An easy and flavorful ragu recipe that takes less than 30 minutes hands on time! This Pork Ragu is braised with apples, honey and vegetables for a memorable dish you’ll make again and again.
This ragu recipe takes 30 minutes hands on time and the rest of the magic takes place in the oven.
The Pork Ragu at Pastaria, a local Italian restaurant by Gerard Craft is one of my favorite dinners. I simplified their recipe to make it easier and more accessible – perfect for a Sunday supper, family dinner or just a dinner to warm you up on a cold winter day and save the rest for later!
Last week I tried something new – I shared my process of hosting a get together from start to finish. I made this ragu recipe sharing video footage every step of the way and the response was overwhelming. So many of you asked for the recipe so though I don’t have beautiful photos to share, it’s too good to keep it to myself! But first things, first…
What is Ragu?
Ragu is a large quantity of beef or pork braised with vegetables for several hours until flavorful and tender. It can be served alone or on a bed of pasta. One of the many reasons it’s an Italian favorite is because it can serve a large number of guests.
Not feeding a crowd? You can refrigerate pork ragu in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in a freezer for up to a month, reheat and toss with pasta.
While this ragu recipe is a little more time intensive than most of my recipes, don’t be intimidated, it’s so easy and if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy the process. It’s therapeutic. Just wait until your home fills with the most wonderful aroma!
What is in Pork Ragu?
This recipe is unique, which is one of the many reasons I love it. In addition to boneless pork shoulder, it has a granny smith apple and honey which adds a hint of sweet flavor to the sauce. The pork simmers with chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Tomato paste, white wine, chicken broth, and champagne vinegar make the sauce with mascarpone to round it out. Thyme, salt and pepper season it to perfection.
If at all possible, ragu is best made in cast iron. It goes from stove top, to oven to table seamlessly and offers the best flavor. Cooking in cast iron browns the meat beautifully and allows it to braise at a consistent slow simmer. I use my large oval cocotte. It’s such a versatile piece and gets frequent use.
If you’re up for the extra dish and you prefer, you can make any ragu recipe in a slow cooker as well. Follow instructions and rather than placing it in the oven, place in a slow cooker until it falls apart.
What to Serve with this Ragu Recipe
Now you may be asking what you should serve with this ragu recipe, especially if you’re using it to entertain. With a dish as rich as this, you don’t need much! I always pair pasta with a salad and another serving of vegetables is right there in the sauce.
To start, I love serving a loaf of take and bake bread with a nice olive oil and bread dipping spices.
A hearty meat sauce like this pairs well with red wine. Truly any dry red works from a lighter Pinot Noir to a robust (red) Zinfandel or Cab.
How to Make Pork Ragu
Keep reading for the full printable ragu recipe.
- Chop vegetables and slice apple.
- Heat olive oil on medium high. Add pork, salting on both sides (use a salt grinder set to the largest flakes) and add it to the cocotte turning to brown all sides. Turn to brown the last side and immediately toss all apple, finely chopped vegetables, garlic and thyme around the pork as it continues to brown.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook stirring them until brown.
- Add tomato paste. Stir until incorporated.
- Add wine and cook. Bring to a boil.
- Add chicken stock, vinegar and honey. Simmer.
- Cover and transfer to the oven for 1.5 hours.
- Flip pork and continue to braise for another 1.5 hours.
- Remove and press on vegetables to extrude additional flavor.
- Using two forks, shred meat, removing any excess fat (if necessary). Stir.
- Stir in mascarpone and season with salt and pepper.
As I mentioned before, you can enjoy this alone but it’s incredible on a bed of pasta. Larger noodles work best with a thick, robust sauce like this pork ragu recipe. I recommend tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, or mafaldine. You can use egg noodles and learn how to make homemade pasta here, purchase from a local Italian restaurant (many offer fresh yet to be cooked noodles upon request), in the refrigerated section of your grocery store or of course, boxed noodles.
Boil noodles in salted water (salty like the sea) until al dente.
Should you want to thin the sauce (I don’t), you can use a little pasta water.
Ragu Recipe (Pork Ragu)
An easy and flavorful ragu recipe that takes less than 30 minutes hands on time! This Pork Ragu is braised with apples, honey and vegetables for a memorable dish you'll make again and again.
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 celery rib chopped
- 1 onion diced
- 2 granny smith apples cored and sliced thin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3.5 lb pork shoulder
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 c dry white wine
- 2 c chicken stock
- 1/3 c champagne vinegar
- 3 tbsp honey
- 8 oz mascarpone
- 2 lb pappardelle
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat olive oil on medium high. Add pork, salting on both sides, add it to cocotte turning to brown all sides.
Turn to brown the last side and immediately toss all apple, finely chopped vegetables, garlic and thyme around the pork as it continues to brown.
Reduce heat to medium and cook stirring them until brown.
Add tomato paste. Stir until incorporated.
Add wine, bring to a boil.
Add chicken stock, vinegar and honey. Simmer for 3 minutes.
Cover and transfer to the oven for 1.5 hours. Turn pork and braise for another 1.5 hours.
Remove from oven and press on vegetables to extrude additional flavor.
Using two forks, shred meat, removing any excess fat (if necessary). Stir to combine with sauce.
Stir in mascarpone and season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh grated parmesan.
- you can substitute white wine vinegar if you don't have champagne vinegar
- if you absolutely must, you can substitute a half cup of heavy cream for mascarpone.