Some of the best items to come out of your kitchen can reward your innate sloth. It's time you discovered one of the finest dishes that has an inverse ratio of taste to effort: a plate of pasta with homemade ragu -- meat-based sauce that is essentially chili (with apologies to the proponents of Cincinnati Chili) -- for your noodles.
As for what constitutes a ragu, that depends on who you ask. But one thing that the Los Angeles Times points out is that everybody understands it starts with meat:
Ragù is sometimes misunderstood. Most simply, it is a meat-based pasta sauce. But the definition goes deeper than that. Many sauces have meat in them, but ragùs are based on meat. The juices of the meat that has cooked in them are fundamental to the sauce. That's the reason old-time East Coast Italians refer to ragùs as "gravy."
All you're going to need is time and the ability to let things simmer
for a while. And thus, the next time you think of chili for football
Sunday, you only have to change a few ingredients to
discover you now know how to cook two dishes.
For those who want to jump in whole hog, the Times piece offers a ragu made from four kinds of pork. It can also take a better part of the day for everything to finish cooking.
A more straightforward recipe that still calls for slow-roasting pork shoulder is known simply as pork ragu. About an hour into the cooking of the pork, you'll find yourself inventing excuses to come into the kitchen. Two hours later, you'll be ready to tear the shoulder apart before it's out of the foil.
There's also a more traditional ragu bolognese, which combines veal, pork and pancetta (or slab bacon) that can be ready in just under two hours. After all, even if you're engaged in slow cooking, that doesn't mean you have to go hungry.
[Image via Flickr: word ridden]