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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Whole Wheat Penne Rigate with Pork Ragu

This is a really simple variation of classic Ragu alla Bolognese. And, of course, by ragu I mean stew (ragout in French) not the tomato sauce by the same name. Pork is the best meat for this dish but it can easily be substituted with beef, chicken, or even lamb. I tossed the sauce with whole wheat penne rigate, but again a multitude of pasta varieties or shapes can be substituted. The process to make the sauce is a simple one and this is how to do it.

Brown the meat in olive oil in a large skillet, then transfer to a sauce pot. In the same pan add minced onions and peppers (and carrots if you like); this makes a sort of Italian sofrito (or French mirepoix). When the vegetables begin to brown add minced garlic and other seasonings (I used fennel seed--goes great with pork--and crushed hot pepper).
De-glaze the pan with red wine and transfer everything to the pot with the browned pork. Add your favorite tomato sauce (even Ragu if you like; I still had a pint of homemade sauce in the freezer). Bring it to a simmer and cook it until the meat is rtender and the sauce is flavorful.
Season the sauce with salt, and just before serving add a good handful of fresh basil (or a couple teaspoons of dried basil). Toss with pasta and cheese.

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