This is a great meal. Not something you throw together in the crock pot on your way out the front door in the morning, it does need a little prep work and some tending toward the end, but still you’ll have plenty of free down time. I love down time – it let’s me clean the kitchen and set the table and do all sorts of domestic things before supper time including selecting a nice bottle of wine.
I know I’ve mentioned having wine or a cocktail with dinner, and sometimes I worry that I sound like someone who drinks with every meal. The truth is, we might have a margarita with dinner if we’re eating out, or serve a pitcher at a Cinco de Mayo party. Sometimes when dining in a “fancy” Italian joint, we might order a bottle of wine. But at home, it’s rare. Every now and again a meal whispers “linger a while and sip some wine”. As I was putting the final touches on our evening’s salad, the Pork Ragù whispered it was time to linger a while. My guys had been having a tough week at work and so a little “vacation” in the middle of the work week seemed appropriate. They deserved it.
Since it is Tuscan Thursday, I set the table with my city-scape salad plates to help establish the mood. I love these salad plates. I have Venice, Paris, London and New York. They are the perfect size for a nice serving of salad.
This pasta dish is great with some warm bread and a simple salad. While the meal is simple, it’s perfect for relaxing with friends. Hope you enjoy!
Slow-Cooker Pork Ragù
1 Yellow Onion
1/2 lb Baby Carrots
6 Garlic Cloves
8 Bacon Slices
1 1/2 lb Pork Shoulder Roast
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 tablespoon Tuscan Style Italian Seasoning Blend
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
16 oz Italian Chopped Tomatoes with Basil
1/4 cup Red Wine
16 oz dried Casarecce Pasta
Fresh Basil, for garnish
Shaved Parmesan Cheese, for serving
Peel onion, finely mince and set aside. Peel garlic, finely mince and set aside. Chop carrots into small pieces and set aside.
Stack bacon slices together, then chop into chunks. Set aside.
Trim pork roast, then cut into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.
Spray 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Set to low and let bowl warm.
In 5-quart Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. With slotted spoon, remove bacon to small plate or bowl. Leave as much bacon drippings as possible in the pot.
Season pork with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add half of the pork to bacon drippings in Dutch oven, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned. With slotted spoon, remove pork from Dutch oven to slow cooker. Repeat with remaining pork.
Add onions, carrots, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to Dutch oven; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Stir in garlic, dried oregano and Tuscan Seasoning; cook 30 seconds. Add broth; heat to simmering, stirring to remove brown bits on bottom. Transfer mixture to slow cooker with pork. Stir in tomatoes and bacon.
Cover; cook on LOW heat until the meat has completely fallen apart, about 8 hours total.
After about 6 hours of cooking, begin to break the chunks of pork apart with a wooden spoon. Continue to break apart every 30 minutes or so, until all the meat is shredded and soaking in the sauce.
After about 7 hours, add wine. Place lid at an angle to let some of the steam and condensation evaporate and the sauce to thicken. The Pork Ragù should be ready to serve after about 8 hours of slow cooking. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
When ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.
Spread pasta out on an oval serving platter. Ladle Pork Ragù and all its pot juices over the pasta.
Stack about 4 or 5 Basil leaves together. Roll like a cigar, then cut into ribbons. Garnish Pork Ragù with the fresh basil. Pass shaved Parmesan Cheese around the table to fishing off dish as desired.