One-Pot Wonders

Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach's Pork Shoulder Ragu

May  9, 2021
4.3 Stars
Photo by Linda Xiao
Author Notes

On their blog Dinner: A Love Story, Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach call this "Instant Dinner Party," because you can make the ragu completely ahead, even a day or two before. Whether you serve it that day or reheat it for a party tomorrow, "It will make the house smell amazing," Jenny told me, "Which, in my opinion, counts for more than flower arrangements when having dinner guests. Best of all, if there are kids coming over, and they don't like the ragu, we can usually count on them liking the pasta with a little Parm—so it minimizes drama on that end, too." Whatever ragu is left is a boon: over polenta, in tacos, on sandwiches, or frozen and awaiting more dinners. Recipe adapted slightly from Dinner: A Love Story (Ecco, 2012). —Genius Recipes

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is featured in the story, 14 Cozy, Tomatoey Braises to Warm Your Stove Now Through March, sponsored by Muir Glen. —The Editors

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours 19 minutes
  • Serves 6
  • 2 pounds to 2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (up to 2 1/2 pounds), tied with twine if there are any loose pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small pat butter
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 Small handful of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, for smokiness (Andy used Trader Joe's Hot Chili Sauce, but Sriracha and Tabasco both work great, too)
  • 1 pound Pappardelle
  • 1 handful Freshly grated Parmesan
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Liberally salt and pepper the pork roast. Add olive oil and butter to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high until butter melts, but does not burn. Add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes in all.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Cover, and put in oven.
  3. Braise for 3 to 4 hours, turning every hour or so. Add more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) if needed. (The liquid should come to about 1/3 of the way up the pork.) Meat is done when it’s practically falling apart. Put on a cutting board (remove the sprigs of herbs at the same time) and pull it apart with two forks, then add back to pot and stir.
  4. Cook 1 to 2 pounds pasta according to package directions. When it’s is ready, put into individual bowls and top with ragu and lots of Parm. Alternately, toss the pasta with the ragu and a bit of pasta cooking water, as needed, and top with Parm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anusha Rutnam
    Anusha Rutnam
  • Jim
  • Rick Bradley
    Rick Bradley
  • Marissa Seto
    Marissa Seto
  • Änneken
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

134 Reviews

Anusha R. October 1, 2021
This is a pretty niche suggestion, but for the Australians on here, subbing 600g of Kangaroo rump for the pork shoulder is great - only nice roo I've ever made.

I should note that the original recipe is of course, perfect.
JDestefano September 26, 2021
This is really good, and so easy. Made as written except used red pepper flakes instead of hot sauce. There was a lot of fat pooling on the sauce at the end of the cooking time. Next time, I would make a day in advance to facilitate removal of fat. I scooped some of the fat out with a spoon and it was fine. The sauce needed salting, plus I added a splash of colatura for depth and a splash of red wine for verve. Served with dollops of herbed ricotta on top, in addition to grated romano cheese. To stretch the sauce a little further, I might add an additional 14.5 oz can of tomatoes. Divine!
Grace January 12, 2021
Question: Is it too spicy for kids with the hot sauce or more just smoky?
Joe January 12, 2021
No, not at all !
[email protected] December 13, 2020
I do the braise in a pressure cooker—one hour, natural release—and it comes out great. Excellent recipe. Only addition: A squirt of anchovy paste from a tube, when the wine goes in to deglaze after the onions and garlic have sauteed.
ann H. June 11, 2020
This is very good and will be on rotation in our house.
I followed the recipe exactly, and next time will incorporate the recommendations that Marissa S. has listed in the comment section.
My husband (Italian) said that the pork was very tender and the sauce was perfectly proportioned with the pasta.
Highly recommended.
Jim March 27, 2020
We've made this recipe at least monthly for 3+ years now. It's our go to favorite recipe (from Food52!). Instead of only Fennel Seeds, we use half Fenugreek Seeds and half Fennel Seeds, as well as double the amount called for of Hot Oil from our local Chinese restaurant. Nothing will make your home smell more welcoming and the meal more mouth watering!
Juniper February 13, 2020
This recipe is my "go-to" for dinner parties! I've made it at least six or seven times and no one has ever been sad after eating this deliciousness.
Anusha R. October 18, 2019
How much is "a small pat" of butter in... literally any other form of measurement?
Ernie’s M. February 14, 2020
I usually have the rule of thumb that a pat of butter is about the size of the little single serve butter at restaurants. I love 💕 cooking with butter, so after I have made a recipe a couple time, I usually experiment with larger amounts of butter. On a personal note, I usually make a pat of butter “generously sized”. 🤫😉
Anusha R. February 14, 2020
Thank you, I appreciate your advice - and love of butter!
Iamfullyb February 17, 2020
I mean extra butter isn’t going to ruin the dish.
Rick B. September 18, 2019
Good recipe. I had shoulder steaks so I just browned them individually and stacked them up. Used fennel (about the same amount as onion) instead of seeds. When I pulled the meat I spooned off some fat then used a light dusting of blending flour.
Marissa S. January 20, 2019
What a great recipe for dinner parties! Will be throwing this into the rotation since it's such a breeze to prep for large groups. I did double the recipe and it worked out well (party of 12 with plenty for everyone) with plenty of sauce using the amount of tomatoes prescribed in the recipe. I tweaked the cooking instructions a bit so here are my notes:

- Put the fennel seeds in an herb bag so that they don't get stuck in people's teeth when they eat the pasta.

