This is the quintessential LaFrieda family comfort food. When butcher Pat LaFrieda was growing up, the meat in the sauce varied based on what his dad brought home from the butcher shop—one weekend, it might be spicy Italian sausage, the next, it might be spareribs. The slow-cooked beef short ribs Pat uses in the version from his book, Meat, give the dish a lovely richness.
Slideshow: Meaty Pastas
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds bone-in, English-cut beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces (see Note)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 medium carrot, peeled
2 pounds spaghetti
How to Make It
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole in a single layer. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer the short ribs to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the casserole. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt; cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices and the carrot and bring to a boil.
Return the short ribs and their juices to the casserole, cover partially and simmer over low heat, turning the short ribs occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is thick, about 4 hours.
Transfer the short ribs to a plate; discard the carrot. Discard the bones and cut the meat into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Return the meat to the sauce and season with salt and pepper; keep warm over low heat.
In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the spaghetti to the pot with the sauce, toss well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Serve the pasta immediately.
The sauce can be refrigerated for 1 week. Reheat gently before serving.
Ask your butcher to cut the short ribs as specified.
Spicy, vibrant Sangiovese.
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