Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Italian Pork Ragu for Pasta or Polenta

Italian Pork Ragu

Think of this as Italian Pulled Pork

Cooler weather has arrived in our part of the world, so we’re looking for heartier fare. Like this luscious meat ragu.

In Italian, “ragù” refers to a meat-based sauce. In the US, we mostly use beef for Italian Pasta Sauce. But pork makes a tasty change.

Serve this ragu by tossing it with pasta or ladling it over creamy soft polenta. But be sure to wear ear protection when you dish this up. Because once your guests taste it, their cheers will be deafening.



Italian Pork Ragu

Recipe: Italian Pork Ragu for Pasta or Polenta

To make this dish, we first brown chunks of pork, then slowly simmer them in a tomato sauce. When the meat is fall-apart tender, we remove the pork chunks and shred them. Then we return them to the sauce to finish cooking. So it’s a bit like making a braised pulled pork, but with an Italian twist.

What kind of meat should you use? We suggest using cuts similar to those you’d use for barbecue. You could try a nice shoulder roast (either Boston butt roast or picnic ham). Or maybe pork steaks, country-style ribs, or spare ribs. But be warned that if you use spare ribs alone, the ragu will have a particularly strong “porky” flavor.

This recipe was inspired by a dish we had at Mad Tomato (a St Louis restaurant that sadly has since closed). Our recipe is similar to the restaurant’s — but with some changes that we think improve it.

When we serve this ragu over pasta, we like to use dried pasta with a textured shape. We generally use farfalle or a ridged tubular shape like rigatoni. If you want to use fresh pasta, we suggest a wide shape, such as pappardelle.

This ragu is also great served over soft polenta. Polenta can be fussy to make if you use the traditional method (all that stirring). Fortunately, we’ve found a foolproof no-stir method of making it in the oven. Here's the recipe.

Exact measurements and times aren’t critical for this recipe. Prep time will take about half an hour (that includes browning the meat). Cooking time adds about 3 hours—or longer if you want an even richer sauce.

This recipe yields at least 10 servings. Leftovers freeze very well.

