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. Slideshow: Deliciously Meaty Pastas 

Food & Wine
April 2013

Gallery

© Christina Holmes

Recipe Summary

active:
45 mins
total:
3 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
6
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

Make Ahead

The pork-cocoa sugo can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Suggested Pairing

Pour a ripe, fruit-forward Nero d’Avola from Sicily to go with this cocoa-scented, Sicilian-inspired ragù.