RUSTIC SLOW-SIMMERED TOMATO SAUCE WITH SHREDDED MEAT
- 1 ½ lbs pork spareribs OR country-style ribs OR beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes with their juice
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12” skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, turning occasionally with tongs, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer ribs to a plate; pour off all but 1 tsp fat from the skillet. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, to loosen the browned bits, until the wine reduces to a glaze, about 2 minutes.
Return the ribs and accumulated juices to the skillet; add the tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently, turning the ribs several times, until the meat is very tender and falling off the bone, 1 ½ hours (for pork ribs or country-style ribs) to 2 hours (for beef ribs).
Transfer the ribs to a clean plate. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred it with your fingers, discarding the fat and bones. Return the shredded meat to the sauce in the skillet. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
The three cuts of ribs listed above are good because they simmer well and they're usually pretty cheap. If you are alcohol-averse, you can swap the red wine with an equal amount of chicken stock or water.
This recipe is crying out for add-ons; garlic, herbs, spices, etc... 1 tablespoon of whatever you're putting in will do nicely - add it just before you add the wine, saute for 30 seconds, then add the wine.
The color comes out a bit muddy. If you are so inclined, add a bit of tomato paste to the sauce while it simmers. It will help keep a brighter red color, beef up the tomato flavor, and contribute to thickening. Get a tube of tomato paste, squeeze a bit out, and stir into the sauce.