By Iron Chef Leftovers
One of the nice things about making pasta sauce is that it is a fairly simple process and can be used in a variety of ways. One of the things I tend to do with my tomatoes is to make a really simple sauce and freezing it so that I can use it as a base for a more robust pasta sauce later in the year. One of my favorite sauces is a sugo – a hearty sauce that I love in the cold of winter. It was part of one of my courses at a recent dinner party and it is a nice sauce to feed a crowd.
3 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium onions, finely sliced (about 2 cups)
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch lengths
3 celery stalks cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes (16 oz)
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 ¼ cup red wine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 cups tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced sage
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a dutch oven, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat until just smoking. Add 1/3 of the pork and brown on all sides (about 4 minutes per side). Remove from the pot to a plate and reduce heat to medium and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add onions and cook for 8 minutes until they start to become translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add celery and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add stock, tomatoes and red wine and increase heat to medium high until liquid comes to a boil. Add the pork and cook until the liquid returns to a boil. Cover and put in the oven. Cook for about 2 hours or until the pork is fork tender. Remove from the oven. Pull the pork from the liquid and set aside to shred. Take the vegetables and add them to a blender. Strain the liquid to remove the fat and then add to the blender with the vegetables. Puree until smooth (you may need to do this in a couple of batches). Add the puree and the pork back to the pot and combine with the tomato sauce, oregano, rosemary and sage. Heat over medium heat for 15 minutes, add salt and pepper as needed and serve over pasta.
This recipe is better if you make it a day ahead of when you want to use it. I use an even split of marsala wine and dry red wine, but just about any red wine will work in this recipe. You can adjust the amount of tomato sauce depending on how much sauce you like. If it is too thick when you serve it, add a bit of pasta water to it to loosen it up. This would also be nice with a bit of red pepper flakes added to the initial braise.