Fresh Pasta with Pork Shoulder and Cocoa Sugo
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
Chef Vic Casanova flavors house-made pasta with cocoa to serve with his luscious pork ragù. The inspiration: traditional Italian recipes like this one, in which a little cocoa powder deepens the savory flavor of a meaty sauce.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 slices
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced rosemary
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced sage
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound fresh tonnarelli or linguine
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the pork slices with salt and pepper and brown over moderately high heat, turning once, 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary and sage to the casserole and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cocoa powder and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
- Return the pork to the pot, nestling it into the liquid. Cover and braise in the oven until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Remove the meat and pull it into large shreds, discarding any fat. Transfer the braising liquid and vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the meat and sauce to the pot and stir in the mint, parsley, crushed red pepper and butter.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce, tossing over low heat until nicely coated, about 2 minutes. Serve the pasta in bowls, passing grated Pecorino at the table.
The pork-cocoa sugo can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Pour a ripe, fruit-forward Nero d’Avola from Sicily to go with this cocoa-scented, Sicilian-inspired ragù.