I’ve had a craving for a meaty ragu ever since the weather started to turn cold and, as is typical with me, I was inspired to go with what looked beautiful at the meat counter as opposed to what I traditionally do with my meat sauces. My local grocery had some lovely beef bones with lots of meat on them and hefty country-style pork ribs on sale, so I grabbed a couple of the soup bones and a 3 pack of ribs and carted them home.
I also picked up a 4 pack of Italian sausages because, honestly, that’s just the mood I was in. Apparently, my body already thinks it needs to bulk up for the winter ahead. 🙂
This makes a humongous family or dinner size batch so if you want to reserve some of the ragu for freezing, only cook one pound of pasta and then freeze the rest of the sauce.
shredded beef and pork ragu recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 beef soup bones with meat – about 3/4 lb. each
- 3 pork loin country-style ribs, bone-in, about 1 lb. total
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 large garlic cloves
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 stalk celery
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth, preferably homemade
- 6 cups whole, peeled cooked Roma tomatoes with their juice
- 18 oz. tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 Salsiccia sausages (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups warm half and half
- 2 lbs. bucatini or other thick pasta
- Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
- Fresh parsley, minced, for serving
Season beef and pork all over with salt and pepper.
In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add beef bones and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per side, until well browned. Remove to a plate.
Add pork ribs and brown well on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove to plate.
If excessive grease, drain off leaving 1 teaspoon in pan. Be sure and try to leave all the crispy bits, because that’s where the flavor is. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat.
Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Saute over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes.
Add red wine, stirring and scraping the crispy meat bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce until wine has almost evaporated.
Add beef stock and bring to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add back beef bones and pork ribs.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste, hand-smashing the tomatoes as you add them.
Add grated nutmeg and stir everything together well, until tomato paste is well-incorporated.
Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours.
Using tongs, carefully remove beef and ribs to a plate.
If using, add sausages to the sauce.
Using 2 forks, shred the beef and pork from the bones. If desired, also scoop out any remaining marrow from the beef bones. Discard bones and any excess fat, and add beef, marrow, and pork back into the sauce.
Simmer for 1 more hour or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is nice and thick.
While the ragu is nearing its finished time, pour half and half into a small pan and heat until warmed through.
Cook pasta and drain.
Add hot half and half to sauce and stir well.
Toss hot pasta with sauce. Transfer everything to large bowl or platter, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and minced parsley and serve.
Like most homemade meat and tomato sauces, there’s some prep and long simmer time involved but it’s totally worth it. This is a rich and hearty sauce, full of flavor.
The sausages may take it into overdrive but again, so worth it. My husband made a fantastic sandwich with one of the sausages, some sauce, and French bread. What could possibly be bad about that, right?
As I always say, don’t be afraid to play with your food. If you’d rather lighten this up a bit, why not try using chicken and pork, or even some ground or shredded turkey. Or try replacing the sausages with chicken or turkey sausage. Don’t be a slave to specific recipes – mix them up to fit your tastes and lifestyle.
Winter is coming, so make it a warm, delicious one.