Garganelli with Pork Ragu
If possible, make the ragu a day or two ahead -- the flavor improves with time. Wait until the day you serve it to cook and add the pasta. Mortadella is available at Italian markets.
- 1 pound pork butt, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh sweet Italian pork sausages (casings removed), crumbled
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 slices mortadella ,finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf (preferably fresh)
- 1 small dried red chile, crumbled
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
- 1 pound garganelli or penne
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Season pork butt with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown pork, turning pieces occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. Add sausage to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pork.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pot, and heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrot and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add tomato paste; cook, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes. Stir in mortadella, herbs, chile, pork, sausage, and any juices from bowl. Stir in milk, and let mixture come to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until milk has been absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes. Gradually stir in wine and stock. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
Cover pot; transfer to oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, and meat is very tender, about 3 hours. If liquid is absorbed before meat is tender, add water (about 1 cup at a time), and continue cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta to pork ragu; toss well, adding up to 1/2 cup pasta water if pasta seems dry. Serve with Parmesan.