It’s always good to be a little saucy;)
This tender pork enveloped in red wine and tomato broth does not disappoint!
From the moment you begin searing marbled chunks of pork shoulder, you will be enticed by the savory aroma.
So, ragu. What is it? It’s basically a one-pot stew where the acidic flavors of red wine and tomatoes meld beautifully with the sweet, savory flavors of pork and vegetables.
Pork shoulder is a nice cut because it’s rich and breaks down slowly leaving mouth-watering juices in its wake. This dish needs little seasoning besides the usual suspects: fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and maybe some hard cheese.
Wet and juicy, it simply begs to be enjoyed over some starchy mashed potatoes or wide, slick egg-noodles.
In fact, I’m going to show you how to make my favorite egg noodles from scratch. They’re charmingly uneven in shape and are so easy, they practically make themselves. You just need 1 egg, some all-purpose flour, and salt.
You can roll out the noodles while the pork cooks, so let’s get that going first…
How to Braise Pork Shoulder for Ragu in the Dutch Oven
The name of the game with braising is salting and seasoning throughout; you don’t want to dump all your ingredients in at once.
Rather, you want to heat each ingredient, seasoning generously with salt, pepper, and herbs to encourage more complex flavors at each stage (see caramelized pork below).
A Dutch oven will help you achieve a saucy, flavorful ragu by distributing heat evenly and retaining moisture (this is key).
After you sweat the vegetables (pictured above), the acid from the tomatoes and red wine will help to release any fond stuck to the bottom of the pot. Speaking of acid, I especially like cooking acidic dishes, like this one, in an enameled Dutch oven (as opposed to a cast iron one).
I usually eyeball this next part: You want to simmer the wine until half of its volume is reduced to ensure that the alcohol cooks out. At this point, you can just transfer the whole pot into the oven for about 2 hours.
Best Dry Red Wines:
I gravitate towards Malbec for braising, but you could use any dry, red table wine for cooking, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir.
Easy Peasy Pappardelle (My Go-To Egg Noodles)
Pappardelle are very wide, flat pasta noodles, and they’re perfect for serving underneath this hearty ragu. Plus, it’s possible to make basic egg noodles with no equipment.
- Start by placing 1 cup all-purpose flour on a clean counter-top. Use your fingers to make a well in the center.
- Drop an egg in the flour and a large pinch of salt. Use your fingers to slowly swirl the flour into the egg to form a dough. It’s ok if you don’t use all the flour. Pinch off a piece to roll and keep the remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out.
Kitchen Aid Pasta Attachment: If you have a pasta attachment for your kitchen aid, just be sure to start on the widest setting. Run the dough through each setting 2x (folding in half in between). I usually take my pasta noodles down to a setting of 5.
For those of you rolling the noodles with a rolling pin (or wine bottle), just dust the surface of the dough with a bit of flour and roll as thin as you can get it. Use a pizza cutter to cut into wide strips, about 1/4-inch wide.
Cooking with Fresh Pasta
Unlike dried, packaged pasta, fresh noodles only need a few minutes to cook through. Bring a pot of water to boil and salt like the sea (usually several large pinches of salt).
Drop the fresh pasta in and swirl a bit to prevent sticking. Remove within 4 minutes and toss with a bit of olive oil until ready to serve. Preferably, use the noodles as soon as the pork ragu is cooked so you can just directly sauce them with the ragu.
Storing Leftovers in the Dutch Oven
My instructions for storing anything hot in the Dutch oven are as follows:
- Allow a screaming hot Dutch oven to cool for at least 20 minutes (lid off) before transferring the whole pot into the refrigerator.
- When reheating, remove the portion from the pot and reheat individually. I don’t recommend reheating the Dutch oven and re-refrigerating, so only reheat in the Dutch oven if you plan on finishing everything.
- Ragu will keep very well for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
If you like all my Dutch oven tidbits, then stick around because I have plenty of Dutch oven recipes. You might also like my new cookbook: Easy Dutch Oven Cooking.
More Dutch Oven Recipes
Tomato Braised Pork Ragu with Egg Noodles
- 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder fat trimmed
- Salt for seasoning
- Pepper for seasoning
- ½ medium yellow onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks trimmed and diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons minced sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 16 ounces dry pappardelle egg noodles*
- Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (optional) for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cut the pork shoulder into four equal pieces and season all over with salt and pepper. Use tongs to lower the pork into the hot oil; sear until brown all over, about 3 minutes per side. Remove pork and set aside in a bowl, reserving any juices.
- Add remaining 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté until the onions begin to sweat and become slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Stir together.
- Add herbs and continue to sauté for 1 minute until herby and aromatic.
- Add tomato paste and stir together. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Deglaze with wine, making sure to scrape with a wooden spoon along the bottom to release any browned bits. Simmer until ½ of the wine has evaporated, then add the whole tomatoes, including juices, and stir together.
- Once mixture is simmering again, return the pork and the juices back into the pot and bring to a boil. Cover pot and transfer to the oven to braise until fork tender, about 2 hours.
- Remove pot from the oven and finely shred the pork with two forks. Adjust seasonings if needed. Cover until ready to use.
- Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat to bring to a boil. Season generously with a handful of salt. Add the pasta, stirring occasionally, and cook until al dente. Drain.
- Divide pasta into individual bowls and top with a large ladle of ragu. Top with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano and serve.
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