Pasta with Braised Pork, Red Wine and Pancetta

In the winter, I always make tons of this pasta and freeze it in quart-size Ziploc bags for quick meals. It’s inspired by some of the best sauces I’ve eaten all over Italy and NYC (thank you to Mario Batali and Michael White for teaching me how to appreciate and create real pasta). I like this sauce with tubetti or short mezzi rigatoni, so that it gets into all the holes. The pork lends fattiness, the wine gives a balanced acidity and the pancetta delivers all the wholesome saltiness you could ever want from an ingredient. If you use really high quality pancetta, you will also get a fine line of cured funk throughout the dish that is sublime. Don’t use cheap pancetta here, but yes, Boar’s Head brand is just fine.

I developed this dish about 15 years ago for some corporate classes I was doing at Cooks of Crocus Hill in St. Paul, and I met my wife the night I first taught this Italian classic to my students. I hope it works out as well for you.—Andrew Zimmern


Slideshow: Italian Pasta Recipes


  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 small carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • One 14-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 pound dried strozzapreti or tubetti pasta
  • Freshly grated pecorino cheese, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. <p>In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until the fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a medium bowl. </p>

  2. <p>Season the pork with salt and pepper and add half of it to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat until richly browned all over, about 5 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the pork to the bowl with the pancetta. Repeat with remaining pork.</p>

  3. <p>Wrap the sage, thyme and rosemary in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Add this bundle to the casserole along with the onion, carrot, celery, leek and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole and bring to a boil. Return the pancetta and pork shoulder to the casserole and simmer over moderately low heat until liquid is almost fully evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and tomato puree and return to a boil. Cover and simmer the sauce over moderately low heat for 1 hour, until the meat is very tender. </p>

  4. <p>Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce and discard the herb bundle. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss until well-coated. Transfer to shallow bowls and serve right away, passing grated pecorino at the table. </p>

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Skim the fat off the surface before reheating gently.

Contributed By Photo © Stephanie Meyer Published February 2011

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501748 recipes/pasta-braised-pork-red-wine-and-pancetta 2013-12-06T23:40:44+00:00 Andrew Zimmern february-2011,Andrew Zimmern recipes,pasta-braised-pork-red-wine-and-pancetta 501748

Aggregate Rating value: 5

Review Count: 2652

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: Sunshyne08

Review Body: This is delicious. I had to buy another cut as shoulder around us is at least 9lbs per package so I pickeda similar cut. I also did not have fresh herbs but instead used dried in my cheesecloth and it came out fine. I agree with the other reviewer that the wine does not reduce in 10 minutes but the extra time on this is worth it. Beware it is stewlike in consistency but you thicken if you wish or soak it up with bread as I do. You do need the pepper and cheese as a topping imo.

Date Published: 2017-02-01

Author Name: Nicki Dugan Pogue

Review Body: This was a HUGE hit with my family - the pork became melt-in-your-mouth tender. But I was sweating it while cooking. The times are not at ALL accurate. How can you evaporate 2 cups of wine in 10 minutes? I doubled the recipe and I think my total cooking time once everything was added was 2.5 hours (vs 1 hour). Took MUCH longer to thicken and reduce into a sauce vs. soup. But if you stick with it, it's amazing! Just beware the time commitment (I was up til 1am waiting....)

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-01-08