What's for Dinner: Tagliatelle with Pork Ragu

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Tagliatelle with Pork Ragu

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We don't eat a lot of pork in the McKay household, but this hearty pasta recipe turned out so well, it's sure to be a keeper. Pork ragus are traditionally made with slow-cooked, shredded pork butt or shoulder, but this one substitutes the more economical ground pork. It simmers on your stove for nearly 2 hours, so your kitchen will smell heavenly. Ideal for an informal winter dinner, paired with rustic bread and salad.

  • 6 ounces sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 leafy rosemary sprigs
  • 2 leafy sage sprigs
  • 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into 3 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 14-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 pound tagliatelle

Remove sausage from casing and break into bits. Tie together rosemary, sage and 1 piece celery with kitchen string.

In a wide heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, remaining celery, herb bundle and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add sausage and cook 3 more minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to break up clumps into tiny bits. Add pork and cook, breaking up meat into bits, for 3 minutes more, then add tomato puree and 11/4 cups water; stir to combine well.

Bring sauce to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 11/2 hours. Remove and discard celery, herbs and garlic.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and immediately toss with ragu.

Serves 4 to 6.

-- Adapted from "La Cucina Italiana," Oct. 2010

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