This is my son’s hands-down favorite fall and winter meal. In fact, he recently called to ask if I would make him some, freeze it, and ship it to him. Which I did. He likes to add barbecue sauce to it now and then to make pulled pork sandwiches.
This benefits most from the “lesser” cuts of meat, either beef or pork, such as short ribs or a brisket or shoulder. They are loaded with lots and lots of collagen which breaks down during the long, slow braise. The result is something you can literally shred with your fingers.
Don't throw up your hands when you see the cook time. A ragú is a perfect Sunday food. Your house will smell fantastic and your family will love you. Even more than they already do. Be sure to use a good, substantial pasta with it. Trottole or a hearty pappardelle work beautifully.
several as an hors d'oeuvre, 4 for dinner with leftovers
Heat a large oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shortribs and brown them well on both sides. Remove them to a plate.
Add the onions to the pot and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and garlic. Sauté until very fragrant. Add wine to deglaze any stuck-on browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Reduce wine by about half. Add the tomatoes and their juices.
Cover pot and transfer it to the oven. Allow the meat and vegetables to braise for 3 to 5 hours so that the meat becomes beautifully tender and becomes shredable. After about 3 hours test it by removing a piece and seeing if you can pull it into shreds with a fork.
When done, remove pot from oven and lift shortribs out onto a cutting board. Let them cool until you can comfortably shred the meat apart with your fingers. Try to resist the temptation to stick them in the fridge to cool. There is a chance that the meat will firm up enough that it will be difficult to shred. Also try to resist the temptation to eat more of than you save. Pulling it apart by hand lets you remove any pieces of fat and discard them.
Return shredded meat to the pot and reheat everything. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes.
Cook pasta in boiling water with salt added. When done, drain and either spoon into individual bowls or pour it into one large one. Top with the ragú and prepare for a heavenly experience.