Ingredients
  • ~3 pounds pork shoulder (see headnote and Notes for substitutions) 
  • 2 pork spareribs (optional; you’ll have to ask at the butcher counter if you want only two)
  • salt for seasoning the meat (to taste; see Notes)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil for browning the meat
  • 1 to 2 cups white or red wine (see Notes; may substitute chicken stock)
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions (about 1½ to 2 cups when diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
  • ~1 tablespoon olive oil for browning the onions
  • additional salt for seasoning the onions and garlic (to taste; see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 six-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato purée (but see Notes)
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
  • ~1 28-ounce can of water (you may need to add more at the end of cooking)
  • ~1 tablespoon of chicken base or additional salt for seasoning the sauce, if needed (see Notes)
  • dried pasta of your choice—3 to 4 ounces dried pasta per serving (we like to use farfalle—see headnote; may substitute soft polenta for pasta)
  • additional salt for seasoning the pasta water 
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish
  • chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Begin by cutting the meat into good-sized chunks. If using a shoulder roast, cut it into slices about an inch thick. We often cut the slices in half again, lengthwise. If your shoulder roast has a bit of bone in it (most will), simply adjust by cutting a slice that includes the bone. Once you have cut the meat, dry it thoroughly, then salt to season.
  2. Place a large frying pan on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and allow it to heat (it’ll shimmer or ripple when ready—about 15 seconds). Then add enough chunks of meat to the pan to fill it without overcrowding. Be sure to leave sufficient space between the chunks of meat so they have room to brown (otherwise, you’ll just steam them). Brown the chunks until they are deep brown on one side (3 to 5 minutes). Then use tongs to turn the meat and brown another side. Continue until you have browned the meat on all sides. When the first batch of meat is finished browning, remove it to a plate. Then brown the remaining chunks of meat, adding more oil to the pan if necessary. 
  3. When all the meat is browned (and you’ve set it aside on a plate), pour any excess oil out of the frying pan. Then add the wine to the pan, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits of meat that have stuck to the bottom, mixing them with the wine. Set aside until Step 6.
  4. While you’re browning the meat, peel the onions and cut them into dice of about ½ inch. Peel the garlic, then mince it or slice it finely.
  5. Heat a large cooking pot (the ideal size is one that holds 5 or 6 quarts) on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add about a tablespoon of olive oil. When it’s heated (it’ll shimmer; about 15 seconds), add the chopped onions and garlic, then season with salt to taste. Reduce the heat and sauté the mixture until the onions are translucent but not browned (this usually takes about 8 minutes).
  6. When the onions are ready, add the red pepper flakes and sauté for another 15 seconds or so. Then add the tomato paste and the oregano, and stir everything together. Sauté the mixture for a couple of minutes. Then add the wine mixture from the frying pan (see Step 3), and stir again to combine. Stir and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated—10 minutes, maybe a bit longer. Keep an eye on the pot so the tomato paste doesn’t scorch.
  7. Next add the browned pork, the tomato purée, and the plum tomatoes (we usually whirl the plum tomatoes in a blender first to break them up), plus a 28-ounce can of water. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a simmer. Then simmer the mixture for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally (you want a very low simmer, with just a few bubbles coming up to the surface of the liquid). Cover the cooking pot while simmering, with the lid ajar.
  8. After about an hour of simmering, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If it needs salt (it probably will), you can add it at this point. But we suggest adding some chicken base instead. Chicken base is salty, and will add an extra dimension of flavor to the dish.
  9. After about 2 hours of simmering, check the meat. It should be fork-tender. If not, continue cooking. Once the meat is sufficiently tender, remove it from the cooking pot with tongs. Let it cool until you can handle it, then use 2 forks to shred the meat. Discard any bones and return the shredded meat to the cooking pot, and simmer the mixture for another half hour or so. Add a bit of water if the sauce is too thick for your taste.
  10. BTW, if the shreds of pork are a bit on the large size, you can break them up in the cooking pot with an immersion blender. Use a blender with a stainless shaft—plastic ones can crack in hot liquid.
  11. When ready to serve, prepare the pasta in a separate cooking pot according to package directions (salting the water adds flavor—use about a tablespoon of salt for 4 quarts of water). Cook the pasta until it’s almost al dente, then remove a cup of the pasta water (just dip it out with a measuring cup—exact quantity not important) and reserve it. Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, then add the pasta back to its empty cooking pot. Place the pasta pot over very low heat and spoon in as much meat sauce as you like (probably ½ cup to 1 cup per serving, depending on how saucy you like your pasta). If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve the consistency you like. Continue cooking the pasta in sauce over low heat until the pasta is al dente. This takes maybe a minute—stir often so the pasta sauce doesn’t burn.
  12. Dish up the pasta and sauce. Garnish with freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 to 3 tablespoons per serving). Then sprinkle on chopped basil or parsley, if you like, and serve. We usually place extra grated cheese on the table so people can add more if they like.
     
