Make Ahead

Calabrian Ragu(Sunday Sauce)

January 23, 2018
0 Ratings
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

My kitchen is an Italian kitchen, but I am American. My Italian husband is to thank for this and luckily it is my passion to learn and to research about food. We go to Calabria every summer to visit the sea because "it's good for the babies." Incidentally, I didn't get this recipe while there, I came across many ragu recipes on my quest for having my own "original." You'll see that there is Worcestershire Sauce here, which sounds dreadful and out of place, but it is very near and dear to 'garum,' an ancient fermented fish sauce used by the Romans. My research led me to experiment with this ancient-turned modern ingredient and incorporate it into more modern Italian cuisine. The recipe is simple and forgiving. I also use it in my lasagne, but that is another recipe altogether. Enjoy. —Cassie Jones

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef rib tips
  • 1 pound pork rib tips
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 liter old red wine(the stuff you didn't finish last week, sitting on the counter for just such an occasion)
  • 1/2 liter tomato sauce(sugo)
  • 1/2 liter water, plus more for later
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 pounds high quality dry pasta with ridges to hold the sauce(penne rigate, pipe rigate, cavatappi, rigatoni)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons course salt
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano to finish
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven.
  2. Brown all of the meat with the onions.
  3. Add salt, wine, tomato sauce, and water.
  4. Bring to simmer and turn the temperature down to low. Cover and let simmer for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally and stirring to prevent the sauce from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. Add water if the sauce becomes too dry.
  5. Check the tenderness of the meat at the three-hour mark. If the meat begins to fall apart when crushed on the side of the pot it is ready.
  6. Hold the pot in one hand and using the back of a large wooden spoon, in the other, smash the meat onto the side of the pan in turns until the consistency of the meat is "shredded." Make sure to leave a few bigger pieces.
  7. Add Worcestershire sauce and simmer for another ten minutes uncovered, over medium heat to thicken. While the sauce is finishing, bring a large pot of water to boil and salt generously.
  8. Cook the pasta to just under 'al dente." Drain but reserve about a cup of pasta water in case you need it later.
  9. Return the pasta to the boiling pot and add the ragu on top of it. Put the burner on medium-low heat and mix while cooking about five minutes. If you notice the pasta is not cooking further and sauce is too dry, add some of the pasta water and continue until the pasta is al dente.
  10. Serve immediately and top with Parmigiano Reggiano.
  11. (Alternatively, you can use this ragu to layer inside lasagna.)
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