour if necessary. Cover with flour and let rest for five minutes. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece into a long tube of about 1 inch thick and then cut into lengths about 1 inch long. Next, use a fork to make each piece into the shape of gnocchi, by rolling each piece up and down the tines of the fork. (If you do not plan to use the gnocchi within an hour or so, freeze them until ready.)

For the Ragu

  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the short ribs and sear all sides. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until golden. Add the short ribs, and after a couple of minutes, add the tomato, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly, until thickened and meat is tender or is incorporated into the sauce. If too thick, add a bit of water so that the meat can continue to simmer until tender.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Cook the gnocchi and drain. Place the pasta in a serving bowl and coat with sauce. Serve with grated Parmigiano.
  5. Remove the ribs to a separate platter, and serve alongside or after the pasta.


1 pound gnocchi (fresh or frozen) will work for this recipe.

Ed's Review

I wish I were a dog.  Actually, sometimes I think I am one.  You see, dogs and I are simpatico; we connect.  They are man's best friend, after all, and so this shouldn’t be a surprise.  In fact,  it's folly to think that thousands of years of domesticity have been a one-way street.  We are probably all a lot more like dogs than we think.

Personally, I like to consider myself a German Shepard, but, in truth, I'm probably more of a Black Lab, sniffing around and wagging my tail (although I do have a few pit bull tendencies).  I'm married to a Poodle, intelligent and poised, but also very happy with a fresh coif, some bling on the collar, and fancy pom poms on her paws. Obviously, this makes our daughter a very spirited and graceful Labradoodle puppy. And my son, well, somehow, he's growing up to be a big and gentle Great Dane.  (As a rule, we stay away from Dobermans and Chihuahuas.)

As a kid, my  favorite dog was my grandfather's German Shepard, Alex.  A tough city dog, he came to visit on one very hot summer afternoon. My grandfather forgot his food, and so Alex ate a delicious bowl of rigatoni and meatballs. That was his last meal. (Note: Dogs cannot tolerate pasta in tomato sauce.) He was soon replaced by Alex the Second, who never tasted pasta.

So enjoy today's pasta with short ribs. And if you're inclined to share it with man's best friend, be an even better friend, and give him only the bones.

Buon Appetito!
Ed Garrubbo

3 thoughts on “Gnocchi con Ragu di Costine (Short Ribs)”

  1. Dog-gone it, Ed. You’ve done it again. I can just taste the short ribs ragu (and I’d rather taste yours than most restaurant versions). Simple. Undoubtedly delicious. Grazie.

  2. Oh my!!!I laughed out loud about Alex. I was terrified of both of them and It was great to remember Alex the second. Recently some family members had no recollection of dear Alex II. Grandma always acted like she did not care for the Alex’s but she cared for them and loved them. Thank God I am not a dog so I can enjoy your fabulous recipe. Loved the references of the family God Bless You Aunt Linda


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