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
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.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.