Pork Ragù

There’s something special about a ragù. Like a bolognese, it’s something that just simmers along for hours until it turns into the homiest sauce. The difference is that a ragù (at least one like this) results in meat whose tenderness is the marker of success. You’re not just simmering, you’re braising. That means fall-off-the-bone, melt in your mouth meat. For this particular sauce, I followed this recipe from NYT for braised pork all’arrabbiata and simply cut it in half. [Following recipe is for the full portion, which feeds 6-8]

Heat the oven to 350 and season 2 – 2.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder (trimmed of fat) simply with salt and pepper before searing it (in oil) on all sides in a Dutch oven (8-10 min). Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 10 smashed garlic cloves and 1 1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Add 3 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 c. red wine, and 5 sprigs of fresh basil (sprigs, not leaves). Stir it up, add salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When it comes out of the oven, you should be able to shred it up easily with two forks (mix with tomato sauce as you go) directly in that Dutch oven, which you’ll bring right to the table as your serving dish because this is a rustic meal.

This sauce has a nice kick to it. This is what happens when you make arrabbiata yourself instead of buying it in a jar (which usually tastes like normal marinara to me). And while it took a lot of time, it didn’t require much effort or a long list of ingredients. I served this over the fresh pasta I had picked up at Raffetto’s with a big salad and some homemade garlic bread. This was the EPITOME of a Sunday Supper. Close your eyes and you’ll think you’re sitting around an old wobbly wooden table in a nonna’s Tuscan home.