I was in the market for a good, cook all day, warm you up, Sunday type dinner when I came across this recipe, which more than got the job done. This is a nice combo of simple ingredients and simple flavours that beautifully compliment each other, and because of that, you want to make sure you are using good quality ingredients; make sure you are using a cut of pork that will break down with slow cooking, butt or shoulder cuts are ideal; use good parmigiano reggiano and slice it off with a vegetable peeler to get long, thin curls that you really taste on top of the pasta, instead of grating it; use a red wine that you really like (you get to drink the rest of the bottle while you are eating this, after all), not something that’s just cheap; fresh thyme, not dried if you can swing it. Oh, and this really does need to be salted to bring out the flavours, so don’t be afraid to add that in here. Should serve 4-6 adults depending on how hungry everyone is.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb pork butt or shoulder roast
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2/3 cup dry red wine (think big and bold)
3 cups of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (good quality canned tomatoes would probably work here, but I used frozen ones from my garden)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb cavatappi or other short, thick pasta (fresh if you can get it)
parmigiano reggiano for serving
1. Generously salt and pepper the pork. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot just big enough to hold the roast (I used my 2L enameled cast iron casserole). Add pork and cook until golden brown on all sides.
2. Remove pork to a plate and drain off all but 1 Tbsp of oil. Add garlic, onions, and carrots (I chopped all of mine in the food processor) and cook, stirring, until they have started to brown; this will bring out the sweetness of them, and add to the flavour.
3. Add the red wine and deglaze the pot. Bring to a boil to burn off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme, along with the pork.
4. Make sure the pork is as submerged as possible, then cover with a lid slightly ajar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer for 3 hours, turning pork every 45 minutes if it’s not completely submerged.
5. Remove pork from pot and use two forks to shred the meat; it should come apart fairly easily at this point. Use a spoon to take any excess fat off the top of the sauce (I removed a couple of tablespoons, but my meat wasn’t overly fatty, some cuts might require more), leaving a little behind for flavour. Add the pork back to the sauce and, if necessary, reduce to desired thickness, adding salt and pepper to taste at this point.
6. Meanwhile, cook your pasta accordingly to just shy of al dente. Drain and add to sauce (in my case I added the sauce to the pasta pot) and heat through, allowing the pasta to cook the rest of the way in the sauce.
7. Serve with big curls of parmesan and that lovely red wine you bought for yourself!