Sunday Sauce: Pasta with Sicilian Pork and Sausage RagÃ¹
Perhaps I should join the Fine Cooking payroll? Many of my recent recipes have come from the magazine. The recipes tend to be relatively simple while still very flavorful.Â Good food that is not overly complicated — my cooking mantra!
This dish is not a weeknight meal because it cooks for a few hours.Â But, it is perfect to make on a Sunday and either enjoy that evening or during the week.
Honestly, I think this was one of the best meat sauces I have ever made.Â And, I LOVE meat sauce so this is high praise.Â The sausage and pork shoulder simmer away for over two hours in the red wine and tomato puree mixture.Â The pork shoulder shreds easily and the resulting sauce is incredibly rich and flavorful.
I made two notes for next time I cook this dish.Â Keep an eye on the pot as it simmers — I should have lowered the heat to prevent the liquid from cooking down too much.Â When you add the ragÃ¹ to the pasta make sure to add some of the pasta water to bind the sauce and thin it out a bit.
Overall, though, this was an amazing dinner and I will definitely be making it again!
A final note, I borrowed the photo in this post from Fine Cooking’s website because my photo made this delicious dish look terrible.Â Hopefully my upcoming photography class can help me figure out how to take good food photos when the lighting is less than ideal!
Pasta with Sicilian Pork and Sausage RagÃ¹
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
- 1 cup dry red wine, such as Sicilian Nero dâ€™Avola
- 3 cups strained tomatoes or tomato purÃ©e
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage (3 links)
- 2 lb. short, sturdy pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, or cavatappi
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the pork generously on both sides with salt and pepper and sear the meat on both sides until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a deep platter.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic and onion to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot, raise the heat to medium high, and add the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.
Remove the sausages from their casings and break the meat apart over the pot, allowing it to fall into the sauce in small clumps. Cover the pot and simmer gently, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn the pork shoulder; then re-cover and continue to cook at a gentle simmer, turning the meat once or twice more, until very tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board with tongs and let cool for a few minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat and return it to the sauce. Cook over low heat until the meat and sauce are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta and serve
When ready to serve, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al denteâ€”you want it to still have some bite because it will continue to cook a bit while youâ€™re tossing it with the ragÃ¹. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return it to the pot and toss it with some of the ragÃ¹, adding a little cooking water if it seems dry. Serve the pasta with more ragÃ¹ spooned over the top, garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you like.
Make Ahead Tips
The ragÃ¹ can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently before tossing with the pasta.