Several years I had some extra fresh pork on hand and didn’t know what to make with it.
I came across a recipe for pork ragù, made it and have wanted to try it again ever since.
The other day I bought a 7-pound pork shoulder roast on sale. While normally I would use the whole piece of meat, I thought better of it. How many people would want to make that much ragù? I cut it into two pieces. I froze the first half and used 2 pounds of the other piece for the ragù and one pound for posole soup — a recipe I’ll share another day.
Cooks generally make ragù with onion, celery, carrot, meat, herbs, red wine and tomatoes cooked slowly. While many recipes suggest cooking the sauce over a low temperature on the cooktop, I prefer to make mine in a slow oven. I can cover it and walk away. Making it slowly allows the liquid to cook down to a thick sauce.
This wonderful sauce works nicely when served over pasta, gnocchi, grits or rice. I suspect ragù qualifies as a comfort food in Italy.
Ingredients: Serves 6
2 pounds pork shoulder roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, thinly sliced (paper thin)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup dry red wine
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 300°.
Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides, turning frequently, about 10 minutes. Once the pork has browned, transfer it to a platter.
Add the carrots and onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the herbs and tomato paste and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes and wine, then add the pork and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover, place in the oven and cook for 2 to 2½ hours.
Using two forks shred the pork in the pot. Serve over pasta, gnocchi grits or rice with an arugula. It pairs nicely with a shaved Parmesan salad with a lemon vinaigrette.