Okay, so maybe I went a little bit overboard with the amount of meat in this dish. Pork shoulder? Check. Pork belly? Yes. Italian sausage? Yep. Proscuitto? You betcha!
Don’t judge me, just make this dish! Growing up I would have red beans and rice loaded with sausage, pickled meat, and also a fried pork chop or roasted chicken on the side. Yes, I know..a little bit crazy! But everything in this dish marries together so well. Succulent pork cooked in a tomatoey white wine sauce on low in the oven for 2 hours. Yes, this is going to become your go-to pork ragu recipe!
The Secret Ingredient
I have been wanting to make this dish for a few weeks now and have finally gotten around to it! I was inspired by this sugo sauce I had at a restaurant last year. I loved the earthiness and meat-forward flavor it had. After dissecting and researching, I’ve come to find that the secret is prosciutto ends and Calabrian chile peppers.
I ordered my chile pepper paste from Amazon here. The brand name is Tutto Calabria.
They are spicy and earthy and brought so much flavor to the dish! I highly recommend you getting your hands on this amazing condiment.
The Meat Selection
I chose to use pork shoulder and belly. You can just use the pork shoulder if you like. For the Italian sausage, buy it in bulk from your favorite grocery store. Or if you can’t get it in bulk, get a fresh link and take it out of the casing. I’m big on texture and wanted bits and pieces of succulent pork and then the bite of the ground sausage in this sauce.
Make sure when searing your meat to get some nice browned color going on there. We want to build on the flavors. I cut my meat into cubes and did not worry about shredding it afterward. I enjoyed the size and they were so tender! Usually, a whole pork should is slow cooked in the tomato sauce, removed and shredded, and then placed back into the sauce. You can do this, but I found it was not necessary.
The Simplicity of Ingredients
My goal was to keep everything pretty simple. For my sofrito, I used carrots and red onions that were pulsed in a food processor. After that, the only other ingredients are white wine, tomato paste, chili peppers, can tomatoes, ground fennel seeds, and your meat. That. Is. All.
This goes with everything, from pasta to a topping for homemade pizza, tossed with gnocchi, or even served over rice. It freezes well also!
Pork Ragu Recipe
- 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into cubes
- 1 pound pork belly, cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 oz prosciutto ends, cut into cubes
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1 cup red onions
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons Calabrian crushed chile peppers (can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoon dried red Chile peppers)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Toss cubes of pork shoulder and pork belly with ground fennel. In a pot over medium heat, heat oil and add pork shoulder and belly. Make sure to get a good sear and drain off any liquid that is created (we don’t want to steam the meat, but get some good color).
- Add prosciutto and continue cooking until meat is lightly browned. Remove from pan and leave the fat. Add the ground Italian sausage and cook until done. 5-10 minutes. While meat is cooking, in a food processor, pulse until veggies are finely chopped.
- Remove meat from pot and leave 2 tablespoons of fat. Add carrot-onion mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes. Making sure to use a wooden spoon and scrape up all the good brown bits. Add tomato paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add white wine, canned tomatoes, pork, crushed chiles, and salt. Bring to a simmer and then place in oven for 2 1/2-3 hours until pork is tender and falling apart.
- Serve with some pasta and grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!