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Playing Christmas Pasta


For the Short Rib Ragu:
  • For the Short Rib Ragu:
  • 1 pound hot or sweet sausage (homemade or store-bought), removed from casing
  • 6 meaty short ribs about 4 inches long
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 2 small ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • A few juniper berries, optional
  • 3 cups Barolo wine
  • 6 cups veal or beef stock
  • 1 28- or 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • Herb bundle of a few stems of parsley, 1 stem rosemary and a few stems of sage, tied with string
For the Pasta:
  • For the Pasta: 1 1/2 to 2 pounds dry pasta of choice
  • A few handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (nutty, salty) or Pecorino Romano (tangy, salty), for serving


Serves: 8-10


Bring meat to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center of the oven.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add 2 two rounds of the pan olive oil and brown sausage. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate.   

Pat short ribs dry and season with Kosher salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, 3 at a time, in the sausage drippings; remove to a plate. Color is flavor so take care to get a good crust on meat. Reduce heat a bit and add vegetables, bay and juniper berries to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and cook to soften, 8-10 minutes partially covered, stirring occasionally. Add wine, scape up bits from bottom of pan and reduce by half. Add stock and tomatoes, slide ribs and sausage back into sauce and bring to low boil. Add herb bundle and transfer to oven. Roast 2 1/2 to 3 hours until very tender.

Cool meat in sauce to room temperature then transfer to refrigerator. Chill to separate fat then skim sauce. Remove meat from bones, discard connective tissue and shred meat with 2 forks; return to sauce. 
Heat sauce over medium heat, partially covered. Cook pasta to al dente in boiling, salted water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining pasta.

Toss pasta with reserved cooking water, a little good butter and a few ladles of the sauce then top with  more meat ragu and cheese. Serve with a large romaine and baby kale salad with shaved fennel, toasted hazelnuts, pomegranate and balsamic vinaigrette alongside.