Braised Pork Butt Ragu with Pasta

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Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 12:00 pm

A low, steady simmer is the key to this braise, so keep an eye on the pot.

A great trip to The Butcher’s Block on 17th Street inspired me to make a dish reminiscent of my visits to Florence Italy. Nice idea to make ahead and just cook the pasta before service.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1 1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound cavatelli or other small shell pasta
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, torn into 2" pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more

Preparation

Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook meat, turning occasionally, until browned, 10–15 minutes; transfer to a large plate.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Tie rosemary, oregano, and bay leaf into a bundle with kitchen twine; add to pot along with pork, tomatoes, wine, peppercorns, nutmeg, and cloves. Add water just to cover meat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, adding more water as needed, until meat is very tender, 1–1 1/2 hours.

Discard herb bundle. Using 2 forks, shred meat in pot; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until sauce is thickened, 8–10 minutes.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Add kale to ragù; cook until kale is soft, about 4 minutes. Add pasta; cook, adding

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