Winter hiatus is over for BistroBess! The days are getting longer, which means my picture taking window is as well. It’s not getting any warmer, though, as evidenced by today’s “snow storm”, so there is still time to whip up some comfort food. Namely, whip up this pasta dish.
Just about every month, one of my food magazines has a recipe for a new take on ragu. Since my husband loves and is quite picky about Italian food, I only make the ones that seem both delicious and authentic. This pork based sauce hit both of those notes beautifully. Slightly spicy, rich and thick, it coated the pasta without being too watery, as many quick cooking sauces can be. It takes awhile, close to 4 hours on the stove, but really doesn’t requite much from the chef during that time, except for the occasional stir.
Also, if you are looking for some music to listen to while cooking, may I suggest The District Lights new single?
Spicy Calabrese Style Pork Ragu
from Bon Appetit
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 pound ground pork
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound mezzi rigatoni or penne rigate, or any short, tublar pasta
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. I ended up adding about 2 cups of water over the course of the cooking time in small increments, adding none in the last 20-30 minutes. Taste, season with salt as needed.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce; stir to coat. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan.