Ragu is an Italian style meat based sauce that’s served with pasta and it’s a staple on my meal plan for cooler months. Normally when I think about a ragu sauce I think of a slowly braised beef ragu or a ground beef ragu bolognese but pork is also amazing in ragu! This recipe starts by searing a pork shoulder/butt until browned before slowly braising it in a tasty tomato based sauce until it’s melt in your mouth tender. The sauce is pretty standard with onions, carrot, celery, garlic, broth, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Apple and fennel go well with pork and thyme, rosemary, sage and bay leaves round out the seasonings. The final touch is a bit of cream and parmesan cheese which mellows the sauce out and adds a ton of flavour! I like to serve this pork ragu over pappardelle or linguine and any other pasta shape works well!
A tasty slow simmered, melt in your mouth pork ragu!
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 pound pork shoulder/butt, trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 sprig thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 1 sprig rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 1 sprig sage (or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream (or mascarpone)
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the pork, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, and brown on all sides, before setting aside.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery and apple and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, fennel and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add 1/2 cup of the broth and deglaze the pan by scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a spoon while the broth simmers.
- Add the remaining broth, crushed tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, sage, and bay leaves, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the beef is falling apart tender, about 2-3 hours. (You can also transfer the pot to the oven preheated to 275F/140C and cook until falling apart tender, about 3-4 hours.)
- Remove the pork, shred and return to the sauce.
- Remove the sprigs of herbs and bay leaves.
- Add the cream and parmesan and cook until the parmesan has melted, about a minute.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Option: Add red pepper flakes to taste along with the garlic.
Option: Add bacon!
Option: Add a piece of parmesan rind to the sauce while it simmers and remove before serving. (The flavour from the rind will be added to the sauce!)
Option: Add a pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon.
Option: Add fish sauce or soy sauce to taste before seasoning with salt and pepper.
Option: Add honey to taste, either to balance out any tartness or to add a hint of sweetness.
Option: Garnish with fresh basil and/or parsley.
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