This is a lighter sauce than when you make a beef ragu, but still worth making. The pork shoulder gets soft and tender and falls apart with little resistance.
If you are looking to try something new, something light, give this sauce a go.
1.5kg pork shoulder roast, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium Spanish onions, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
8 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
1/2 cup chicken stock
800g tin crushed tomatoes
7cm piece Parmesan rind
Pinch red chilli flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
450g penne pasta
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more as desired
Dry the pork well and sprinkle it on all sides with 1 tablespoon of the salt and the pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, brown the pork on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork to a plate and set aside.
Once all of the pork has been browned, reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the pot. Add the onions and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon salt. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Deglaze with the white wine and cook until reduced to nearly dry, 6 to 10 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, Parmesan rind, chilli flakes, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Return the pork to the pot, tucking it in under the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the pork is fork tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.
Remove the pork and shred into bite-size pieces using two forks. Remove the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and cheese rind from the sauce and add the pork back to the pot. Stir in the extra virgin olive oil and half of the grated Parmesan. Keep warm over low heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne for about 1 or 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain, reseving one cup of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, about 2 minutes, adding a ladle of pasta water, as needed.
Serve topped with the remaining grated Parmesan, or more as desired, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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