Italian Braised Pork over Polenta (Pork Ragu)

This is the kind of food I grew up on, classic, old school Italian cooking! The best! Slow, braised pork with tomatoes, wine, veggies, chicken stock and herbs, that come together in a beautiful ragu! Serve over creamy polenta and top all with salty Parmesan. Italian comfort!

Serves 2 really hungry people or 4 normal people

• 2 lbs of pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of 3/4 of the fat
• 2 Tbs of olive oil
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 1 stalk of celery, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cup of dry red wine
• 1 Tbs of tomato paste
• 14 oz can of whole tomatoes, drained
• 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp of pepper
• 1/2 tsp of fennel
• 3 thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on before serving

3 cups of water
• 1 tsp of salt
• 1 cup of polenta
• 1 1/2 Tbs of butter
• 1/4 cup of Parmesan


Cut the pork into 2 inch cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, cook the pork on all sides, about 12 -14 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl.Drain off the fat from the dutch oven, add a little more olive oil and saute the carrots, onion and celery for 3 – 4 minutes Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute.Pour in the red wine and deglaze, scraping up the little brown bits. Add the tomato paste and the tomatoes, squishing them with your fingers, then add the chicken broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper, fennel and thyme.Stir well to combine, bring to a boil. Cover, then place in the oven for 1- 1/2 hours or until fork tender, check it after an hour and add more liquid if needed, broth, wine or water. The finished consistency should be like a thick pasta sauce. Remove the bay leaves and the thyme stems.While the pork is cooking, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, turn the heat to low and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan cheese.

To serve, spoon the polenta on a serving plate, then spoon over the pork ragu and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil leaves if desired. Crack open the wine, Buon Appetito!



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