PORK RAGU

 PORK RAGU

About 3 lb pork on bones, can be ribs, neck bones or other

1/4 lb pancetta diced

4 cloves garlic – chopped finely

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion chopped – the sweeter the onion the sweeter the sauce!

1 stalk celery chopped

8 baby carrots chopped in very small pieces ( baby carrots are sweeter!)

1 c. red Italian wine (vino rosso) – could be a Chianti or Valpolicella

2 28 oz cans San Marzano Tomatoes- if you can find them because San Marzano tomatoes are by far the tastiest – if you can’t – use other- can use crushed or whole peeled and crush them

1/2 c. chopped Fresh Flat (preferable) Leaf Italian Parsley

1/2 cup chopped Fresh Basil

2 Tbsp chopped Fresh Oregano

1 tsp sugar

1 – 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt (to taste)

6-7 twists of the Black Pepper grinder

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Fresh Basil chopped for garnish

Begin by just browning the pancetta pieces.

Add the olive oil and then the garlic and pork with heat at medium being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Just brown each side of the pork as it will cook thoroughly in the sauce. Remove the pork pieces, set aside, and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Stir occasionally and cook these vegetables about 5 min until just tender.

Then add the browned meat back to the pan followed by the wine.Scrape the bottom of the pan a little to release the small bits from the bottom of the pan, turning the meat to let the wine seep into both sides. Cook the wine for about 2-3 min at medium high and let it bubble.

Then add the San Marzano Tomatoes, and all herbs and remaining seasoning including the sugar. ( Loretta and Attilio would be taken aback by this last addition as they used to whisper “so and so puts sugar in their sauce” as if some law had been broken.) In ancient times, sugar was said to be used only by the wealthy as it was considered dear. In our household it was – GASP ! – the Cardinal Sin.

My personal take on this is that the sugar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and adds a little balance to the sauce.

If you have a rind or a piece of one from your Parmigiano-Reggiano, go ahead and drop it in the sauce as it simmers! It will add another level of flavor.

Simmer this sauce on low heat for about 3 hours – stirring occasionally. I like to cover mine while simmering. You know it’s done when the meat is so tender that is falls easily from the bones.

When sauce is finished, remove the pork pieces to a separate dish. the meat should be falling off the bones and you might have to “fish” for it.

The next step is familiar to those especially in the South who make barbecue. Take 2 forks and gently use them to shred the meat pulling in opposite directions.

Discard the bones and the fat. You might want to stir a couple of tablespoons of the sauce into the meat. I like to keep the meat separate from the sauce until serving time.

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