This is comfort food at its very best. And it’s easy to make, although it’s not a work night meal. It’s a weekend night meal, because it cooks for about 2 1/2 hours. But, oh my, is it good!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder or boneless pork country ribs. You can use other meat if you don’t eat pork, like lamb or beef or even chicken, although with chicken you will cook it for less time.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- fresh rosemary, fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) thyme
- red wine, like chianti or zinfandel or a hearty table red
- 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- package of dried pappardelle noodles (they are the wide ones) – you will use about 2/3 of a 1 lb. package
- 5 tablespoons butter
- fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
Here’s what you do:
Cut as much fat as you can off the meat, and cut it into 2 or 3-inch chunks. In a very large skillet, brown the meat in a little olive oil.
Add the herbs and the chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook over medium low heat, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are a bit softened, about 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of the red wine to the skillet. Let it boil over medium heat until the wine cooks down to a few tablespoons and intensifies in flavor.
Add the tomatoes and enough water to just cover the meat. Bring to a simmer.
Turn the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook, stirring now and then, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If it starts to go dry, add a bit of water, although it’s more likely to be a bit soupy. If that’s the case, uncover it for awhile toward the end of cooking. When the meat is falling apart, turn off the heat. (If you used a cut of meat with bones, this is the time to pull all the meat off with forks and discard the bones.)
When the meat sauce is nearly done, put on a pot of salted water to boil for the noodles. When it boils, put the noodles in and cook on high for 7 minutes. I like to stir or lift the noodles with tongs several times while they’re cooking – it keeps them from sticking together or to the bottom. Then pull one out to taste – they should be soft but not mushy. When they’re done, take a couple tablespoons of the cooking water and stir it into the meat sauce. Then drain the noodles in a colander.
If the meat sauce has cooled, heat it back up. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir the 5 tablespoons butter and a good handful of grated Parmesan into the sauce. Then empty the drained noodles into the sauce and toss it well.
You’re good to go. Heap a good serving into a wide bowl for each of you, sprinkle a little more grated Parmesan over and pour a couple glasses of red. Light the candles. Yum!… it’s a rib-sticking, seriously delicious winter meal.