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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