In weather like this, I crave comfort food. Rich, hearty meals that warm your soul – and preferably don’t involve complicated processes. If you can cook it low and slow and forget about it for hours, and end up with a deliciously satisfying meal, with leftovers that can be frozen for another day, you’re on to a winner in my eyes.
I’m a decent cook, but not one for following complicated recipes. Mostly, I’ve learned to cook by watching others. And this particular recipe was one I picked up from an ex-boyfriend’s Mother – a wonderful Italian lady who cooked authentic Italian dishes that had us all asking for more, and left the house smelling incredible. He was a bit of a shit, but look at the silver linings and all that.
The result is a homely, authentic Italian pasta sauce that is packed with flavour and is dangerously moreish. I might not have it 100% right, as per the original steps, but this version most definitely works and I could not love it more! Also, the skill level required is practically zero, so it’s a great one to try if you’re not the most accomplished cook…
Authentic Italian Pasta Sauce
- 800g Pork spare ribs
- 1000g Passata
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- Generous handful of fresh Basil
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil for frying
- Water to thin the sauce if needed
- Patience (don’t rush it!)
- 15 minutes prep
- 4-6 hours cooking, although could be longer depending on the heat applied.
- Season the ribs well.
- Take a large pan, add a little olive oil and brown all the ribs over a high heat until you get some good colouration. If your pan isn’t large enough, you may need to do this in batches, as it’s an important step that really helps the final flavour.
- Once the ribs are browned on all sides, cover with passata, and bring to the boil.
- Crush the garlic, and add into the pan with half of the basil leaves (torn)
- Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cover.
- After a few hours, the meat will start flaking away from the bones with a bit of effort. Be patient. Around an hour or so later, depending on the heat you’ve applied, the meat will fall off the bone and the tomato sauce will become thick and meaty.
- Add the remaining basil, check seasoning and stir through.
- If the sauce is too thick once the meat is off the bone, add a splash of water
- Now comes the only time-consuming part. Take out the bones, making sure the meat remains in the sauce. Then stir through the sauce carefully, breaking down the larger lumps of meat and removing all traces of bone or gristle. There shouldn’t be much, but it will ruin the eating experience if you find one!
- Combine with a pasta of your choice and enjoy!
When I cooked this yesterday, I did steps 1-5, left for an hour and then turned the heat right down to 1 on my induction hob for a few hours while I did some errands. This was a little low, as after 4 hours the meat was still sticking firmly to the bone. I turned it up to 3 for another hour (making 6 in total) and the result was perfect – tender chunks of meat that dissolved in the sauce and in my mouth. I’d recommend cooking on 2 or 3, depending how long you’re planning to leave it.
This isn’t the most beautiful food picture I’ve ever seen on the internet, because frankly, I care more about eating food that I’ve cooked for 6 hours than taking photos of it, but this is the finished sauce, begging me to eat it…
Thick, rich, tomatoey, meaty, perfectly seasoned authentic Italian pasta sauce. Try it. I bet you love it.
These quantities would generously feed 4, or even 6. However, it’s also the ideal recipe for batch cooking and freezing flat, as it’s easy to reheat whenever you’re wanting that cosy evening meal without much effort.
Please do let me know if you try this, or if you have a favourite simple comfort food recipe that you’d like to share x
(Oooh, and I’m just about to have this with some freshly cut bread for lunch, it’s even better second day around!)