Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pappardelle with Meat Ragu

Takes more then 2 hours to slow cook the Pork Shoulder, but well woth the wait for a super tender meat ragu and delicious mix of tomato, red wine and sweet vegetables

We were having friends for dinner, and as usual, I experienced the joy and stress of selecting what to make.  My friend, Jen, suggested pasta, so I pulled this recipe from "The Nest" Magazine that I've been saving since Summer 2008.  Paired with a selection of Giada recipes for the Salad, Dessert and Signature Cocktail the meal was a good amount of food but not overwhelming and the blend of flavors worked perfectly:

Pre-Dinner Cocktail: Amaretto Sour with Prosecco
Salad: Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi
Entree: Pappardelle with Meat Ragu
Dessert: Amaretti Torta

Serves 2 - large portions
3/4 lb pork shoulder (ask your butcher to cut into 1-inch cubes...I did this myself)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups tomato, seeded and chopped
2 cups chicken or beef broth (I used beef)
1/2lb pappardelle pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/ Sprinkle cubed meat with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; add meat.  Cook 5 minutes or until browned.

2/ Add pancetta; cook 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add garlic and next 5 ingredients.  Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not too soft.  Stir in mushrooms and tomato paste.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let mixture caramelize on bottom of pot.

3/ Add wine and scrape bottom of pot to loosen browned bits.  Cook on medium-high heat about 7 minutes or until the wine is almost evaporated.  Stir in chopped tomato and broth.  Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Simmer 2 hours or until meat is tender; remove bay leaf.  Skim any excess oil off the top of ragu and press down on ragu with a potato masher or spatula to break up any large pieces.

4/ Cook pappardelle according to package instructions.  Drain.

5/ Serve ragu over pappardelle and top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

If you like this recipe, I also recommend Lamb Shank and Potato Tangine.

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