I used the rainy weather we had this past weekend in Arizona, as an excuse to stay in and cook up a storm. I made a loaf of seeded semolina bread, a roasted peppered salad, fresh rotini pasta and a warming pork & kale ragu.
The ragu was definitely the star of the meal. It was hearty, but not too heavy, and the added kale made it feel almost healthy. The bitter cabbage taste of kale is complimented by the sweet fork tender pork and currants. Slightly adapted from a recipe I saw on Bon Appetite the ragu is a rustic one pot dish that would make a delicious family dinner.
Kale & Pork Ragu
(adapted from bon appetite)
1 1½-lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1½ inch pieces1/4 cup olive oil, plus more
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig oregano
1 bay leaf
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pound pasta
1/3 cup dried currants soaked in 1/2 hot water (optional)
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, torn into 2” pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more
Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook meat, turning occasionally, until browned, 10-15 minutes; transfer to a large plate.
Drain all but 2 Tbsp. fat from pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Tie rosemary, oregano, and bay leaf into a bundle with kitchen twine; add to pot along with pork, tomatoes, wine, peppercorns, nutmeg, and cloves. Add water just to cover meat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, adding more water as needed, until meat is very tender, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Discard herb bundle. Using 2 forks, shred meat in pot; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until sauce is thickened, 8-10 minutes.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Add currants, if using, and kale to ragu; cook until kale is soft, about 4 minutes. Add pasta; cook, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper., Serve pasta drizzled with oil and topped with more Parmesan.