Smoky Pork Pappardelle

29 04 2012

I hosted a supper and wine tasting evening for my girlies this weekend, and this pork pappardelle was the main dish of the night. It’s rich and luxurious, and while it appears fancy which is great to serve guests, it doesn’t take too much hard work which is great for the host. The trick is in the braising of the meat, and the oven does that for you!

Smoky Pork Pappardelle

The following serves 6 (compliments of Food & Wine):

  • One 2-pound piece of boneless pork shoulder
  • Smoked sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound pappardelle
  • 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 300. Season the pork with 1 1/2 tablespoons of smoked salt. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned on all sides, 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate. I didn’t have smoked salt, so I seasoned the pork liberally with kosher salt and pepper and grilled until nicely marked all around.
Add the apple, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it deepens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer. Add the pork, cover and transfer the casserole to the oven. Braise the pork for about 3 hours, turning once halfway through, until very tender.
Using 2 forks, shred the pork; discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the shredded pork to the sauce and stir in the mascarpone. Cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to the casserole with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the parsley over moderate heat until well coated, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasta to warm bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with grated cheese.
I paired this dish with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a dry red wine that pairs well with a meat-based ragu and won’t be overwhelmed by food with luxurious flavors.
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