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
to 2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (up to 2 1/2 pounds), tied with twine if there are any loose pieces
small onion, chopped
garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
small pat butter
28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
sprigs fresh thyme
sprigs fresh oregano
Small handful of fennel seeds
hot sauce, for smokiness (Andy used Trader Joe's Hot Chili Sauce, but Sriracha and Tabasco both work great, too)
Freshly grated Parmesan
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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