September 21st, 2011. That’s when Lynda, from Taste Food, published her ‘Ode to Fall”, a pork ragu served over pappardelle.  I bookmarked the recipe right away, but only made it last week.  Better late than never, this ragu jumped straight into our list of favorites!  The pork falls apart after 2 hours simmering, and turns into a sauce that is intense and mild at the same time (if that’s at all possible! 😉 )  Make it one day in advance for added deliciousness.

(adapted from Taste Food)

2 pounds pork butt, excess fat trimmed, cut in 2 inch chunks
Black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, finely diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
2 (28 ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound noodles or pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
Grated Parmiggiano cheese

Season the pieces of pork with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large pot until it’s shimmering. Add pork in one layer in batches, without overcrowding, so that it will brown without steaming.  After all sides are seared, remove pieces to a plate, and reserve until all the meat is browned.   Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan.

Add onion, carrots, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Carefully add the wine, and deglaze the pan with it. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Return pork to the pot and submerge in the sauce.  If necessary, add water to bring the level of the liquid to the top of the meat.  Simmer, covered, over low heat until pork is very tender, about 2 hours. Remove lid and continue to simmer, skimming fat occasionally with a spoon, until sauce is thickened, 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

ENJOY!  (I know you will…)

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You will need 2 pounds of cubed meat for this recipe, but there’s a lot of trimming to do on a piece of pork butt, so buy a large piece, and if you have more than you need, freeze the extra amount.

My main modification to this recipe was reducing the amount of onion and omitting the garlic. If you want, add a few cloves. Phil and garlic don’t match very well, so we use it very sparingly.

Maybe if you are used to eating a lot of garlic, you’ll feel that there’s something missing in my version of this ragu, but I suggest you give it a try without, and concentrate on the pure taste of the meat as you savor your plate of pasta.  And, by the way, this ragu would be amazing served with any type of root veggie puree. Soft-cooked polenta wouldn’t be that bad either!

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29 thoughts on “PORK RAGU

    • It’s a bit like a pulled pork, except that it cooks a lot faster, and the taste is considerably milder (my pulled pork takes quite a bit of spices, it’s more on the hot side of the spectrum).

      Hope you try it….


  1. Pingback: I’m Getting Round To Cooking Properly Again…Just Not Today | Food, Drink and Books

    • You maybe noticed I used noodles instead… we love papardelle, but boy, those things pack calories like nobody’s business… Whenever I am feeling virtuous, I go for a slightly lighter pasta 😉


  2. Yum! I think I’d add the garlic and onion back in. It’s so cold (summer cold that is) and rainy this week that this would be perfect. Rain isn’t supposed to stop til next Monday!


    • By all means, garlic it up, and enjoy it! I often include the garlic in the recipes I post because I know we are in a minority with the anti-garlic approach, but in this case the taste was so incredibly mild, I decided to divulge our dirty garlic secret


  3. Hi there Sally,
    I made this for dinner last night and it was awesome! I did add the garlic and some celery to the sauteed veggies and I upped the cinnamon to about a tablespoon and about a tablespoon of instant espresso granules. I use the cinamon and espresso combo in my granola and its just a great together. We enjoyed this over whole wheat egg noodles. Can’t wait for the leftovers on Friday! Thanks for another great recipe!


    • Rhonda, nice to “see” you here! You ordered 1/2 a hog… wow! I bet you have a huge freezer… we have an extra freezer in the garage, and the thing is always full to the top. A lot of bags of flour there… 😉

      HOpe you try this recipe, and find many cool things to use the “rest” of the hog…


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