From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Tomato Sauces for Pasta
Slow-simmered Italian meat sauce—the kind without meatballs—relies on pork for rich flavor. But the pork found in supermarkets is so lean, we weren’t convinced that any of the options could provide enough fat and flavor. So we set out to make a rich, flavorful meat sauce with fall-off-the-bone tender meat that was made from readily available supermarket products.
Today’s pork chops turn dry and leathery when cooked for long periods, so instead we used a fattier cut. Country-style pork ribs turn meltingly tender when cooked for a long time and gave our tomato sauce a truly meaty flavor. Beef short ribs can also be used, but since they tend to be thicker than pork ribs, it’s important to remember to let them cook a little longer. Red wine accentuated the meatiness of the sauce, which was built on a simple combination of sautéed onion and canned diced tomatoes.
3 1/2 cups (to sauce 1 lb of pasta)
This sauce can be made with either beef or pork ribs. Depending on their size, you will need 4 or 5 ribs. To prevent the sauce from becoming greasy, trim all external fat from the ribs and drain off most of the fat from the skillet after browning. This thick, rich, robust sauce is best with tubular pasta, such as rigatoni, ziti, or penne. Pass grated Pecorino (especially nice with pork) or Parmesan cheese at the table. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.