This ragu sauce uses my father's secret ingredient that makes all the difference.Plus long, slow cooking to draw out all the flavours of the different meats, vegetables and seasonings. And the bonus is this is a BIG batch Pasta Sauce so you've got lots to freeze for later!
Finely chop the onions and garlic, peel and finely chop the carrots and finely chop the celery. For fast chopping, chop coarsely then use a food processor to pulse and finely chop. Set aside.
Heat a large saucepan. It will need to hold over 5 litres which is about 1 ⅓ gallons.
Add the oil and butter.
When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot and celery.
Turn the heat down a tad so they don't burn.
Fry until starting to become golden and catch a little on the bottom of the saucepan.
In the meantime finely chop the bacon. And crush or finely chop the garlic.
When the onion, carrot and celery are golden add the bacon and garlic and stir well. Continue to cook for a few more minutes.
Now start adding the beef mince a bit at a time. Stirring well and allow the meat to colour.
Then add in the pork mince a bit at a time. Repeat the same as the beef mince.
Once the mince is well cooked add the sausages and pork ribs. You can add other meats as I have mentioned in the Recipe Notes.
Pour in the wine and allow to boil and simmer for a few minutes.
Now you can add the remainder of the ingredients - Parmesan rind (if using), passata, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, potato, herbs, spices and seasonings.
Add half of the sugar and you can taste later if the Ragù Pasta Sauce needs more.
Bring to the boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
Cover the saucepan and check and stir regularly, You may need to adjust the heat to achieve that sweet spot of a gentle simmer. This is going to be cooking for a long time so a very gentle simmer is what we are looking for here.
Once you have achieved that perfect simmer, allow to cook for about 4 to 5 hours.
Check regularly that the sauce is not drying out. If so, add a little boiling water.
After about two hours of simmering. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You will be surprised at how much salt you need to add and you may need a bit more sugar. Recheck the seasoning towards the end of the cooking time.
When the sauce is done. Remove the sausage and the ribs. Cut up the sausage finely, shred the meat from the pork ribs and add the sausage and meat back to the sauce. Find the potato pieces and crush against the side of the saucepan with a wooden spoon. Stir thoroughly.
Allow to cool a little, then transfer to freezer containers for storage in the freezer.
Don't put the sauce in the freezer when it's hot. Instead refrigerate until cold then freeze.
If properly stored in the freezer, this sauce will keep for 4 to 6 months.
Pork ribs can be replaced with any bone in pork just as pork chops.
Italian sausages can be replace with any good sausage you enjoy.
Beef stock can be homemade or store bought - in liquid or powder form.
Sugar is added to taste. You may need to add a bit more once you taste it after two hours.
Be sure to taste, taste and taste again. Season with salt properly. By this is mean salt brings out the flavours of food. Not enough salt - everything will taste bland.
My tip for using this and other cooked sauces with pasta is to allow the sauce time to meld with the pasta. This is how-:
Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan it was cooked in.
Add the hot sauce to the pasta and mix in well.
Put the lid back on the saucepan for a minute or two even three this is where the magic happens.
Open the lid. Give it a gentle mix and you should notice that the pasta has more sauce clinging to it.
This method is similar to when you see TV chefs adding the cooked pasta to the pan of sauce. However if you are cooking for more than one or two, it's impossible to do this.