Pork Ragu with Hand Cut Papardelle and Minted Ricotta

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Serve this meaty ragu over polenta for a tasty gluten-free option, spaghetti or whatever pasta you have on hand.

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I happened to be rolling fresh pasta that day so home cut pappardelle was our pasta of choice! Recipe at the very bottom.

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Pork Ragu

  • 1 1/5 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of most fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and seasoned with 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 sprig each rosemary and thyme and a bay leaf, tied together
  • 1 x 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine or beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-inch piece Parmesan rind, optional
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter, optionalParsley and Parmesan to serve
  • Enough boxed pasta for 6 people or homemade pasta below

Heat enough oil on the bottom of a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear the pork until browned on all sides (about 12 minutes). Transfer to plate and drain all but 1 Tbsp of oil from the dutch oven.

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Over medium heat, add the onions and cook gently until translucent. Add the pepper flakes, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until softened about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, paste, wine, herbs, rind and spices. Bring to a simmer and carefully return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pot. There should be just enough liquid to cover the pork.

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Simmer very gently for 2 hours. Check every 30 minutes to see that there is enough liquid to just cover the pork. Add more water if necessary.

After the pork has become very soft, fish out the rind and herbs and discard. Using two forks, pull apart the meat. Alternatively, use a potato masher to mash and break apart the meat. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Reserve up to 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Once cooked through, drain the pasta and add to the ragu. Thin with some reserved cooking water if necessary and toss with some parsley and butter.

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Serve on warmed bowls with lots of grated Parmesan. Top with a dollop of ricotta and some bread crumbs.

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Hand Cut Papardelle for 6

  • 100 g semolina
  • 300 g flour or ‘OO’ flour if you have it
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Mix the flours and salt in a stand up mixer. Add the eggs and oil and knead for 5 minutes on low with a bread hook until a ball is formed. Remove the dough and divide into two pieces. Knead each piece of dough for another 3-4 minutes. Form a disc with the dough and wrap with plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Cut each piece of dough in half and roll out using a rolling pin until about 1/2 inch in thickness. Run through the pasta roller starting with the widest setting. Run the dough through each setting at least 3 times before reducing the setting.

I like a thinner pasta so usually roll my dough until setting #5 on my kitchenaid roller. Cut the length of dough in half. Each half should be no more than 2 feet in length. Dust lightly with flour and fold in half and then into thirds. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the dough into 2 cm width ribbons. Unfold the ribbons and hang to dry or cook immediately.

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Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Cook the dough in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. I find that homemade pasta doesn’t take nearly as long to cook. From a completely dried state, it only took 4 minutes.

Bread Crumbs and Minted Ricotta

  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint leaves, minced (more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

In a dry pan, mix the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt. Cook over medium heat until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, nutmeg, olive oil, mint and zest. Set aside.

 

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