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Recipe

Pasta with Sicilian Pork and Sausage Ragù

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 2 quarts

Servings: 8-12

When Italian-Americans talk about “Sunday sauce” or “gravy,” they mean this classic southern Italian ragù.  Tomatoes are prominent, and the sauce’s flavor is brightened by the fennel in the sausages.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Sicilian Nero d’Avola
  • 3 cups strained tomatoes or tomato purée
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage (3 links)
  • 2 lb. short, sturdy pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, or cavatappi
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 200
      Fat Calories (kcal): 90
      Fat (g): 10
      Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5
      Cholesterol (mg): 50
      Sodium (mg): 760
      Carbohydrates (g): 5
      Fiber (g): 2
      Protein (g): 17

Preparation

Make the ragu

  • Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the pork generously on both sides with salt and pepper and sear the meat on both sides until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a deep platter.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic and onion to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot, raise the heat to medium high, and add the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Remove the sausages from their casings and break the meat apart over the pot, allowing it to fall into the sauce in small clumps. Cover the pot and simmer gently, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn the pork shoulder; then re-cover and continue to cook at a gentle simmer, turning the meat once or twice more, until very tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Transfer the pork to a cutting board with tongs and let cool for a few minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat and return it to the sauce. Cook over low heat until the meat and sauce are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta and serve

  • When ready to serve, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente—you want it to still have some bite because it will continue to cook a bit while you’re tossing it with the ragù. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return it to the pot and toss it with some of the ragù, adding a little cooking water if it seems dry. Serve the pasta with more ragù spooned over the top, garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you like.

Make Ahead Tips

The ragù can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently before tossing with the pasta.

Start the meal off with an Arugula & Fennel Salad with Orange & Fennel Seed Dressing & Toasted Hazelnuts and make it a really special Sunday dinner by serving a classic Tiramisù for dessert.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • patricia_s32606 | 02/11/2015

    My cooking time was longer as my meat was a tad more in the weight department. When shredding the pork I was careful to eliminate all of the fat that I could. And as the sauce was cooling I skimmed the top twice before I added the shredded meat. I also used spicy sausage as some of the other reviewers did. This is an excellent dish.

  • quequeen | 02/05/2015

    Great dinner any time but on a cold night you can't beat it!

  • seedyonenyc | 11/09/2013

    Results were pretty good for the limited effort required. My 2-cents on the timing issue is I think it should read "1.5 hours MORE" or "for a total of 2 hrs." instead of "about 1-1/2 hours" as at that point things got "tender" for me. I'll be making this again but will not use a tomato puree. I'll switch to crushed or dice tomatoes as the puree seemed a bit washed out & lacked the acidity I was expecting. I think that will also help the 'tenderness'.

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