Pork Sugo with Strozzapreti

serves 4-6

1 tablespoon oil
1.5 pounds pork butt (or other cut with lots of fat)

2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 carrot, cut into small dice

2/3 cup dry red wine
3 cups chopped tomatoes (peeled and deseeded)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme

500 g fresh strozzapreti (or other short pasta), boiled according to package directions
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving


Generously salt and pepper the pork. Heat a heavy pot just large enough to fit the pork over medium heat. Add the oil, then add the pork. Fry until golden brown, turning until golden brown on all sides. The browned bits lay the foundation for our sugo.

Transfer the pork to a plate, drain off all but 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the garlic, onions, and carrots. Saute the vegetables until they start browning. This sweetens them and adds another layer of flavor on top of the browned pork.

Add the red wine and bring to a boil. You want to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan and burn off the alcohol in the wine. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme into the pot along with the pork. Make sure the pork is mostly submerged, then cover loosely with a lid (leave the lid ajar). Turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours or until you can easily stick a fork into the pork. You’ll want to flip the pork a few times if it is not completely covered in sauce.

When the pork is tender, remove it from the pot and use a fork to shred the meat. Use a spoon to skim off any excess fat (a little is okay, but you don’t want an oil slick on top). Add the pork back to sauce, which should now be pretty thick. If it’s watery, turn up the heat a bit and reduce it until it’s nice and thick.

Boil the strozzapreti just short of the time specified on the package. Drain and add to the sugo. Turn up the heat and cook for a few minutes until the strozzapreti is al dente and the sauce easily coats each piece of pasta. Serve with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.