Italian Pork Ragu

Notes
  • If you prefer a very meat-heavy sauce, just increase the amount of pork you use (up to 4 pounds or so total).
  • We like to add spare ribs to this sauce because the bones add extra succulence. But feel free to omit them if you prefer.
  • BTW, if you use spare ribs alone in this dish, definitely increase the amount to 4 pounds (or even more). Otherwise, the sauce won’t have enough meat. 
  • If you want a thinner, less meaty sauce, add an extra can of tomatoes (either purée or plum tomatoes).
  • You can make this sauce with tomato purée only if you like, but we prefer to mix it with whole canned tomatoes.
  • The wine is optional in this dish, though it does add extra flavor. We prefer to use white wine when making pork ragu (we generally use red wine for beef). But red works fine with pork too, if that’s your preference. Whichever you use, we suggest using a dry wine with a fruit-forward flavor.
  • If you don’t want to use wine, we suggest substituting chicken stock.
  • We also use chicken base (see Step 8) to add extra flavor. Chicken base is chicken stock that has been reduced to a paste. You can find it in the soup aisle of most supermarkets. It tends to be a bit salty, so start by adding just a little at a time (tasting after each addition).
  • We salt ingredients as we cook in order to add layers of flavor. Doing it this way means we actually end up using less salt overall. As the recipe indicates, we salt the meat before we brown it, then salt the onions and garlic as we’re sautéing then.
  • How much salt to use in this ragu? Whatever amount tastes good to you. Everyone has a different preference for saltiness. If in doubt, use less than you think you’ll need. You can always add more later. Or at table.
  • Some cooks like to add a bit of sugar to tomato sauce right at the end of cooking to sweeten it (and reduce acidity). We don’t usually do this, but feel free to add sugar if you find it improves the flavor.
  • Alternatively, you could dice up a couple of carrots and add them to the onions in Step 5. Carrots are naturally sweet, so they may provide all the sweetness you need.
  • We like to garnish this dish with Pecorino Romano, which has a tangy, salty taste. But Parmigiano-Reggiano works well too—so there’s no need to buy Pecorino Romano just for this dish.
  • If you wish, you can drizzle a teaspoon or so of truffle oil over the top of each plate before serving. The aroma is intoxicating—but we don’t think it adds much to the overall flavor. 
  • A garnish of chopped fresh basil or parsley adds an additional touch of flavor to this dish—not to mention a cheerful splash of color. 
  • If you prefer to serve this dish over polenta rather than tossed with pasta, just prepare the polenta according to the package directions (or wait for our post next week, which offers an easier way to cook it). When the ragu is done, dish up some polenta on each serving plate, and ladle the ragu over it.
  • BTW, on a recent trip to Boston we saw several restaurant menus that featured pork ragu over polenta as an appetizer. We like this dish better as a main, but it does make a fun starter, too.
Italian Pork Ragu
Italian Pork Ragu served over polenta

La Dolce Vita

“Loved this dish the very first time I had it,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.  “As they say in Italian, it was amore a prima vista.”

“It’s a great dish,” I agreed. “But I didn’t realize you could speak Italian.”

“I don't really,” said Mrs K R. “But as you know, I’m opera-crazed. And there are so many Italian operas! Eventually I just started picking up phrases.”

“That’s porkocious of you,” I said.

Mrs K R shot me a look.

“So, do you like this ragu better with pasta or polenta?” I asked.

“I’ll definitely pig out on either one,” said Mrs K R. “But these days I’m leaning towards polenta. Especially since you’ve found such an easy, foolproof way to cook it.”

“That polenta recipe almost makes itself,” I said. “Very little work involved. We'll be posting about it next week.”

“So I’ll get to have this pork ragu again?” said Mrs K R.

“Absolutely,” I said. “After all, we’re orkerspay.”

“Orkerspay?” said Mrs K R. “Don’t think that’s an Italian word.”

“No, I don’t speak Italian,” I said. “But I do know Pig Latin.”

“Oh,” said Mrs K R. “Orkerspay—porkers.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Clever, don’t you think?”

“Actually,” said Mrs K R. “I think the Italian word for it is ridicolo.”

Basta!

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Or check out the index for more recipes

102 comments:

  1. Hi John , You have out-done yourself again , what a terrific dish (mouth watering) pleasing to the eye so it's got to be pleasing to the taste buds . Family will enjoy this dish Sunday ... it will also make the house smell good . I enjoy the chats between you and Mrs. K R , I think she comes out ahead most time (giggling) say hello to Kitty Riffs . Thanks for sharing :) Pinning

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    1. Hi Nee, this is a wonderful ragu! Your family will love it, and you're so right that your house will smell good. ;-) And Mrs KR insists that she comes out ahead on those dialogues. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. This does look delicious and I can see why you'd need ear protection, the cheers of delight would be loud.

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    1. Hi SG, not only will you hear cheers when you serve this, but you'll be dishing up seconds. So make plenty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. This seems like the ultimate comforting fall dinner!

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    1. Hi Laura, it really is a wonderful fall dish -- comforting, as you say. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I love it when the weather turns cooler so slow-cooking dishes are the obvious choice. Looks divine!

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    1. Hi Debra, fall is my favorite time of the year to cook! And for just this reason. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. It looks and sounds incredible! My kind of comfort food.

