Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rustic Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce with Meat

3/2000 from Cook's Illustrated.

This is a great cold weather dish, it's one of those recipes that takes a long time to cook, so you get to hang out by the warm stove stirring the fragrant sauce while it cooks down for several hours. I ended up adding a bay leaf, and about 1 cup of stock towards the end as the sauce really cooked down and got very thick. I also added 4 cloves of garlic with the ribs at the start and they cooked down into the sauce very nicely.

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.

3 1/2 cups (to sauce 1 lb of pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds beef short ribs , or pork spareribs or country-style ribs, trimmed of fat

Table salt and ground black pepper
1 medium onion , minced
1/2 cup red wine

(28 ounce) can whole tomatoes , drained, juice reserved, tomatoes chopped fine

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. 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. 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.

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