Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
Note: This recipe makes enough for 4 pounds of pasta. Let any remaining sauce cool, transfer into a container and freeze for up to 2 months. From Meredith Deeds.
• 2 lb. boneless pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces
• 3/4 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 c. tomato paste
• 3 oz. chopped pancetta
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme
• 1 can (28 oz.) whole San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
• 16 oz. uncooked short pasta (penne, cavatelli, fusilli, etc.)
• Grated Parmesan cheese
• Chopped Italian parsley
Season the pork with the salt and pepper. Place in a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the tomato paste, pancetta, onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Either pulse the tomatoes in a blender (they should still be slightly chunky) or chop them up before adding to the slow cooker with their juice. Stir to combine. Cook for 4 to 5 hours on the high heat setting or 8 to 10 on the low heat setting, until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily.
Discard the herbs and shred the pork in the slow cooker, using 2 forks. (Alternatively, you can remove the pork with a slotted spoon into the bowl of a stand mixer and use the paddle attachment at low speed to shred the pork. Just return shredded pork to the liquid in the slow cooker.)
Cook pasta according to package directions, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid and drain. If the ragu sauce seems too watery, add it to the pot while the pasta is draining and cook for a few minutes until it has reduced to the proper consistency. Otherwise, add pasta back to the pot with 2 cups of the ragu sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. If it is too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta liquid.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 350 Fat 8 g Sodium 380 mg
Carbohydrates 50 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 2 g
Protein 17 g Cholesterol 25 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, ½ carb, 1 medium-fat protein.