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    1. Hi Pam, this is really, really good. And, and did I say it's really good? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Beautiful! My husband would happily eat this every single day!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, I could eat this every single day too! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I can't wait to see your recipe for polenta making next week. All that stirring makes me want to order in ..LOL

    That pork ragu is looking delicious but I do want to point out that the bread next to it is making me want to grab a bite right now.

    Very informative post about meat cuts and a great recipe.

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    1. Hi Ansh, the polenta recipe is really a winner. Totally easy. Quality isn't quite as good as the traditional method, but very, very close. And you won't notice the difference for a dish like this. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. It is a little too warm yet, but I do love this ragu. I like to use half for pulled pork and the other for ragu. I can't wait to see your polenta recipe. I don't mind the stirring, but your oven version sound like a party menu. Yum...

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    1. Hi Madonna, it's pretty easy to adjust quantities on the oven polenta, so it would indeed be fitting for a party. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Oh, yum.....this looks wonderful! I think it is time for a nice Italian dinner, thanks :)

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    1. Hi Pat, it's always time for an Italian dinner IMO. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Ohhh that looks like a perfect comfort meal

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    1. Hi Raymund, it truly is perfect comfort. ;-) Thanks for the comlment.

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  11. This sounds fantastic. I'm so ready for dishes like this after a long, hot summer. I love that oven polenta too, so much easier!

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    1. Hi Chis, this is really a wonderful dish -- truly worth having. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. This is definitely a hearty and satisfying meal and something I would enjoy. Thank you, John and welcome back! :)

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    1. Hi Ray, glad to be back. :-) And this is really satisfying stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Hi John,
    Couldn't wait to read this post...I make my ragu similar to yours, by browning the meat (usually pork and beef) first, then adding the rest of the ingredients. The only thing that I have never tried is the wine mixed with it..have to give it a try next time..sounds tasty. The meat is so tender that it falls off of the bones and it is shredded by itself. We always use this ragu on pasta not polenta. But I will be looking forward to your recipe next week...Sometimes waiting longer for dinner is well worth it, and this is worth it! Love the banter between you and Mrs. K Riffs...you both remind me of years ago a radio show that the husband and wife used to banter back and forth....Love it so much fun...Thank you for sharing this spectacular dish with us....Have a great and fun week...
    Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, the wine really adds something IMO. I do this with my beef ragu, too (although in that case I usually used ground beef, and add the browned meat to the tomato paste with the wine, and cook the wine down that way). Both beef and pork ragu go well with polenta, but the pork in particular. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. What a scrumptious looking and sounding dish. This makes my imagination soar--thanks for the inspiration. --Rocquie

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    1. Hi Rocquie, isn't this a great dish? Thanks goodness we have some in the freezer, because I'm starting to get hungry for it all over again. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Really delicious looking pork ragu. At first I thought it would be ground but love that it is a piece of meat (duh pulled pork comment). And I love the idea of creamy soft polenta! thanks for sharing!a

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    1. Hi Evelyne, I mix ground pork with ground beef when I make a beef ragu, but for this dish it's shredded meat all the way. Just works better, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I am very familiar with pork ragu. I first started making it a few years after seeing Lidia Bastianich make it on her show. My family loves it, and like Mrs. KR, we adore it on polenta. I usually use pork country style ribs and almost exclusively when they are on sale. Any old excuse to make this dish. Yours looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Karen, I love Lidia Bastianich! Didn't see that show, though. I have a cookbook of hers -- should see if she has the recipe in there. Anyway, isn't this great stuff? Just love its texture. Pork country ribs are great in this. Almost wrote the recipe that way, but you can't find that cut everywhere in the US. And anyway, If you cut the pork shoulder the way I suggest, I think that works just a smidge better. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. This is a satisfying meal. Something that my husband would love. I, too, like to add pork when I make the meaty Bologna sauce. Yum!

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    1. Hi Holly, I often (not always) add pork to my Bologna sauce too. Pork adds so much flavor to an Italian tomato sauce, don't you think? Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Replies
    1. Hi Lizzy, we just can't help ourselves. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I need a bowl of this right now! Fall means pasta to me, so quit being an iggiepay and pass some over. But I love polenta an awful lot so hurry up with that too, please!

