It’s easy enough to batch-cook a great big pot of Bolognese sauce and freeze it away in portions, but here is a simple ragù for two, which requires a tiny amount of actual work and results in deep, slow-cooked flavour. The classic accompaniment is a ribbon pasta such as pappardelle or tagliatelle.
550 g/19 oz. bone-in pork ribs (spare ribs), cut into individual ribs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
50 ml/1⅔ fl oz./3. tbsp red or white wine, or water
400-g/14-oz. can chopped tomatoes
200–250 g/7–9 oz. (depending on appetite) dried pappardelle
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, to serve (see note)
Season the ribs. Heat the oil in a medium casserole, one with a lid, and fry the ribs till brown all over – about 8 minutes. I find they have a tendency to stick at first, so leave them undisturbed for 2–3 minutes and you should find they release. The object in any case is to get them nicely browned, at which point remove to a bowl.
Add the onion and sizzle till brown, 3–4 minutes, then add the garlic and rosemary for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine, and deglaze any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, then the tomatoes, seasoning and ribs.
Bring to the boil, cover and roast in a 130°C fan/150°C/300°F oven for about 1. hours (no need to preheat your oven), turning occasionally, until the meat is completely tender and falling off the bone.
Remove the ribs from the sauce and use a knife and fork to remove the meat, discarding the bones and any lumps of fat. Shred the meat and add back to the sauce to heat through. Check the seasoning.
Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to the instructions on the pack, drain and serve topped with rag. and grated cheese of your choosing.
NOTE: PARMESAN OR PECORINO?
For years I have automatically defaulted to grated Parmesan to serve with pasta, but I find if you eat the same thing repeatedly you stop noticing it. (The same happens with garlic – I recommend the occasional garlic holiday.) Now I ring the changes with grated Pecorino Romano, which has a lighter, brighter, almost lemony flavour.