A Really Good Ragu to Rally You Through the Week

March 14, 2016

I’m going to cut to the chase here: Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach's pork shoulder ragu is really, really good.

Pork shoulder gets browned with just a simple salt-and-pepper treatment, then takes a hot bath in tomatoes, wine, and herbs for a fragrant, smoky braise that leaves meat so tender it falls apart if you so much as look at it.

The dish is hearty and saucy and robust without being too much. And while it's great over pasta, as the recipe suggests, it is also magical all on its own—making it prime for all sorts of applications well after the pasta is gone.

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The pork will only hold for so long in your fridge (I'd give it four days at the most)—but don't let that stop you from flexing this recipe as much as possible to make a series of great dishes that'll help you through the first half of your week.

That is your gateway to good meals right there. Photo by Linda Xiao

Here's how:

  • Block out three to four hours on Sunday to make the ragu and pack your leftovers safely away in the fridge. The recipe serves six, so use the number of mouths (and size of appetites) you plan on feeding to dictate whether you want to double your amounts. If you're feeling really ambitious, go ahead and make extra anyway and freeze the excess ragu for later use!
  • Make a pot of black beans and a batch of pizza dough while your ragu is simmering away.

Then make sure you have some of these things handy:

  • Flour, milk, butter, and eggs
  • No-boil lasagna sheets
  • Assorted cheeses
  • Sour cream and/or Greek yogurt
  • Red or green bell peppers and avocado
  • Kaiser rolls or hearty bread
  • Red cabbage and fennel
  • Arugula and lemon
  • Potatoes and onions
  • Assorted condiments such as hot sauce, chutney, mustard, and vinegar

Now make more great meals:

  • Pork ragu = step one in the lasagna of your dreams. Layer lasagna noodles in a baking dish with ragu and cheese (alternatively, use a bechamel). Bake in a 350° F oven and throw your arms up in celebration.
  • Blend flour, milk, eggs, and melted butter to make a basic crêpe batter. Cook up a batch and fill with ragu for a serious savory crepe situation. Top with caramelized onions, Greek yogurt, and a sweet chutney, as desired.
  • Have a build-your-own-baked-potato bar! Bake potatoes until the skin is somewhat crisp and they are soft to the touch. Then slice them down the middle and dollop on toppings like minced onion, chopped peppers, and sour cream.
  • Make a pork chili by sautéing onions and peppers to combine with your beans and ragu. Top this with avocado, cheese, and hot sauce.
  • Top pizza dough with ragu and dollop with ricotta or sprinkle with Parmesan and red pepper flakes. Bake, and serve alongside an assertive arugula salad that's been dressed simply with olive oil and lemon.
  • Eat your ragu as a pulled pork sandwich on lightly toasted kaiser rolls or thick slices of bread. This would be especially good if you top it with a cabbage and fennel coleslaw (though also good all on its own).

It takes a few hours to braise the pork for this ragu—what would you do with that chunk of time? Share your ideas in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Sarah E Daniels

Written by: Sarah E Daniels

It's mostly a matter of yeast.

1 Comment

Samantha W. March 14, 2016
I've used pork ragu dregs to make stir-fried rice, as well!