- Separate the juice from the tomatoes and squeeze the juice from the whole tomatoes to remove as much of the water as possible (reserve the juice in one bowl and put the squeezed tomato chunks in a separate bowl). After browning the pork shoulder on all 6 sides, remove the shoulder from the pan and spoon out the fat into a bowl leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (reserve the fat for later use). Stir in the garlic for about a minute just to get the oil fragrant, but do not let the garlic get brown. Then, add the squeezed tomato chunks and turn the heat up to medium high to caramelize the tomato pieces, stirring every minute of so. This should take ~5-10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are nicely broken down, add the onion and stir every minute or so until the onions are translucent and soft. Finally, add the liquids (tomato juice, wine, hot sauce (I used tobasco and it was perfectly spicy for me)) and herbs.

- REFRIGERATE the ragu overnight or until the fat solidifies, remove as much fat from the ragu as possible.

-REHEAT: take the pork out of the sauce before reheating for service. Shred the pork with two forks and reserve on the side. BLEND the sauce slightly so that its almost uniform but still slightly chunky. Reheat the sauce over medium low heat. Combine the pork and sauce heat for 1 more minute. Only add the pork when you're about to serve that the pork doesn't get dry. Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve immediately.
Lisa December 17, 2018
Wow, as delicious as it looks! We followed the advice of a few others and added a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes (didn’t have whole tomatoes on hand), and added almost an another cup of wine. We had plenty of sauce to our taste :)
PanTostado December 15, 2018
Soooooo good! We make this all the time. Just for us and for company as well.
Lizzie L. December 15, 2018
I am making this tomorrow and wondered if anyone has tried using fresh fennel in place of the seeds. Thanks!
JP December 15, 2018
The addition of a fennel bulb should be delicious, but very subtle. The seeds will impart a much more aromatic flavor which I think is an integral component of this very delicious ragu, and not overpowering at all.
Joe December 15, 2018
It’s perfect as written.
Marti December 15, 2018
I've made this several times and it is perfect with the fennel seeds. A fennel bulb would not be the same depth of flavor. I make this during the holidays and my family loves it. The house smells amazing while it is cooking and it can easily be made the day ahead, then reheated. You are in for a treat!
Yvette August 6, 2018
I first came across this recipe via Dinner A Love Story - where Jenny Rosenstrach also shares a recipe where you tuck the left over pork ragu into puff pastry to make delicious pork ragu pies. A gem of a recipe.
Kate H. April 15, 2018
When I first made this, the store didn’t have pork shoulder so I used boneless ribs. It turned out fantastic, so when I made it again, I was disappointed with how much excess fat there was in the pot. It was so much I couldn’t eat it as it was. I went back to using boneless pork ribs and will continue to do so—I much prefer how this cut of meat turns out.
FrugalCat September 18, 2018
I buy those boneless ribs all the time- they are cheap, easy to handle and good for small recipes. I have looked at that ragu recipe for YEARS but never made it as I was intimidated by a huge pork shoulder. Now I will try it with the ribs!
Änneken April 1, 2018
The flavor was great but I agree with previous was a bit watery and there was virtually no sauce. I'd make it again but increase the quantity of tomatoes.
jacci F. January 7, 2018
Just made this tonight -followed the instructions exactly, had 2.5# pork shoulder roast and cooked in my Le Cruset dutch oven with the lid on the entire time, used San Marzano tomatoes. I found that, while the flavor was excellent - there was not much "sauce", more like shredded pork on pappardelle. I think next time I will at least do 2x the sauce. With just two of us, there will be at least 1/3 frozen so the extra sauce is a necessity.
tosacem January 2, 2018
Turned out delish! Wasn't watery, I did put the cover slightly off pot in last hour. The only thing I would change would be to put fennel in cheese cloth as I didn't like chewing on the fennel seeds and I have some friends that can't eat seeds. I used the country style ribs and I don't think any difference than a roast.
njsusan January 1, 2018
Outrageously good!! Sauce was not one bit watery. Tomatoes melted ... it was divine. Didn't have fennel, tossed in a couple bay leaves, otherwise made to a T and wouldn't change a thing!
tosacem January 1, 2018
Found a can of fire roasted tomatoes in the bowls of the cabinet! Will be using those and add crushed if need more liquid. Also the butcher did not have a small pork shoulder so I purchased country style ribs (which are cut from the shoulder) tied them together and it is in the oven now. I will report back. Thanks Kathy H