Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rustic Ragu with Shredded Pork Shoulder

You know it's good when your man is  silent at the dinner table with his head focused on his plate. It doesn't look like much, but this is the most PERFECT, wintery, yummy dish!! It combines buttery smooth, melt-in-your-mouth pork shoulder with a robust sauce and shell pasta that gently cradles the heavenly goodness....All of those fantastic spices you see below are the secret to sauce greatness.

(See the happy husband....)

This is a modified version of a recipe from Domenica--a New Orleans restaurant. I am so glad I came across it!


-1 lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt) cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 small onion, finely chopped
-2 medium parsnips, peeled and finely chopped
-5 mushrooms, diced
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-1 sprig of rosemary
-1 sprig of  oregano (or 1/2 tsp. dry)
-1 bay leaf
-14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
-1/2 cup red wine
-1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
-1/4 tsp. nutmeg
-1/8 tsp. ground cloves
-8 oz. shell pasta
-1 bunch of kale, ribs and stems removed, torn into 2 inch pieces
-3 tbsp. unsalted butter
-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil on medium-high in a wide, high-sided pan or a pot. Brown the meat in the pan, until golden and encrusted on all sides. Set aside on a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onion, parsnips, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir occasionally, and cook until golden brown--about 8-10 minutes. Color means flavor!

Tie the rosemary, oregano, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine (or not...if you don't mind fishing around for them later!), and add to the sauce. Add the pork, tomatoes, wine, peppercorns, nutmeg, and cloves.

Add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, adding more water as needed (approximately 1 cup over the course of the cooking process), for about 45 minutes until the meat is very tender.

Discard the herb bundle, and shred the meat using two forks. Continue to cook uncovered for another 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Cook the pasta in salted water, drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Add the kale to the meat sauce along with the pasta water. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top, close the lid, and simmer for another 5 minutes to wilt the leaves. Taste, and add salt as needed. Add in the pasta.

Serve, topped with more Parmesan. 


  1. Will try this soon! Looks great.

  2. Glad you like the look of it! :)