A rich, thick, and meaty tomato sauce may not be entirely appropriate this time of year (unless you happen to live in Australia) but I’ve been wanting to post this for weeks. Personally, I can eat this stuff by the spoonful day or night, summer or winter. It’s that good. I came up with this playing around in the kitchen and it’s too simple to be ingenious. I doubt I’m the first one to concoct a sauce that uses a whole can of tomato paste and glugs and glugs of red wine, which is all this ragu is about. I’m a big believer in keeping things simple and some of the best food in the world–like pizza and pasta–require the least number of ingredients and happen to be Italian.
I use pork in my recipe because I find it more flavourful than beef. You can use a mixture of pork and beef, or just use beef. It’s also fantastic with some shredded pork. For the wine, a sweet, heavier bodied wine is the best. I love Sweet Red by Barefoot, but a Malbec or Pinot Noir would be appropriate, especially if you’re going to use it in the recipe for lasagna–which is the next recipe I’m working on. The sweetness of the wine works really well with the tomato paste, and yes, you do need a whole can because the concentrated flavour of tomatoes is what we’re looking for here, and it’s also what gives the sauce it’s heft.
Because the ragu is quite thick, it’s best served with broad noodles or other thicker pasta like farfalle or rigatoni.
Rich Pork and Red Wine Ragu
Makes about 6 cups
1 pound ground pork
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sweet red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1) Brown ground pork in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper.
2) Add garlic and fry until garlic starts to turn golden. Transfer meat into a large pot and mix in tomato paste with a wooden spoon until well combined. Pour in red wine and stir to combine. Throw in basil leaves.
3) Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the alcohol is cooked off and wine is reduced.
4) Serve with a heavier pasta, like pappardelle or farfalle. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves and a few gratings of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.