TAGLIATELLE AL RAGU ALLA NAPOLETANA (aka “Sunday gravy,” for four to six)

 Pasta, tagliatelle al ragu alla Napoletana 1  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the tomato sauce:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large red onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tablespoon dried

two 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed through a food mill or by hand

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pork braciole:

five 6 ounce pieces pork shoulder, pounded thinly to yield 6 y 8 inch long slices

5 tablespoons grated orange zest

5 tablespoons grated pecorino

5 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

butcher’s twine or heavy duty kitchen string

For the meatballs:

3 cups day-old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup milk

¾ pound ground veal

¾ pound ground pork

2 eggs, beaten

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped fine to yield ¼ cup

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the ragu:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 pieces pork ribs

salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 chicken thighs

five 5-inch pieces sweet Italian sausage

5 pieces pork braciole

5 meatballs

1 cup red wine

6 cups tomato sauce


  1. Make the tomato sauce: In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the thyme, tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is as thick as hot cereal, and season with salt and pepper
  1. Make the braciole: Season each piece of pork on one side with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, pecorino and parsley.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto the center of the seasoned side of one piece of pork.  Starting at one end, carefully roll the pork to form a very thick cigar.  Wind a long piece of string around the roll many times and secure with a knot.  Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of pork.  Set aside.
  1. Make the meatballs: In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in milk for a few minutes.  Using your hands, break apart the bread into small pieces.
  1. In a large bowl, combine the veal, pork, eggs, bread and milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Use your hands to form the mixture into meatballs.  Set aside.
  1. Make the ragu: In a heavy bottomed 8 quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until just smoking.
  1. Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper. Brown all sides of each rib, remove and set aside on a plate.  Repeat browning process with chicken thighs, sausages, braciole and meatballs.
  1. When the meat is browned, remove and deglaze the pan with red wine.  Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Return ribs, thighs, sausage, braciole and meatballs to the pot, return to a boil, and lower heat to a  high simmer.  Cover with the lid and simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove meats to a serving platter and keep warm.  Serve sauce with tagliatelle separately.

adapted from Mario Batali, on the Food Network

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