Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inspired by Jersey, Created By San Fran: Pork Sugo

A few weeks ago, one of the very lovely ladies that I work with told me about this dish that her boyfriend was working on. And by working on, she meant that he had started the dish one morning and it wouldn't be complete and ready for them to eat until the following night. I have to say, this really sparked my interest. I'd never heard of pork sugo before but clearly, I love pork and I really love a dish that slow cooks for a long time and takes lots of love and heart to prepare. I know it's totally cheesy, but I have to agree when chefs, and eaters, talk about how much better food tastes when it's made with love. Luckily enough, a few days later this recipe arrived in my inbox from my co-worker's very sweet boyfriend. I decided to try out the recipe this past weekend.

He suggested that I serve the pork sugo over polenta or grits. To be honest, I'm not very familiar with making either so I did a little googling to find other suggestions and I stumbled upon something even more amazing than I'd already thought I'd found. One of the most fabulous restaurants in San Fran, Delfina, where I spent a few lovely, much too short lunches with 2 of my SF bff's serves this dish and actually let San Francisco's 7x7 Magazine publish the recipe. I thought I'd died and went to recipe heaven! I mean... pork, San Francisco's Delfina, I learned of it in Jersey! How much more perfect could it be!! This recipe was a huge treat for me to find, to cook, and to enjoy. It was one of those dishes where I felt so good making it and my love and excitement for the dish shined through in every bite.

It took me two days to complete the dish but it was well worth it. This is actually something that would be really great to start on a Sunday evening, before your work week starts, as most of the work is done on Sunday. Then on Monday after a long day at work, you just have a few quick and easy steps left and dinner is ready. It makes for great leftovers too!

Pork Sugo

1lb pork butt
1/2 rack pork spareribs
salt & pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
1/2 cup carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup celery, sliced on the diagonal
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary
3 sage leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
pinch chili flakes, optional
grated parmesan, to taste
1lb pappardelle or other fresh pasta

Cut the pork butt into 2 large pieces. Season the pork butt and the spareribs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot. Brown pork on all sides. Remove and set aside.

To the pot add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs and saute for a couple minutes until the vegetables start to get tender, stirring occasionally to scrape up brown pork bits from bottom of pan. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pot and cook until reduced by half, about 5-6 minutes.

Return pork to the pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to 325 degree preheated oven. Braise in oven until pork is tender and falling off the bone, about 2 hours. Remove from oven, let cool, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day scrape any congealed fat from the top and discard. Over low heat, warm sugo through. Remove pork and ribs from pot. Pull meat from bones and shred the rib meat and the pork butt (the pork should shred rather easily using 2 forks).

Pour veggies and liquid from the pot into a food processor and puree until smooth. Return to pot and reduce sauce over medium heat until it thickens. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add meat to pot, bring to a boil and turn off heat.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. To serve, warm some pork sugo in a pan with butter, parsley, and chili flakes. Serve over pasta and top with grated parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Delfina as featured in SF's 7x7 Magazine

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