Slow, savory, sensual Sunday suppers. Flavors are intensified. Smells are intoxicating. Time seems to slow down. I adore them.
You could make this parppadelle with pork ragu recipe any day of the week, but you shouldn't. You should make it on a Sunday, a day when you've got a few hours to let the pork simmer, to let yourself soak in its rich aroma, while you nurse a glass of red wine. Pork ragu should not be rushed. Give it its time, and you'll reap the rewards.
Parppadelle with Pork Ragu
Serves 8 to 10
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 pound bone-in pork shoulder or butt*
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 fennel bulb, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juice
2 cups chicken stock
A couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
A couple of pinches of salt and black pepper
1/2 cup fresh finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese cheese, plus extra for garnish
2 pounds parppadelle pasta
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Using a sharp knife, trim any excess fat off the pork shoulder. Pat the meat dry and season generously with salt and black pepper. In a large Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sear the pork shoulder on all sides until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the bacon and let some of the fat render, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, celery, fennel, and garlic, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the white wine; cook until slightly reduced, about 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, using a pair of kitchen scissors or your hands, cut or squish the tomatoes into large chunks. Add the tomatoes with the juices and the chicken stock to the pot. Nestle the pork into the sauce and season with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, turning the pork once, until the meat easily falls apart with a fork. Remove the pork and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a large cutting board and using two large forks, begin shredding the meat. Discard any excess fat along with the bone. Place the shredded pork back into the pot with the parsley and cheese and stir well. If the sauce is too soupy, then place the pot, uncovered, over medium-low heat, until thickened. If it's too thick for your taste, then simply add some water or chicken broth and stir.
2. Cook pasta in salted water according to directions, until al dente. Add pasta to the pot and toss until well coated. Transfer to a large bowl or individual serving bowls. Garnish with extra parsley and grated cheese before serving.
Make ahead: If you want to make ahead, then cool the ragu to room temperature and refrigerate overnight which will cause the sauce to thicken. When ready to serve, reheat on medium-low until warm, adding additional chicken stock or water as necessary. Adjust seasoning, if desired.
*Pork shoulder and pork butt are the same cut of meat; they're called different names in different geographic regions.