Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese Style Pork Ragu

My one and only new years resolution is to try to cook more meat this year. I find cooking meat terrifying. I think I’m going to food poison myself, and I don’t understand how to trim the fat or slice the meat or what the hell to do with bones. And the feeling of raw meat in your hands …  it’s taking some getting used to. But I’m determined. Sausage and ground meats are a good way to start, to build up my confidence. And what a great way to start, delish; thanks Bon Appetit!


  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound mezzi rigatoni or penne rigate (I used fusilli)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano plus more

*I cut the meat content in half, only using ½ lb hot sausage and ½ lb pork, because 2 lbs of meat just sounded like too much for me. I kept all the vegetables the same measurements, and I found it still came out great. But if you like a meatier sauce, you go on! 

  1. Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water (I didn’t add as much water, I found the juices from the tomato to be enough. Later I added maybe a ½ cup or less). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. If you want to do 4 hours, rock on. But I cooked mine for about 1 ½ hrs and thought it was fine that way. Season with salt. **DO AHEAD: Ragù can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.
  6. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
  7. Add pasta and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce; stir to coat. Stir in ¼ cup Parmesan and remaining ¼ cup parsley. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. (Once again, I didn’t find I needed to add any water. This may be because I had less meat, but you can just do it based on preference.) Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan.

To give you a proportional sense, four friends and I had plenty to eat on this. 



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