So, I have been loving me some pork shoulder lately. It’s so perfect for slow cooked meals that go a long way and could feed an army. In addition, it’s a fairly inexpensive cut of meat. Leftovers are great the next day and can easily be frozen to enjoy later. Aside from this new recipe for Pork Ragu with Pappardelle, I recently used pork shoulder to create a recipe for Carnitas. A must try!
Most pork shoulders you will find in your local grocery store will be bone-in with a fat cap. It is super important to trim as much fat off as you possibly can. Also, cut around the bone to utilize as much of the meat as possible.
Regrettably, I failed to take a lot of photos of the process because I was creating a video for TikTok of the making of this dish. Click here to view!
HOW TO MAKE PORK RAGU WITH PAPPARDELLE
Be sure to bring the pork shoulder to room temperature. This is key in order to get a perfect sear. You can do this before, or after cutting into pieces. Cut the pork shoulder into large cubes. Doing this allows for a shorter braising time. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat olive oil in an enameled cast iron pot. I love this one from Lodge. Click here!
Start browning the cubes in batches. If you place all of the meat in the pot at the same time, you will never get a perfect sear, or those browned bits you need at the bottom of the pan for added flavor.
Once all of the pork has been browned and removed from pot, remove all but about two tablespoons of fat. Add the garlic, onions, celery and carrots to the pot. Season with additional kosher salt. Soften the vegetables, do not brown, for about five minutes. Using a mini-chopper will make your life so much easier when it comes to mincing the vegetables. Just throw all of it in and give it a few pulses.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss in the thyme and rosemary. Cook for an additional two minutes before adding in the tomato paste. Stir to combine. Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pot. Loosen up any browned bits from the bottom. Allow the wine to reduce by half.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes and at least a cup of the chicken broth. Season with more kosher salt. If the mixture seems too thick, add in the remaining half cup of chicken stock. I used all of it for my recipe. Keep in mind, the liquid will thicken as it is braising. Add the meat and along with any juices back to the pot. Bring to almost a boil.
Cover with lid and place in oven for at least two hours. The meat should be super tender and the sauce thickened. Mine took about two and a half hours. It should look like this prior to placing in oven for braising.
TO FINISH AND SERVE THE PORK RAGU WITH PAPPARDELLE
Bring water to a boil for the pappardelle. Remove the pot from the oven and shred the meat using two forks. Do this in the pot, or in a separate bowl. I found removing the meat in batches into a bowl to shred worked much better. This ensured that all of the meat was perfectly shredded. Stir in a tablespoon and a half of fresh parsley.
Cook the pasta to al dente. Do NOT forget to salt the pasta water. If you believe that your pork ragu sauce is a bit too thick, add a touch of the pasta water. Drain pasta. Do NOT rinse.
Place pasta into a large bowl. Top with ladles of the pork ragu. Drizzle everything with a touch of quality olive oil. Garnish with fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy this fabulous Pork Ragu with Pappardelle. Yes, you can switch out the protein if you wish. Lamb, or even beef are great alternatives.
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