I am very excited about today’s recipe! I am partnering with Pasta Garofalo to bring to you Ziti with Neapolitan Meat Ragout, the quintessential Sunday supper meal. As the name suggests, this mouth-watering dish is typical of the beautiful southern city of Naples. This is a city that has been ruled by many different people and cultures, and they all have left their mark and shaped Neapolitan culture, architecture, dialect, and cuisine and made it what it is today. But Naples is above all made up by the passion and warm heart of its people. And this passion is clearly visible in the way they cook. Not many people would dedicate 6 hours to cook a sauce. Yet by doing so, they created a work of art. In fact, this Neapolitan Meat Ragout is much more than a “simple sauce”, it is an act of love.
Pasta Garofalo has launched #Napolicious: an international journey through time and taste, a campaign that aims at disclosing “the art of simplicity pursued by the Neapolitan people”, recipe by recipe. And, as you know, I am all for simplicity and traditional food, so I am really honoured to be part of this project! Visit the Napolicious site to check out all the other delicious recipes and start cooking like a local! And don’t forget to join the Napolicious community: make one of the recipes, take a photo and publish it on your social media with the hashtag #Napolicious. Your creation will appear in the Napolicious site’s gallery! Buon appetito!
Ziti with Neapolitan Meat Ragout
Ziti with Neapolitan Meat Ragout - the quintessential Sunday supper meal typical of the beautiful southern city of Naples. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks!
- 615 gms – 17.5 oz. beef muscle I used chuck steak
- 615 gms – 17.5 oz. pork muscle I used scotch fillet, but shoulder would work very well too
- 250 gms – 8.8 oz. pork ribs
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion sliced
- Red wine to taste
- 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
- 200 gms – 7 oz. of tomato puree
- 350 gms – 13 oz. Garofalo's ziti broken into 3 pieces
For the Neapolitan Meat Ragout Sauce
Sauté the sliced onion in a saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil. Make sure not to burn it, or your sauce will taste bitter.
Add the meat and let it brown on all sides. Add some red wine and let it evaporate.
Keep adding red wine as required to cook the meat during the next 40 minutes.
At this point, add the tomato concentrate and mix well to melt it.
Then increase the fire to medium, and add the tomato puree with some water (enough to cover the meat). As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat to the minimum and let it simmer. Make sure to cover the saucepan with a lid, but not completely. Use a wooden spoon between the pan and the lid to create a little opening.
Cook for a minimum of four hours, to a maximum of six. You may need to add extra water if it evaporates. Every once in a while, check to see if the meat has become tender. If it is ready, you can remove it from the sauce (some pieces require a shorter cooking time) so it doesn’t melt, and then re-add it at the end.
The ragout will be ready when the tomato sauce is thick, dark, and shiny in appearance and the meat is very tender. Remove the meat to serve separately.
To Cook the Pasta
Break Garofalo’s Ziti in 3 and keep aside.
Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil, and cook Garofalo’s Ziti for the time suggested on the packet, or until al dente. To test this, remove a piece of pasta from the pot and take a bite – it should be cooked but still slightly firm in the centre.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it into a big serving bowl.
Mix it with the Neapolitan Meat Ragout Sauce and serve immediately with finely grated Pecorino Romano on the top.
I like to cut out very small pieces of meat and add them to my pasta, but this is just my personal preference. Traditionally, the meat would be “lardellata” before being cooked. That means that small holes would be made into the meat and filled with ham, bacon, and pepper. Then the meat would be tied with string and cooked. Most modern Neapolitans don’t do this anymore, Ragout being already pretty heavy by itself. Tradition would also require the use of a copper or clay pan (the so-called tiano) in which to cook the sauce.
A few facts about Pasta Garofalo
Did you know that it was first produced in 1789? That’s the year of the French Revolution! Did you know that Pasta Garofalo has been considered the quality pasta par excellence since the 1920’s? Amazing, right?
Pasta Garofalo is famous throughout Italy for using only the best durum wheat and turning it into the best possible pasta. It is produced in the town of Gragnano, which is considered the “home of pasta”. Their over bicentennial experience enables the people at Garofalo to develop a technology through which they can control all pasta production phases, from the choice of durum wheat to packaging, which differs according to the type of pasta, but it is always fully transparent. And as they say: “It is in this awareness […] that we can consider each shape as a different pasta and not the same pasta with a different shape”. And I couldn’t agree more, for all pasta is unique!
If you still haven’t tried it, I urge you to. You will easily be able to taste the difference with other pasta you have previously cooked! It is my absolute favourite. Pasta Garofalo is widely available in Australia, just ask you continental deli… I have also found it at Costco. Enjoy!