Thursday, October 14, 2010

"For what it's worth...

...I never stole from anybody who would go hungry."
Sometimes I suspect there are maybe a dozen truly original dishes out there, and the rest are all just clever knockoffs by talented copycats. That's where this recipe dwells, except the author has the decency to admit to his thievery. I admire that.
Pork Ragù al Maialino - lifted from NY Times' Sam Sifton
  • 4 lbs pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 18 oz dry lasagna, broken into 3" shards
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ lb fresh baby arugula
Using a sharp knife, remove the thick skin from the pork, leaving a sheen of fat on top of the meat. Season aggressively with salt and place in the refrigerator until ready to use, as long as overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and fennel until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Rinse pork to remove excess salt, dry with a paper towel and add to seasoned broth. Cover and place in the oven for 90 minutes or more, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.
Allow both meat and broth to cool on the stove top for 30 minutes, or until you can touch the meat with your hands. Remove the pork and gently pull the meat from the bone, then tear the chunks into bite-size shreds. Place these in a large bowl.
Strain the liquid into a separate bowl and then pour enough of it over the meat to barely cover. (Use the rest for soup.) Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Put a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
Place a large pan over medium-high heat and add the pork and braising liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter and stir to emulsify.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package, 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't have exactly 18oz of dried lasagna, substitute any other large pasta such as penne to make up the difference!  When it is finished, drain and add to the meat and sauce along with a splash of pasta water. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the lemon juice, half of the cheese, a tablespoon of olive oil and the parsley. Stir to incorporate.
Serve immediately, topped with arugula and the remaining cheese.
Hello butter! Talk about rich and full-flavored. Yet the lemon juice and peppery arugula really lightened things up in a delightful way. And like so many things, leftovers were even better. I had to add a little reserved broth, as the pasta sucked up sauce and flavor like a sponge over night. Give this one a try, it'll be in heavy rotation for some time to come.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

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