Whenever I go to a fancy Italian restaurant, I look for a cavatelli pasta dish with a nice, meaty ragù.  It’s one of my favourite dishes that I would never make at home.  After speaking to many chefs about it, I decided to attempt it on my own.  My fear was that I wouldn’t achieve a ragù that was as tasty and it’s a bit of a time investment I wasn’t confident to take just yet.  After trying this recipe, I was blown away at how easy it actually is!  I’ve developed a really simple recipe that home cooks at all skill levels can try and I’ve done it with both Lamb and Pork.
IMG_7283

 

herb bundle

Herb Bundle


This rich and meaty sauce is a perfect meal during the cold winter months.  I love to cook it low and slow — it’s the best way!  I have tested and tasted the lamb ragù after 2 hours of cooking but the meat didn’t pull apart easily at this point and I found that the flavours haven’t penetrated the meat yet.  Three hours is the ideal cooking time.
IMG_7356
If you’re short for time, the pork variation is a great option!  This variation takes just under 2 hours instead of 3 and is really delicious!  I used LiberTerre pork for this recipe because their pork has generous marbling (fat to meat ratio) so the result is tender, juicy, great tasting pork.
IMG_7353
For the lamb variation I used boneless lamb shoulder.  I have tried this recipe using lambs neck as well and it is really tasty so if you can get your hands on some, give it a try as well!
Don’t feel like you have to use cavatelli pasta for this dish.  It also works well with orecchiette, bowtie and even penne pasta varieties!
I love preparing these recipes for a special occasion or a romantic dinner at home.  Serve it with a great bottle of wine and you’ll have a perfect dinner at home!
With Love,
Julie


IMG_7327
IMG_7359IMG_7362
 
Easy Braised Pork Ragù
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 lbs Pork Shoulder, de-boned and cut into large chunks (Trim any rind and thick layers of fat)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh Oregano
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 450g bag of pasta (Penne, orecchiette or cavatelli pasta)
  • Parmesan Cheese for serving
Instructions
  1. Cut and prepare all of your vegetables and set aside (onion, garlic, carrots and celery). Wash and tie the herbs (thyme, oregano and bay leaf) into a bundle using kitchen twine. Pat the pork pieces dry with a paper towel (you will get a better sear on the meat if you remove the moisture). Liberally coat the pork pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed sauce pot coated with olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Begin to sear both sides of your pork pieces being sure not to crowd the pot (about 3 minutes per side). You may do this part in several batches as you want to make sure you have a nice sear on the pork. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
  3. Add your vegetables and herb bundle to the pot and cook until the vegetables have softened (about 8 minutes). Add the wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the wine to a simmer and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by half (about 6-10 minutes).
  4. Add tomato sauce and chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so that the sauce is just simmering and nestle the pork pieces into the sauce. Cook on very low heat for about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours, being sure to stir the sauce every 30 minutes or until the pork pieces pull apart easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the pot and put onto a plate. Remove the herb bundle from the pot and discard. Using two forks, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces. Return the shredded pork to the sauce and keep warm over very low heat.
  5. Cook your pasta according to package directions. Toss the cooked pasta with the pork ragù to coat the pasta. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and Parmesan cheese shavings on top.

 
Easy Braised Lamb Ragù
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Lamb Shoulder, de-boned and cut into large chunks
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 450g bag of cavatelli pasta
  • Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
Instructions
  1. Cut and prepare all of your vegetables and set aside (onion, garlic, carrots and celery). Wash and tie the herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano and bay leaf) into a bundle using kitchen twine. Pat the lamb pieces dry with a paper towel (you will get a better sear on the meat if you remove the moisture). Liberally coat the lamb pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed sauce pot coated with olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Begin to sear both sides of your lamb pieces being sure not to crowd the pot (about 3 minutes per side). You may do this part in several batches as you want to make sure you have a nice sear on the lamb. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
  3. Add your onions to the pot until softened (about 1 minute) and then add the rest of the vegetables and herbs (bay leaf, thyme oregano and rosemary) and cook until the vegetables have softened (another 5 – 8 minutes). Add the wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the wine to a simmer and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
  4. Add tomato sauce to the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so that the sauce is just simmering and nestle the lamb pieces into the sauce. Cook on low heat for about 2 and a half to 3 hours, being sure to stir the sauce every 30 minutes or so. If you find that your sauce gets too thick before the pork is tender, add a little bit of water to loosen up the sauce and continue to cook. When the lamb pieces pull apart easily with a fork, you know the ragù is ready. Remove the lamb from the pot and put onto a plate. Remove the herb bundle from the pot and discard. Using two forks, shred the lamb into bite-sized pieces. Return the shredded lamb to the sauce and keep warm over very low heat.
  5. Cook your cavatelli pasta according to package directions. Toss the cooked pasta with the lamb ragù to coat the cavatelli. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and pecorino or parmesan cheese shavings on top.

 *The above post and recipes were created as part of a paid partnership between myself and Retail Ready Foods.  However, and as always, all opinions are my own.