Neapolitan ragu

Neapolitan ragu

Neapolitan ragu

Prep: 55 mins
Cook: 150 mins
Serves: 8
Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients Tick boxes to send shopping list to email

For the topping:

For the ultimate meatballs:

Method

Neapolitan ragu


Heat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas 4.

1) Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and gently brown the meatballs. Meanwhile, with a mortar and pestle, grind the salt, black peppercorns and fennel seeds with some olive oil into a grainy paste. Rub the ribs and shoulder with the mixture.

2) Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside on a kitchen paper-lined plate to drain. In the same pot, brown the shoulder pieces and ribs, in batches. Alternately to save time, roast the ribs in a preheated 260 degrees C/Gas 10 oven for 10 to 15 minutes whilst you brown the shoulder pieces in the pot.

3) Remove the shoulder pieces and ribs to the meatball plate and let rest.

4) Add a little more olive oil to the pot and add the thyme, oregano, carrots, onion and celery. Stir it around and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Cook the vegetables until they are slightly softened and have some nice colour. Add the wine, tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.

5) Nestle the pork shoulder pieces back into the middle of the pot then arrange the ribs around the sauce. Finish by placing the meatballs in the gaps (some of the pieces will be sticking out from the sauce but that's perfectly fine as it will roast and caramelise).

6) Use a spoon to baste everything well, cover, then put the pot into the oven and roast until the pork is tender and the meat is just falling off the rib bones, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

7) Combine the chopped sultanas, toasted pine nuts and parsley in a small bowl.

8) Use a slotted spoon to remove the meatballs and ribs to a large platter. Remove the pork shoulder pieces from the pot and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into bite-size pieces and adding them to the platter. Puree the sauce in a food processor then add it back to the pot and set over medium heat. Reduce the sauce until it is rich and thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

9) When the spaghetti is cooked, drain and add to a medium bowl. Spoon a little sauce over the spaghetti and the remaining sauce over the platter of meat. Garnish the meat platter with the sultana mixture and serve.

For the ultimate meatballs:

1) Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but not coloured, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool.

2) Add the bread to a medium bowl and pour in the milk. Let the bread soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl.

3) Add the egg and cheese and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add it to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands until just mixed together. Don't overwork the mixture or the meatballs will be tough.

4) Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces and shape them into 8 nice-looking meatballs. Refrigerate until ready to cook.