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Ragu alla napoletana Meat Sauce from Naples

Serves 6                      

While the ragu from Bologna has meat and barely any tomato, this version from Naples is tomato sauce flavored with only a little meat.  Most Neapolitans cook the meat in the sauce, remove it, and serve it after the pasta.  But if you want the meat in the sauce, you can start with chopped meat, or you can chop the meat after it has been cooked and return it to the sauce as many Italian Americans do.  Neapolitans usually serve this sauce over ziti, but you can also use rigatoni or fusilli.

1/3 cup olive oil
1½ pounds beef brisket or chuck, in one piece
½ pound boneless veal shoulder, in one piece
½ pound boneless pork shoulder, in one piece
Salt
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ cup dry red wine
2 cans (28 ounces each) plum tomatoes with juice, chopped or pulsed in a food processor (Stetson note: San Marzano tomatoes)
Pinch of chile pepper flakes (optional)
Meat stock, if needed
Freshly ground black pepper

FOR SERVING
1 pound dried ziti, cooked
Grated pecorino cheese

In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add all the meats and sprinkle with salt.  When the meats have given up their juices, after about 15 minutes, add the onion and stir well.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meats are browned and the onion is golden.  This might take as long as 15 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until it is absorbed into the meats, about 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and the chile pepper flakes (if using) and stir well.  Cover partially and simmer, stirring often, for 2½ hours.  Check from time to time to see if more liquid is needed, adding stock or water if necessary to prevent scorching.  At this point, the sauce should be thick and the juices should coat a spoon.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and reserve for another dish, or chop it and return it to the sauce.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.  Pass the cheese at the table.

WINE:  Stay local with an Aglianico from Campania.  Look for Taurasi from Mastroberardino or Feudi San Gregorio.

From Italian Slow and Savory by Joyce Goldstein
                                      

Category:Battersea Confidential -- posted at: 9:28am PDT