When I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking, I immediately knew I wanted to make it. Just as I was hoping, the sauce is rich, thick, and super flavorful. The pork shoulder is slow cooked until it's super tender, and the Italian sausage adds little bits of spicy meat throughout. The sauce is deeply flavored with red wine and tomatoes. Plus, although this recipe is not quick, it is definitely pretty easy - none of the steps are complicated, and most of the cooking time can be spent away from the stove. If you're cooking for one or two like I often am, this ragu freezes very well - I ate about half of it over the course of a few days, and froze the rest to eat later. I've had some iffy experiences with freezing leftovers, but in this case the defrosted sauce tastes just the same as the original, making it a great dinner option on nights when I'm not in the mood to cook. It's great served over either pasta or soft polenta - either way makes for a hearty, delicious meal that will warm you up on a chilly day.
Sicilian Pork and Sausage Ragu (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Makes lots - I'd say serves around 8 people
2 T canola oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or 2-3/4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onion (from one medium onion)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine
24 ounces strained tomatoes or tomato purée (such as Pomi tomatoes)
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage
1. Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides, and then sear the meat on both sides until browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer pork to a platter.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onion. Cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, and then add the garlic. Cook, continuing to stir frequently, until soft and translucent, 7-8 minutes.
3. Return pork to the pot, raise heat to medium high, and add the wine. Let bubble for a couple of minutes, and then add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
4. Remove the sausage from casings if it is in links, and break the meat apart over the pot, letting it fall into the sauce. Cover and simmer gently, adjusting heat as necessary, for 30 minutes.
5. Uncover and turn the pork over, then recover and continue to simmer for about 1-1/2 hours until very tender, turning the meat once or twice more.
6. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes. Use two forks to shred the meat and then return it to the sauce. Cook over low heat until heated through, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve over pasta or polenta.