Braised pork ragu, just like mama used to make

penne with braised pork ragu


Sundays were always special at our house.  Growing up, my mom would begin making sauce early in the morning.  I would wake up to the smell of  fried pork and simmering sauce.  There was always something about braised pork ragu made on Sundays, compared to tomato sauces made during the week.  It’s obvious there was more time and care put into preparing the pork ragu.  It was none more obvious then in the taste!

For those unfamiliar with braising, it’s the method of cooking with direct heat and moist heat.  The direct heat comes from the searing of the meat at a high temperature.  The moist heat comes from the seared meat simmering in the liquid (tomato sauce in this case).  Braised pork ragu,  like with any thing else that’s braised, requires the slow simmering in the liquid to break down the fibers of tough cuts of meat.

Here is my version of the Sunday sauce that my mom would make.  My mom would let it simmer for most of the morning, but it doesn’t  have to be left for that long.  Letting it simmer for 15-30 min is sufficient. Although the longer you leave it, the more flavorful it will be.  You can use lamb, veal or beef instead of  pork.

Makes 4-6 servings

Try this recipe and feel free to leave your comments:

Ingredients:

Braised Pork Ragù:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Kg of pork butt pieces(or shoulder) bone in
1 tsp sea salt
1 med onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red wine
750ml Pureed Tomatoes

Penne:

2tbs Sea Salt
450 g Penne
1/4 cup Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano

Preparation:

  • In a large sauce pot, heat extra virgin olive.  Once the oil is heated (about 1-1.5 min) add pieces of pork.  Do not crowd the pot as it will lower the pot temperature and cause the pork to boil.
  • Allow the pork to brown but not fully cook(on both sides), and remove from the pot.
  • Add onions and garlic to the pot and a pinch of salt to season. Add wine and deglaze the pot picking up all the brown bits at the bottom.  Allow the alcohol from the wine to evaporate and the onions to become translucent
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and stir.  Add the cooked pork back to the pot with the sauce and bring to a boil.  Once the sauce comes to boil, reduce to medium heat, add lid and allow to simmer for about 30-45 min stirring frequently
  • After allowing to simmer, lower the heat to low.
  • Put a pot filled with water on high heat and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, add 2 tbsp of salt and add penne.  Cook according to package.  Remove the penne from heat about 2 min before recommended cooking time, strain and reserve some of the penne water.
  • Remove the pieces of pork from the sauce and add penne to the sauce.  Turn the heat to medium and allow penne to cook with the sauce, making the sauce “stick”, around 2-2.5 min.  Just before removing from heat, stir in a 1/4 cup of grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese and serve.

Buon Appetito!

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The Panini Press a kitchen appliance must have

Villaware Uno Pro Panini Press is a favorite tool of italiantestkitchen.com

There are many appliances available to the everyday home chef. Some that are large and cumbersome, some small and portable, others that are used once, and stored away in the cupboard never to resurface for years! The one small kitchen appliance that is a must have in all kitchens, is the Panini Press. This double sided grill is small, powerful and versatile. Does a lot more then just sandwiches. You can cook hamburgers, steaks, chicken, vegetables and more!


If you’ve never had a Panini, which is an Italian sandwich, you have no idea what you’re missing. There’s just something about salty prosciutto, warm stringy provolone cheese, and peppery arugula, nestled between a toasted ciabatta bun, that a regular white bread peanut butter sandwich just can’t beat.

Almost all Panini Presses sold now come with non stick grills, which make for easy pressing, and even easier clean up. In most cases all that is needed is a damp, soapy cloth. They don’t take up much room, and can easily be left on the counter for quick use. The panini press varies in price, from your basic panini press that presses panini, to deluxe panini presses with a large cooking area with temperature controls. Which every one you buy, you can rest assured that you will not impress your friends, with scrumptious paninis, but you will use it a lot more then you did that old blender that’s still sitting in the back of your kitchen cupboard!


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Garlic Bread that’s delicious, and easy

Try this quick and easy garlic bread recipe

When people think of  garlic bread, the first thing that comes to mind is a long baguette with a neon yellow, buttery top with garlic powder and sprinkles of dried parsley flakes, which doesn’t look (or taste)very appealing.  Well, here’s a recipe that will hopefully give you a different view of garlic bread that’s made with……now brace yourself….REAL GARLIC!

Apart from being eaten on its own, this would be a great base for BRUSCHETTA, a PANINI or with some good quality PARMIGIANO REGGIANO.

Try this method of making garlic bread next time, and I’m convinced you wont go back to the buttered up baguettes made with garlic powder and dried parsley flakes.  Leave a comment letting us know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 Loaf of crusty italian bread
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
sea salt
finely chopped fresh parsley  *optional

Preparation:

  • cut the bread into 1″ slices.  Arrange slices on a baking sheet and toast for 5 min in a pre heated oven of 350 degrees.  Turn and allow to toast for another 3 minutes
  • allow to cool slightly (2-3 min)
  • drizzle (or brush) the slices of bread with extra virgin oil.
  • cut the tip of the garlic on a 45 degree angle, and use the same motion as an eraser, and rub the garlic on the bread.  Rub as much or as little according to taste.  Usually a few passes is sufficient
  • finish off with a sprinkle of good quality sea salt and parsley

Buon Appetito!

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