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    1. Hi Abbe, :-) The polenta recipe will be next Wednesday, grasshopper. Definitely worth waiting for! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I don't make pork ragu enough. Thank you for the reminder!! I actually think I like it even MORE than beef ragu. :)

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    1. Hi Nagi, I go back and forth between pork and beef ragu, but when paired with polenta, the pork definitely wins. Thanks for the comment.

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  21. For me, it'd be with polenta... which I love so much that I could eat by itself. :) It looks super yummy though.

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    1. Hi Denise, we love polenta too, and can eat it all by itself. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Way to go, John! Another great recipe to try! It's a hard decision to make though, over pasta or polenta and what kind of ear protection. It's perfect for this cool weather. Bet it's very delicious and porkocious! Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. Hi Pam, that ear protection question is particularly tough. And necessary. :D Thanks for the comment.

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  23. I thought for sure I was going to see ground pork. What a pleasant surprise to see a pork shoulder! Totally new concept for me using shredded pork in a ragu. And what a flavor enhancing adding the spare ribs. Very creative John! Looking forward to trying this once the weather cools off again. Right now we're having record highs. UGH! Thanks for another great recipe!

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    1. Hi MJ, this is a dynamite recipe -- such good stuff. I think you'll like it. Sorry about the hot weather -- we had some a week or so ago, but quite pleasant now, thank goodness. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I love the change from beef to pork. And I really like the idea of serving with polenta. The whole meal sounds hearty and completely delicious.

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    1. Hi Kristi, isn't this a nice change? And it's truly wonderful with polenta! Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Hi John, I am so ready for cold days and comfort food, still warm in Phoenix. This looks delicious!!

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    1. Hi Cheri, you may have a bit of a wait for cold weather in Phoenix, but it'll come. And then you'll be ready with this. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. You two are just so cute! Love this dish - I could eat two helpings. I want to go to Italy and learn to make homemade pasta with an old Italian woman who doesn't speak English. I don't speak Italian so it would be fun! Bravo :)

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    1. Hi Tricia, this is one of those dishes where people do ask -- beg! -- for seconds. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Your plating is really eye catching and mouth watering

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    1. Hi Jayanthi and Sindhiya, and this tastes great, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This beautiful pasta dish is getting me hungry at midnight!

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    1. Hi Sammie, get me hungry all the time! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. Pig Latin- I haven't heard that 'language' since primary school! Bravo for carrying on the tradition of this dish from the Mad Tomato restaurant!

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    1. Hi Fran, yeah, primary school is pretty much the last time I "used" Pig Latin too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. This sings to me. I love, love using pork for a ragu. My mother always flavored her Sunday sauce with pork neck bones (and she was quite picky about them). I do that from time to time and it does add flavor. By the way, husband-person and I have enjoyed your Cosmopolitan recipe many time this summer. Great patio drink. (and does pack a pretty punch.) We will switch to Manhattans now that it's cooler.

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    1. Hi Claudia, I need to try pork neck bones in this! I've used them in other things, and you're right: super flavor. Glad you and the husband-person are enjoying the Cosmo recipe. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. What a coincidence! I made a pork and veal ragu this week and served it with rigatoni. I agree this is hearty fare for when the weather cools. I also think if I was in a restaurant, I'd prefer this as a main rather than an appetiser - because it's hearty! xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, rigatoni is one of my favorite pasta shapes. Almost made this dish with it, as a matter of fact. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. The convo between you and Mrs KR are so amusing, I often find myself giggling away.
    What a spectacular feed you have created, I havent had enough time with sweltering heat to consider eating anything other than fresh salads and lighter types of food, but I love me some ragu, so will keep tucked away for when I need a filled feed. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Hi Anna, we will sometimes eat this in the summer, but with the AC going. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I saw the title and knew that winter was coming. I LOVE your Italian pork ragu and I don't think it's too summery yet. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, this is really an outstanding dish -- you'd like it. Truly orgasmic. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I love everything about this, made me so hungry!

