Slow Roasted Pork Ragu & Homemade Fettuccine
The holidays are so foggy. We often forget what day it is, if it's too early to be shot gunning pigs in a blanket, when the last time we showered was, how many episodes of Black Mirror we watched, the list goes on..
When we were little, our Christmas dinner consisted of a feast that was appropriate for the entire neighborhood, which we would proceed to eat for the next 8 days. Regardless of whether we actually wanted 13 pieces of cocktail shrimp at 11 AM, we kept going back for the sake of the holiday binge. Countless sides, an overabundance of appetizers, meats we never really cared about (does anyone honestly love ham??) This year, in an effort to make food we truly enjoy, and avoid having mashed potatoes occupying fridge space until we begrudgingly tossed them with the tree, we decided to try a concise menu. Just soup, salad, and our main course. Cue a lot of head scratching.
Target was having a great sale on KitchenAid attachments, so I decided to purchase the pasta set (Merry Christmas to me), and knew our grandma would love to be able to show me how to use it (I use the term "show" lovingly, but it's more like your 11th grade chemistry lab, and the teacher is just shaking her head at whatever combination of liquids you're working on that's going to make the room blow up... see also). Even though she would never admit that she mostly hated this pork, after 25+ years, we know when she thinks something should've been done a different way, e.g. "this is good... I like a more saucy pasta, but etttss ooook".
We paired it with a pureed white bean soup and simple beet salad, and this dish was the perfect mix of warmth and heartiness to be the main show on Christmas day. The best thing about the pork was that it provided us with leftovers that we would never resent when we opened the fridge on December 28th, and could be re-purposed with some crusty bread, greens and provolone, or on top of cheesy polenta.
The highlight of the meal for me personally was her help, and her admission that I (finally) knew how to cook. But grandma we promise, next year, a more saucy pasta.
Yield - Serves 8
3 pounds skinless, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup full-bodied red wine
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Cook pork, turning often, until evenly browned, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour off pan drippings.
Add onion and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to brown and caramelize, 12–15 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly darkened in color, 5–8 minutes.
Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half, 5–8 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands, then add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves; stir in 2 cups water. Add pork with any juices accumulated on the platter; season with salt and pepper.
Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until pork is falling-apart tender, sauce is thickened (it will be thicker than a typical pasta sauce), and flavors have melded, 2½–3 hours.
Using 2 forks, shred pork. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Michael White's Basic Pasta Dough
Adapted via Bon Appetit
Yield - Makes 1 lb. pasta, serves 4
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
2 cups 00 flour, plus more for surface
Whisk eggs and oil in a medium bowl. Whisk salt and 2 cups flour in a large bowl, make a well in the center, and pour egg mixture into well. Gradually incorporate flour mixture into egg mixture with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with more flour if sticky, until dough is smooth and fairly stiff, about 7 minutes. Wrap in plastic; let sit until dough holds an indentation when pressed with your finger, 1–2 hours.
Set a pasta maker to thickest setting. Dust dough lightly with flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping remaining dough wrapped in plastic, flatten dough into a narrow rectangle (no wider than mouth of machine); pass through rollers. You can also do this with a rolling pin, if you're ambitious!
Fold dough as needed to fit and run through again. Repeat without folding, adjusting machine to a thinner setting after each pass and dusting dough with flour if sticky, until pasta sheet is 1/16" thick, setting 8 on most machines.
Place pasta sheets on a lightly floured surface.