JANUARY RECIPE: PORK RAGU

For this month’s featured recipe, I knew I wanted to showcase something warm and hearty, a dish that wraps you up like a sweater, no matter what kind of nonsense is going on outside. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like we can all use a big bear hug in January, and this pork ragu is pretty much a hug on a plate.

I was actually inspired to make ragu this month thanks to my fiancé Avu. He has a serious coupon game, bless him. We are the masters of Safeway, especially on Fridays… though sometimes *someone gets carried away (and for once it’s not me). A few weeks ago, Avu saw a deal for a 4 pound pork shoulder for 9 bucks. Sure, that’s a great deal and it was a nice cut of meat, but seriously? 4 POUNDS? There’s only two of us! But he was insistent, already entranced by the bargain. While I knew I was going to have enough pork to feed the neighborhood, I had to come up with a way to cook this down into something delicious, but also something that I could freeze for us to work our way through in the weeks to come (let’s just say I’ve gotten my fill for a while.) So I decided a big pot of ragu would be perfect. Cooking that pork down low and slow along with juicy Italian sausage, in red wine, tomatoes and a blend of savory spices… what could be better during this cold and rainy month?

I used 3 pounds of the pork for this recipe, saving the last pound in the freezer for another recipe. The recipe below obviously makes a pretty big bag, but it stores easily in the fridge in Tupperware or even large plastic freezer bags. Since you don’t add the noodles in until the end anyway, it’s easy to portion out to make this last for several weeks if you want.

PORK RAGU
Total time: 4 1/2 hours
Active time: 1 hour
Servings
: 12-14

INGREDIENTS:
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-3 pounds of pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into chunks
-salt & pepper
-1 large onion, chopped
-2 carrots, chopped
-2 celery stalks, chopped
-5 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 pound ground pork sausage
-2 bay leaves
-2 teaspoons dried oregano
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-2 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
-1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, puréed
-1 1/2 cups red wine
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-For garnish: Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. In a large Dutch oven over high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season pork chunks with salt and pepper
2. When the oil is hot, add the pork chunks and sear until browned all over, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
3. Lower heat to medium-high. Add the rest of the olive oil to the pot along with the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until soft.

4. Crumble the sausage into the pot and brown along with the veggies.
5. Add the red wine to the pan, scraping browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the bay leaves, oregano and thyme, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.


6. Add all 3 cans of tomatoes and stir. Add in as much of the chicken broth as you want to achieve the desired thickness (remember this will cook down), and bring sauce to a boil.
7. Add the pieces of pork bag into the sauce, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 3-3 1/2 hours.
8. Remove the pork again, and use two forks to shred the meat. Return meat to the pot, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.


9. Boil water and cook noodles of choice to desired texture (I used linguine, but spaghetti, papardelle, etc. works).
10. In a separate pot, mix drained noodles with several scoops of sauce.
11. Serve with more sauce on top, garnished with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

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