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    1. Hi Caroline, sorry about that hunger thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. I so love a good ragu. Few things are as comforting as a meaty, hearty sauce like that. Big yum!

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    1. Hi Carolyn, totally agree -- a nice ragu is comforting and satisfying! Thanks for the comment.

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  36. I love the ear protection line almost better than the puns----I said 'almost'. Ha. I am a MAJOR pork lover. I will be very interested in seeing your fool proof recipe for the
    polenta. Perfect time of the year to feature this recipe.

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    1. Hi Carol, we're definitely getting into hearty food weather! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. Haha! I got a kick out of that Pig Latin lesson--I think I'd have to opt for the polenta here, too. Yum!

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    1. Hi Ala, learning Pig Latin is so educational, don't you think? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Damn delicious n comforting pasta ever!!!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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    1. Hi Dedy, truly delish! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Oh my, looking at this at 12am amkes my tummy grumble.

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    1. Hi Peachy, it's dangerous looking at food blogs at that hour! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. We were down into the 30's this morning so comfort food is definitely in order! Your pork ragu would be a hit with the hubby (and me, too, for that matter). Love all the delicious layers of flavor in your sauce.

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    1. Hi Liz, it's going to get cold here, too. Need to make some more of this! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Slow cooked Sunday supper, never looked so delicious! Bowtie pasta is perfect for this sauce so it grabs all the deliciousness in all of the nooks and crannies. I think I could each just the sauce by the spoonful.

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    1. Hi Bam, I can and do eat this sauce by the spoonful. ;-) Your boys would love this! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Ear deafening cheers from my guests?! Wow! This sounds and looks like a super delicious comfort meal.

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    1. Hi Amy, this is really good stuff. But do invest in ear protection. :D Thanks for the comment.

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  43. I want this pork ragu over polenta...it sounds and looks so good...a comforting dish for the colder weather...looks delicious John!
    Have a great week ahead :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, this is wonderful with polenta! Pasta too, but serving it with polenta is the best way to go IMO. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. Hi John,

    I wouldn't mind eating this beautiful ragu with either polenta or pasta too. It will be yummy with either combination.

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, heck, this is good all by itself! With better yet with pasta or polenta. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Not only are you a great cook but you are a very entertaining writer, John, and I thoroughly enjoy my visits here!
    This looks so delicious and I must confess to never having cooked polenta so I'll be looking forward to your next post. It's kinda like tofu to me - I just can't get past the texture thing so I buy it, it sits around until it goes bad and I throw it out, lol. Time to change that.
    Beautiful dish and I love the idea of including ribs! You're a true talent in the kitchen :)

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    1. Hi Robyn, we love polenta, but almost always serve it soft -- just after it's been cooked, and before it's hardened (which is the type one buys in a store). Almost a different thing entirely! Thanks for that very kind comment.

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  46. We have made something similar using wild pig. You are right, served on top of soft polenta or pasta this is a delicious meal…good job John.

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    1. Hi Karen, I've had wild boar versions of this. Super good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. This sounds like the perfect dish for the cooler weather. Sounds delicious.

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    1. Hi Dawn, it really is a wonderful dish. And you're right -- perfect for fall and winter weather! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. What a great recipe! A rich and comforting fall dish :) So delicious especially during the cold months to come.

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    1. Hi Dana, isn't this nice? And really terrific flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  49. I can't think of any meat that isn't improved by a long slow braise in tomato sauce. This sounds incredible! Have you tried serving a very porky ragu as a sandwich, similar to Italian beef?

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    1. Hi Lydia, not, I haven't tried this as a sandwich. It'd be awesome! Thanks for the idea. And the comment.

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  50. Pork ribs/shoulder make a fabulous ragu -- your photo and recipe are proof -- every porkolicious bite.

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    1. Hi Judy, don't you just love pork ragu? Such great flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  51. Pork ragu is one of my favourites, and definitely the meat of choice for my mother's ragu growing up! Love this recipe John.

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    1. Hi Amanda, isn't pork ragu amazing? Just love the the flavor of this. :-) Thanks for your comment.

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