Saturday, 14 January 2012
Tung In Cheek.
Acouple weeks ago, my friends and I went to Lil Frankie’s in the East Village. We ordered salad, pizza, pasta, and beer for the table so we could get a taste of everything. The special pasta for the day was a braised pork shoulder ragu with gnocchi, easily the best dish of the night.
About a week later, I promised to remake the ragu that we’d shared at dinner. With 13 of us, there was really only enough for everyone to have one bite–it was so delicious that we all wished we each could have our own plate of the ragu.
In my quest to replicate the dish, I looked at several recipes for pork ragu–some required that I roast a whole pork shoulder before adding it to sauce while others were much simpler, requiring nothing more than sauteeing carrots and onions and one round of browning the meat in the braising pan before adding stock and tomatoes to cover.
I picked a recipe that I thought would have more depth of flavor, one that involved an overnight marinade and essentially two rounds of cooking the meat down: the first was a vigorous reduction of the wine marinade until it evaporated while the second was a slow simmer in sauce and broth.
Note: I was making ragu for a party of 12, so it took me about 3 times the cooking time.
Time: 3 1/2 hours plus overnight marinating
- 1 pound wild boar shoulder or leg, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
- 1 sprig rosemary, torn in half
- 1 tablespoon mixed whole black, pink and white peppercorns
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups Chianti or other red wine, or as needed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup canned tomatoes with liquid
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- Tagliatelle, or other pasta, for serving.
1. The night before making the ragù, place the meat in a bowl with the rosemary, peppercorns, garlic and enough wine to cover. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Discard the rosemary and garlic. Drain the meat in a strainer set over a bowl, reserving the wine. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering, and add the carrot, celery and onion. Sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid released by the meat has evaporated and the meat is browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the reserved wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is dry, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add 1 cup water, reduce heat to very low, and cook, partly covered, at a low simmer for 1 hour.
4. Add vegetable stock and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to break apart, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and, using a whisk or spoon, break the meat into very fine shreds. Serve, if desired, over tagliatelle or other pasta.
Yield: 4 first-course servings.