Pici with Short-Rib Ragu

pici with short rib ragu
Photo: Paola + Murray
Prep Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 45 mins
6 to 8 Serves

These twirlable strands known as pici (pronounced "peachy") are fatter than spaghetti, and are a winning shape for pasta-making beginners and kids. While you play with the dough, the short ribs braise in the oven until they're fall-apart tender and saucy enough to coat the noodles—and melt in your mouth.


  • 2 pounds boneless country-style short ribs

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (1 cup)

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (1 cup)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)

  • 2 rosemary sprigs

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¾ cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, for serving

  • 1 recipe Eggless Pasta Dough

  • Flour, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. When it shimmers, add ribs in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. (Brown in two batches, if necessary.)

  2. Transfer short ribs to a plate; discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden in places, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cinnamon.

  3. Add wine and boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until mostly evaporated. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Return ribs and any accumulated juices to pot; bring to a boil. Partially cover, transfer to oven, and roast until meat is fork-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Ragu can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 4 months.)

  4. On a lightly floured surface, cut pasta dough in half. Roll one piece out to an approximately 4-by-12-inch rectangle (keeping other half wrapped); brush top with oil. Starting from one short end, cut into scant 1/4-inch-wide strips.

  5. On a clean surface (preferably a wooden board), roll each strip out to an 18-to-22-inch-long strand with flattened palms (pasta should resemble bucatini or extra-thick spaghetti). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet dusted with flour (preferably semolina). Repeat with remaining dough.

  6. Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente, 4 to 5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain. Return ragu pot to medium-low heat; remove and discard rosemary. Using two forks, shred meat into bite-size pieces. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water to ragu, tossing to combine.

  7. Cook, gently tossing a few more times, and adding more pasta water a little at a time if necessary, until sauce clings evenly to pasta, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer pasta to bowls and garnish with parsley, cheese, and a drizzle of oil before serving.

Cook's Notes

Don't worry too much about making the pici the same length; it's more important to keep the thickness consistent (and remember, they'll expand as they cook).

The pici can be shaped and frozen on a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with semolina flour. Once firm, transfer to a resealable bag and freeze up to one month. Boil from frozen, adding two to three minutes to the cooking time.

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