Pasta with Braised Pork Ragu

Photo by Ian McCausland

Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
1 kg boneless pork shoulder
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
1 cup red wine
1 x 28 oz. can whole Italian tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ x 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Salt & pepper, to season
Pappardelle pasta
1 cup fresh basil, roughly torn, to serve

Trim fat from the pork shoulder and dry the pork with paper towel. Season the whole pork with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Sear the pork on all sides until a golden brown crust forms (approximately 3 minutes a side), then remove from the pan and set aside.

Add onions and carrots to the pan juices and cook on medium 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, chilli flakes (optional), a pinch of salt, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 1-2 minutes.

Stir in red wine and reduce for 4–5 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes (and their juice), tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and water. Stir to combine. Return the pork to the pan. The liquid cover at least one third of the meat, but more is great. You will be turning the meat throughout the process to ensure all parts of the pork come in contact with the sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Replace the lid, but leave a slight opening to allow the sauce to reduce as it cooks. Cook the pork for about 4 hours, turning as necessary to make sure all of the sides get time in the sauce and that it maintains a simmer.

When the meat is fall-apart tender and is easily torn apart with a fork, move from the pan into a bowl. Using two forks, shred into bite-size pieces. Using a wooden spoon, smash apart any whole tomatoes in the sauce that haven’t already broken down. At this point, if the sauce reduced too much, you can add the other half of the crushed tomatoes and water until it is the desired consistency and taste. Discard the bay leaves. Return shredded pork to the pan, stir, and simmer for at least 30 minutes to combine the flavours.

Cook pasta in salted water to preferred tenderness, per the directions on the package. Drain and immediately add pasta into the pork ragu along with the fresh basil. Cook for another minute to allow the pasta to absorb the ragu flavour and the basil to wilt slightly.

Meritxell Palleja Nita Priorat Catalonia, Spain
Bodega Langaza LZ Rioja, Spain

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