As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we're making the effort to revisit some gold recipes and pick the brains that invented them. Today, it's co-founder Merrill Stubbs, on this low-effort, high-reward weeknight ragù (and others!).
Nikkitha Bakshani: When was the last time you made this dish?
Merrill Stubbs: In the fall and winter, I make this ragù, or something very similar, at least every other week (we're big on pasta in my house). The last time I made it was last weekend!
NB: You previously stated you'd eat this over baked potatoes, winter squash, and English muffins. What else?
MS: My favorite is actually a baked sweet potato (the sweet and salt/acid combo is A+). I also like it with polenta and it would be great as a topping for savory oatmeal!
NB: Name 5 different things you could do as you make this ragu?
MS: Play with my kids, watch an episode of Master of None, answer emails, catch up on some reading, make a cake!
NB: You published this recipe in 2010, when Food52 was a little fledgling. A lot has changed! Would you say this recipe has been a steady feature this whole time? (And are there others?)
MS: It has definitely been a steady feature in my life; the others I can think of off the top of my head that have stayed in rotation are these slow-cooked pork tacos, my mom's amazing banana bread, these ricotta crostini, and this applesauce cake. I think of them all as low-lift, high reward recipes—the results far outweigh the effort you put in.
NB: If this dish were a famous person, who would it be and why?
MS: It would have to be someone who speaks her mind, who understands and appreciates tradition but isn't overly concerned with staying inside that box. It's basically Mindy Kaling.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground meat (beef, lamb, pork, turkey, sausage, etc. or a combination)
- salt and pepper
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2/3 cup dry red wine
- 2 (28-ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices
- 1 handful fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, etc.)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
What are your Monday night recipes? Let us know in the comments!