This restaurant-quality Braised Beef and Tortelloni is loaded with tender chunks of beef in the most amazing Marsala wine sauce, and spooned over Asiago cheese tortelloni.
If you are like me – and you always order the Braised Beef and Tortelloni every time you eat out at Olive Garden – you are going to love today’s recipe!
I adore just about any meal made with tortellini or its larger cousin, tortelloni. (It’s my favorite pasta!) And this particular dish – made with beef short ribs that are braised until fork-tender and hearty chunks of Portobello mushrooms, all served with a super flavorful creamy Marsala wine sauce – makes my pasta-loving heart very happy!
After noticing that I always order the Braised Beef and Tortelloni every single time we go out to eat at Olive Garden, Jack suggested we try making a copycat recipe at home. And dare I say…our Braised Beef and Tortelloni is EVEN BETTER than the version at the restaurant? Yep – Jack totally nailed it!
I’m going to say right up front that this Braised Beef and Tortelloni isn’t a quick recipe, and it does take a little bit of time and effort to prepare. But if you follow our recipe below – you’ll be rewarded with a delicious pasta meal with deep, rich flavor that will have you tempted to lick then plate clean!
Using a quality Marsala wine in this recipe is important. Whatever you do, please don’t make this dish with the Marsala cooking wine you find on supermarket shelves – it just isn’t going to give you the flavor you want. Instead, buy a real Marsala drinking wine from a liquor store.
Additionally, this Braised Beef and Tortelloni recipe makes a generous amount – so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd, or for enjoying as leftovers the next day.
3-4 pounds short ribs, bone left on **see note below
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sweet onion diced, such as Vidalia
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 cup marsala wine (do not use the Marsala cooking wine from the supermarket, get real Marsala drinking wine)
1½ cups beef stock (store bought is fine, or see here)
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 large portabella mushroom caps *see note
2 plum tomatoes, cut into eight pieces
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup heavy cream
1 20-ounce package Asiago-filled fresh tortelloni (or any fresh cheese-filled tortelloni available at your market)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Salt and pepper all sides of the short ribs.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed oven proof pot with an oven proof lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the beef ribs and sear on all six sides for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the seared meat to a platter and pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat remaining in the pan but do not discard the remaining fat. More will be used later in this recipe.
Add the onions and sauté for three minutes. Add the basil and cook for one more minute then add the marsala wine.
Reduce by half then add the beef stock, water and the bay leaf and add the seared ribs back into the pan. The liquid will not cover the tops of the beef. Cover and place in the oven for two hours, untouched.
While the beef is braising, in a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved beef fat and once hot, add the mushrooms. Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until tender.
Add the tomatoes, cook for one minute then add the balsamic vinegar. Cook for one more minute and remove from heat. Set aside.
After two hours, remove the pot from the oven and pick the beef pieces out to your cutting board with tongs. The bones should slip right off and be discarded. Once they are cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife and remove fat and gristle from the beef. Cut the remaining beef pieces against the grain into slices.
Place a large pot of water on to cook the tortelloni while you finish the dish. The tortelloni takes about 6-7 minutes to cook, assuming you are using fresh.
In a small sauté pan, melt butter and once melted, add flour. Cook for three minutes over medium heat and then remove from heat.
Heat the liquid left in the pot of beef over medium high and once it starts to boil, add the butter and flour mixture and whisk to combine. Once thickened, add heavy cream and whisk again. Add cooked sliced beef and cooked mushrooms and tomatoes from earlier. Stir to combine.
Drain the cooked tortelloni and add back into the pot it was cooked in and add a little of the finished sauce to coat.
Pour the tortelloni into a serving platter and pour the finished braised beef over the top.
Garnish with some chopped fresh basil.
*To prepare the portabella mushroom caps, remove stem if present and discard. Use a soup spoon and scoop out the dark ribs and also discard. Cut up the remaining cleaned mushroom cap into ½ inch sized pieces. After cleaning and cutting, you should have about 6 ounces or approximately two cups.
**3½ pounds of bone-in short ribs will yield one pound of usable meat. The rest are bones and scrap after cooked.
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