Tuesday, February 15, 2011
For several days, all that was heard on the news was that Snowmageddon was coming and that 20+ states were going to get covered in at least a foot of snow. People shopped like they were going to be confined to their house for weeks, schools were cancelled preemptively, and companies sent out newsletters outlining their current policies for weather inclement conditions and working remotely. While the public was buying canned goods, pasta, etc off the shelves of local superstores, I decided that I needed to take my mom out to dinner to a very nice place and that I needed to make some slow food the next day.
After consulting several Italian resources and combining them into one pot - pork sugo was the perfect meal for a cold, snowed-in day. Slow-cooked for hours, tender, falling-apart, light but flavorful sauce that could do justice to home-made potato gnocchi.
3 lbs pork shoulder
4 oz pancetta
2 large onions, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups white wine
salt / pepper / 1 bay leaf / 3 sprigs of thyme / olive oil
1 1/2 large cans (28oz) of whole tomatoes in juice (low or no sodium)
In a large pot saute pancetta over medium low heat. Add onions, bay leaf and saute for about 15 minutes over medium low heat - without adding color to the onions and just letting them sweat. Season with about 1 tsp salt, few turns of fresh ground pepper, and thyme. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic, saute for 15 minutes more without browning. Re-season with about 1 tsp salt more. Add white wine and reduce for about 10 minutes. Add the pork. Saute until lightly browned - about 10 minutes. Reseason the mixture with salt and pepper. Add milk and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add tomatoes, cook for at least 2 hours more over low heat - covered. Stir occasionally. Do not raise the heat higher than medium - the sugo should barely simmer. Press against the pork pieces with a spatula in the pot, they should be falling apart tender.
If not, continue to simmer until they do. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Serve over pasta or toss with home made gnocchi, adding fresh Parmigiano on top.
If you have a favorite gnocchi recipe, feel free to use it here. If you don't try this one by Michael Chiarello, it's one of my favorites. It's easy to follow and quick to make.