top of page

Authentic Homemade Short-rib Tomato Sauce

It's (still) winter here in NY, which is why I haven't posted in so long. But I've got the writing bug, and if a story (or recipe) is inside you, it has to come out.

With our pending fourth snowstorm in a couple of weeks looming, I spent a few hours on Sunday whipping up a batch of short-rib tomato sauce (sugo) from scratch.

Now, while the ingredients except for the basil are unfortunately not from my garden, I wanted to share this simple but delicious recipe as a great fall/winter recipe, well honestly, it's a great year-round recipe if you love homemade sauce. And who doesn't?

Makes: 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are

Prep: 15 minutes

Cooktime: 3 hours


8 short ribs

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

3-4 cloves of minced garlic

1 thinly sliced white onion

1 cup red wine (I used some of the homemade stuff)

2 (28oz) cans of tomato puree

.5 (14oz total) can of tomato sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh basil (topping)

Directions (with near step-by-step photo instruction)

1. Put 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a 6-8 quart dutch oven and heat on medium heat. Also, turn on your oven and preheat to 275 for gas stoves, 285 for electric.

2. Sprinkle each rib liberally with Kosher salt (easiest to grab with your fingers and control, thanks Alton Brown) and freshly cracked black pepper.

3. When the oil begins to shimmer, it's hot enough, place each rib in the pot and cook on each side of the rib. Turn each rib and ensure that each side gets a good taste of the Maillard Reaction.

4. Remove each rib and put them aside in a bowl or plate to rest while you cook the rest.

5. Lower the heat to medium-low and add in your sliced onions and stir around for a few seconds, then add in your wine to de-glaze the pot and get all the delicious bits mixed in.

6. Cook for a few minutes and then add in your garlic and continue to stir around for a minute. Once your liquid has reduced by half you are ready to add the meat back to the party.

7. Now add your tomato puree, sauce, and tomato paste and stir around until well mixed.

8. At this point, your oven should be preheated. Put a lid o the pot and add to your oven.

9. Set a timer for 3 hours and voila, delicious fall-off-the-bone ribs in a hearty sauce.

Yours truly, inspecting his sauce.

*You can also instead cook the sauce only on a stovetop by lowering your heat to a simmer and cooking for roughly 3.5 hours, but will have to check every 45 minutes to stir and prevent the bottom of the pot from browning.

bottom of page