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Pork And Sausage Ragù

When Italian-Americans talk about “Sunday sauce” or “gravy” they mean this classic southern Italian ragù. Tomatoes are prominent, and the sauce’s flavor is brightened by the fennel in the sausages. Serve with a short, sturdy pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or cavatappi.

Yields about 2 quarts, enough for about 2 lb. pasta; serves 8 to 12

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups)

1 cup dry red wine, such as Sicilian Nero d’Avola

3 cups strained tomatoes or tomato purée

3 dried bay leaves

½ lb. sweet Italian pork sausage (3 links)

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the pork generously on both sides with salt and pepper and sear the meat on both sides until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a deep platter.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic and onion to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot, raise the heat to medium high, and add the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Remove the sausages from their casings and break the meat apart over the pot, allowing it to fall into the sauce in small clumps. Cover the pot and simmer gently, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn the pork shoulder; then re-cover and continue to cook at a gentle simmer, turning the meat once or twice more, until very tender, about 1½ hours.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board with tongs and let cool for a few minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat and return it to the sauce. Cook over low heat until the meat and sauce are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with cooked pasta and grated cheese, if you like.

The ragù can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine October / November 2011

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