This is one of those recipes that is worth keeping up your sleeve when you are all out of ideas and need to get ridiculously tasty food on the table for your hungry family. Pork ragù is like a Bolognese sauce but made with pork instead of beef and is on the table within 30 minutes.
The pork makes this ragù much lighter as it naturally contains less fat than beef. Plus pork is cheaper so it’s worth trading up to free range or organic (it really does taste better) as it’s almost the same price as non organic beef.
Don’t be tempted to leave out the red wine. The alcohol evaporates during cooking, so this dish is perfect for your little ones. The wine adds acidity which works brilliantly with the pork.
The best way to eat this pasta dish is with lots of salad; peeled and sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and raw fennel all dressed with extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt.
Pork ragù with spaghetti
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Fennel seeds, finely crushed in a pestle & mortar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g minced pork (organic or free range)
100ml Red wine (½ a glass)
400g can of plum tomatoes (it's important to use a really good quality brand as it will have more flavour and naturally thicker tomato juice than some of the cheaper, watery and more acidic brands - I use Waitrose organic canned whole plum tomatoes)
A handful of fresh Basil leaves, finely chopped
350g spaghetti (Giuseppe Cocco is very good)
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Put a medium size frying pan on a low heat to warm up as you get the ingredients ready. Add all the extra virgin olive oil, the chopped onions and fry for 5 minutes. Add the crushed fennel seeds, the garlic and fry for another minute.
Add the minced pork to the pan, stir and fry for about 5 minutes until the meat has started to turn brown. Pour the wine into the frying pan and cook until it has evaporated. Add the can of plum tomatoes and crush the tomatoes with your spatula to break them up. You might have to add a bit of water at this point so the pan is not too dry. Cook the tomatoes until they have broken down to create a sauce, approx. 10 minutes. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the chopped basil leaves.
Place a large pan that can hold 3 litres of water onto a high heat. When the water starts to boil add a teaspoon of salt. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
When the spaghetti is cooked al dente (soft on the outside but slightly hard in the middle), lift it out of its water with a pasta spoon and put it directly into the pan with the pork ragù. Add a 3-4 tablespoons of pasta water to help create a sauce (the starch in the pasta water thickens the sauce).
Serve with lots of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Preparation time 5 minutes, cooking 25 minutes, 2 adult portions, 2 child portions