This is my absolute favourite kind of ragu. Pork shoulder is braised in white wine and milk rather than the usual red wine and tomatoes. It creates the most tender, flavoursome and just outrageously delicious ragu ever!
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg boned pork shoulder, cut into chunks
- 250g pancetta, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 small carrots, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Pasta of your choice
- 1/4 cup cream (optional)
- Lemon zest and parmesan to serve
- Preheat your oven to 160 fan (320 fahrenheit)
- Season the pork with salt and pepper and heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium - high heat (or I do it in two pans at once to save time). Brown the chunks on all sides and set aside. Keep any fat that has rendered to pour into the onion mixture.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed oven proof saucepan and fry the pancetta for 10 mins until browned, lift out onto a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery, fennel seeds and a good pinch of salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until soft, around 10 minutes. Lower heat if it starts to brown and add more oil if it dries out. After 5 minutes add the garlic and herbs and continue cooking.
- Add the pork and pancetta to the pan and mix.
- Add the wine and simmer to reduce the wine by at least half - 5 - 7 mins.
- Add the stock, milk, bay leaves, another good pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. (I think this ragu suits being on the salty side but do whatever feels right to you!)
- Cover and cook in the oven for two hours. The pork should fall apart, if not then cook for another 30 mins and check again.
- A big note here is that the sauce may look broken and split, this is just the nature of this kind of ragu! I promise once you pull the meat apart and mix it all together it will be fine.
- Remove the pork and shred pieces with two forks and then return to pan and give it a good mix. If there are some large pieces of fat that haven't rendered feel free to discard some of them.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a big squeeze of lemon juice.
- I like to let it cool down then place in the fridge as I prefer to make it a day or two before eating.
- If eating straight away, cook your pasta in a pot of boiling salted water then mix with the ragu.
- Add 1/4 cup of cream as an option as a finishing touch, this is particularly helpful if you are reheating from the fridge as it helps bring it all together.
- Serve between heated plates or bowls and top with lemon zest and parmesan. ENJOY!
- As I state in the recipe, I always like to make a ragu the day before. The flavour improves over time so even two days before is great! Any left over ragu can be portioned and frozen.
- I like to season along the way rather than just once at the end so taste as you go!
- Serving lemon zest on any ragu adds a much needed burst of freshness, don't skip!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 3 hours