Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù

I totally nailed this one. That is, once I noticed that tiny but ever-so-key part of the instructions that read "and then simmer....for 4 hours." The girls were a bit disappointed to learn that the pasta I'd promised for dinner was actually not going to be ready until the next day (due to my recipe-reading oversight) but it was well worth the wait! Graham and I have a thing for bolognese-type meat sauces and have tried countless restaurant renditions around the city. But in our humble opinion, none of them have topped our own homemade version (I'll share that recipe another day). Until now. This new ragu-style recipe stole my heart tonight and, along with it, may now hold my vote for the best meat sauce. It's a close call. Regardless, you need to try it. The recipe (and above picture) are courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine. I followed the recipe mostly as written except that I substituted dried oregano because I didn't have fresh. I love that it recommends using the food processor to finely chop the veggies rather than doing it by hand - a huge time saver! Definitely go for the hot Italian sausage over the sweet and next time I think I will add more carrots and celery. I can't wait to make a big batch and freeze it for those rushed weeknight dinners. Enjoy!

Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù

1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound ground pork
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound rigatoni or penne rigate
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan plus more
Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 min-utes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.

Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. Season with salt. 

DO AHEAD: Ragù can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce; stir to coat. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan.

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posted by kelsie