Ragù Napoletano is a traditional dish from Naples, Italy that is mostly eaten on Sundays. Large pieces of beef and pork are cooked low and slow in a tomato sauce, and then the meat-flavored tomato sauce is served over pasta as the primo piatto, followed by the meat with a bit of the sauce as the secondo piatto. I made this with a nicely marbled piece of Irish Angus chuck roast I had picked up, but you could also use other (tough) cuts of beef as well as pork. A mixture of different kinds of meat will give a fuller flavor.
Fusilli are a good pasta shape for this sauce, as it is very good at absorbing the relatively thin sauce into the coils of the fusilli.
Tough meat with good marbling gives the best flavor, and if cooked low and slow enough it will be fork tender and juicy. Naples is famous for its cucina povera (poor man’s kitchen), and you can imagine that this preparation is a good way of feeding a crowd with a relatively small amount of cheap cuts of meat.
It is relatively easy to do for such a lot of flavor, you only need to have the patience to let it simmer over very very low heat. If the sauce is too hot (over 70C/160F) while cooking the meat then the meat will dry out even while it is completely submerged in tomato sauce.
600 grams (1.3 lbs) of well-marbled chuck roast or other cut of beef suitable for stewing (I bet short ribs will be great as well)
300-400 grams of short pasta such as fusilli
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (400 grams) peeled tomatoes, preferably san marzano
200 ml (5/6 cup) full-bodied red wine, preferably aglianico
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
This is great with a full-bodied red wine with good acidity, preferably an aglianico from the region of Naples (Campania).