Rustic Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce with Meat

From Tomato Sauces for Pasta

Rustic Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce with Meat
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Why This Recipe Works

For a rich meat sauce using today’s lean pork, we relied on a fattier cut like country-style pork ribs, which turned meltingly tender when cooked and gave the tomato sauce a truly meaty flavor. Beef short ribs were also good, but since they...

Why This Recipe Works

For a rich meat sauce using today’s lean pork, we relied on a fattier cut like country-style pork ribs, which turned meltingly tender when cooked and gave the tomato sauce a truly meaty flavor. Beef short ribs were also good, but since they tend to be thicker than pork ribs, we cooked them a little longer when preparing our traditional Italian meat sauce recipe.

Ingredients

Instructions

Makes about 3 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb pasta

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN 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.
  1. 1. Heat oil in 12-inch, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, turning occasionally with tongs, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer ribs to plate; pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet. Add onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until wine reduces to a glaze, about 2 minutes.

  2. 2. Return ribs and accumulated juices to skillet; add tomatoes and reserved juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, turning ribs several times, until meat is very tender and falling off the bones, 1 1/2 hours (for pork spareribs or country-style ribs) to 2 hours (for beef short ribs).

  3. 3. Transfer ribs to clean plate. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and shred with fingers, discarding fat and bones. Return shredded meat to sauce in skillet. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. To serve, toss sauce with drained pasta.

Watch the Full Episode

Season 1, Ep. 101
Tomato Sauces for PastaSeason 1, Ep. 101

Learn how to make a flavorful tomato sauce any time of the year. We explain why the best meatless sauces are also the fastest—and better than anything that comes out of a jar.