Beef Short Ribs, Three Ways over Three Days

This is one of my ‘cook smarter not harder’ recipes because truthfully, it’s how I’m cooking these days as a mum with a baby but also as I get lazy/cosy over winter. Currently, I physically and mentally can’t cook everyday, but I also don’t want to eat the same thing everyday.
I’m taking one big pot of slow cooked beef short ribs, but showing you how to serve it three different ways over three days, by layering over a few different ingredients each day to make the meals slightly different, still interesting and hopefully family friendly. I chose a ragu too because they only improve in flavour over time and multiple days, so the sauce just gets better and better.




Day 1 Recipe: Beef Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta

I would make this dish on a weekend or when you’re doing a day mostly at home. It takes about 45 minutes to prep and cook it, but then you can set and forget it for 3 hours in the oven after. I’ve opted to serve this with polenta because it’s so quick to make (literally 5 minutes) but mashed potato is also a great option, it just takes a lot longer to make. This is also a great dish for entertaining as you can also cook the ribs the day before and serve.  I also made a salad and quickly pan fried some asparagus as sides for a lunch for four, but you could also just enjoy the beef and polenta on its own.


Serves: 4 if making this and eating it over three days, otherwise if making this recipe alone, it would easily feed 8 ppl.

Ingredients: 20

Skill Level: Easy

Cooking time: 45 minutes prep/cooking time, 3.5hrs slow cooking in oven




Beef Short Ribs

  • 8-10 (3kg) beef short ribs
  • ½ cup of plain flour- to dust the meat
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1 sticks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 bottle of red wine. You’re going to use half the bottle for the sauce and the other half to enjoy once it’s done.
  • Optional, herbs of your choice- I used a mix of thyme, rosemary and oregano from my garden. 
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes or 1 bottle of passata
  • 4 bay leaves, optional
  • ½ a block of Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheese. You’re going to use the rind for the sauce and grate the rest for serving.
  • 1-2 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce or salt
  • 1 bunch of basil- the stalks for the sauce, the leaves for the basil slurry for the next day’s recipe
  • Optional, above basil or flat parsley, finely chopped for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • 1-2 cups of polenta, 
  • 3-4 cups of chicken stock or water
  • Dash of milk, optional
  • 1 cup of parmigiano reggiano, microplaned. Optional but it does make the polenta tastier. Add more to your liking.


  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees celsius.
  2. Place the ribs onto a tray and dust all sides of the meat with flour until fully coated. Shake off excess.
  3. Heat a large pot with some oil and once hot, begin to sear all sides of the ribs until golden brown. Cook only a couple of ribs at a time so to not overcrowd the pot otherwise you won’t get nice browning, as the oil will reduce in temperature and you’ll end up steaming your meat instead. Once golden brown, place onto a tray.
  1. Heat the same pot you seared the ribs in with some oil and once hot, add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and cook on medium for 5-19 minutes until the onions become translucent and the sofrito is fragrant. 
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute until fully mixed through and turns from red to a deeper brown.
  3. Add the red wine and allow to cook off and reduce for 2 minutes.
  1. Add your tomatoes/passata to the pot and then add in the ribs.
  2. Add in your parmesan rind (if you have one), bay leaves and any remaining herbs you might have on hand. I normally use thyme, oregano and basil stalks. Add in stock or water to ensure all of the ribs are fully submerged. You can also add in the fish sauce/salt at this point or you can leave that until the very end to season if you’re trying to reduce sodium (for baby solids).
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and place into your oven and cook for approximately 3 hours at 150 degrees celcius or until the rib bones easily comes off from the meat. Check in with with the ragu every hour as slow cooking times fluctuate from oven to oven. Also move the ribs around and give the the sauce a stir whilst you’re at it.
  4. Once the meat is tender, you can serve. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. 
  5. Cook the polenta as per the instructions. I normally heat my stock in a pan until boiling before slowly pouring in the polenta and stirring quickly to prevent lumps. I add in dashes of milk (optional) and stir in the cheese at the very end before serving immediately whilst hot.
  6. To serve, spoon a big ladle of polenta onto a plate, then top with 1-2 pieces of beef and spoon a generous ladle of the sauce.
  7. Top with fresh chopped parsley or basil and serve immediately.

After the meal: Once the ragu has cooled down and you’ve made this recipe, you’ll need to keep the leftovers overnight in the fridge.  The easiest way I prep this is by removing the bones from the remaining ribs as well as any other items that you no longer want in your sauce such as: bay leaves, herb stalks and parmesan rind. I then transfer the ragu into a smaller pot that fits in the fridge, plus can then be used to re-heat the ragu the next day.



Day 2 Recipe: Beef Short Rib Ragu with Rigatoni and Basil Slurry



A really quick and easy way to serve the beef short ribs if you’ve made it the day before. I recommend serving it with the basil slurry as it’s quick to whip up, uses up and leftover/wilting basil but can also be made ahead of time and last a few days in the fridge. I also think it goes really nicely with the richness of the ragu and clings to the rigatoni really beautifully. 



Ingredients: 6

Skill Level: Easy

Cooking time: 15 minutes




  • 3-4 cups of yesterday’s beef short ribs
  • 400g of rigatoni pasta (allow 100g of pasta p/person)
  • Extra parmigiano reggiano for 

Basil slurry 

  • Small bunch of basil
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • Generous pinch of salt



  1. The next day, remove the pot of ragu from the fridge and heat until just about to boil before lowering to a slow simmer. Use two forks if you need to further pull apart the meat into smaller pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, boil your pasta until al dente.
  3. Whilst the pasta is boiling and the ragu is heating, quickly make the basil slurry but adding all ingredients into a food processor and blitzing until slurry likes. Add more oil to thin it out to a consistency that you can spoon it over like a salsa. Set aside for serving.
  4. Heat a pan with oil and once hot, ladle 4 big ladles of the ragu mixture into the hot pan, reserving about 1 cup of ragu for the next day’s recipe. Stir until it bubbles back to boiling point.
  5. Add your pasta to the pan with the ragu and gently toss to coat in the sauce. Add in ladles of pasta water to help bind the sauce.Cook for another minute so the pasta can absorb the ragu sauce and then plate.
  6. Top with the basil slurry and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.


Day 3 Recipe: A Pasta e Fagioli-esque meal with the last of the ragu

This is a riff on pasta e fagioli using the residual sauce, but stretching it out by adding in canned beans and kale to bolster up the sauce making it more nutrient dense, comforting and turning it into a new pasta. I love adding in double the usual pasta water so it’s more soupy like a minestrone, especially in winter as it works so well with the pasta shape, the beans and kale, but you can also reduce it down to your liking.

Serves:  4

Ingredients: 4

Skill Level: Easy

Cooking time: 15 minutes



  • 1 cup worth of the residual ragu sauce
  • 400g of ditaloni pasta (or any pasta that resembles small short tubes like a macaroni)
  • 1 can of butter beans, drained
  • 1 bunch of tuscan kale/cavolo nero, leaves removed from stalks and roughly chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of parmigiano reggiano, for serving



  1. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the ragu and as it starts to boil, add in the beans, stirring for a few minutes to create a thick sauce.
  3. Then add in the kale handfuls (these will shrink over time) at a time and cook for a further few minutes. 
  4. Add in the pasta and a few generous ladles of pasta water. I like to add in more than you would and make this pasta almost soupy lime a minestrone, but add to your liking.
  5. Cook for a further 2 minutes before topping with parmigiano reggiano and serving immediately.


Watch the Process



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