I have once said that Bon Appetite had lost its appeal to me. I am not sure if it is I who have changed, or if it is BA who have stepped up their game recently, because in the October Issue I found page after page of recipe’s that I wanted to make then and there!
One of my favourite part of the magazine is the Readers’ Favourite Restaurant Recipes – where readers request a recipe from a restaurant that they recently visited and BA gets that recipe and shares it.
One of these such recipes was the Garganelli with Fennel and Pork Shoulder Ragu from a restaurant called Oenotri in Napa. The idea of ragu was exceptionally appealing and the recipe looked pretty straight forward.
However when it came time to make this recipe, I was unable to find fennel in the supermarket or the garganelli (a type of hand shaped egg-based tubular pasta) so I thought I would make my own interpretation of the dish – Rosemary Pork Ragu with fussalini. By just exchanging one or two ingredients you get a completely different dish yet it turned out brilliantly.
Rosemary Pork Ragu with fussalini – serves 4
- 450g of ground pork
- 2 tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- Tbsp olive oil divided
- 2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 350g can diced tomatoes
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Finely grated Parmesan
- Fussalini Pasta
Using your hands, thoroughly mix ground pork with 2 tsp salt in a large bowl until sticky about 3 minutes. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours of overnight (I put mine in the fridge for only 30 mins or so)
Roll pork mixture into 5 – 8 large meat balls. Heat 1 ½ tbsp olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Cook meatballs until all sides are brown – about 8 minutes.
Transfer meatballs to a paper towel-line plate to drain (I found this step a bit unnecessary)
Reduce heat to medium. Return meatballs. Scatter onion and garlic around and cook, stirring occasionally as needed to prevent scorching until vegetables are translucent and juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.
Add wine, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, and bring to a simmer. Cook until wine has reduced by three-quarters, about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups broth, tomatoes and sprigs of Rosemary, return sauce to simmer.
Simmer over medium-low heat covered with lid slightly ajar and stirring occasionally, until meatballs are very tender, about 2 ½ hours. (I simmered it for only about 1 ½ and I have to admit my meatballs were not very tender, they felt quite dry and hard)
Using a potato masher or fork, break meatballs into small pieces (as I mentioned my meatballs were quite dry and I had to really pull them a apart with a fork and spoon – but it did not taste dry). If sauce is too thick, add broth until desire consistency forms.
Take out the rosemary sprigs and season ragu to taste with salt and pepper (as usual I added a bit of sugar to get that rounded flavour)
Serve Ragu with pasta, sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with olive oil
I was really happy with how this turned out, and I can see so many potential variations with this dish, using ground beef or turkey changing the herbs, and what is very convinient is that you can make the ragu up to 3 days ahead. Definitly a winner.