Perfect bowl of handmade cavatelli with braised pork ragù topped with some grated cacioricotta inspired by the classic pork ragù from the Molise region in Italy.
In the last year or so, I’ve become obsessed in learning how to make fresh pasta! There is just something magical for me that with just few ingredients you can create so many different shapes and types of pasta. I also find it very relaxing! For now, I’m trying to focus and improve my semolina and water pasta dough and then I will move to the fresh egg pasta dough.
In Italy you can find hundreds of different shapes of pasta, however not all pasta shapes are made from the same dough. In the Northern part they use egg pasta dough to make tortellini or other filled pasta, pappardelle, tagliatelle and so on. However, in the Southern regions and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia they make use of semolina pasta dough mostly, as to create short hand-formed pasta shapes such as cavatelli, orechiette, malleredus, lorighittas and so on. In this recipe today I will be using some hand-formed cavatelli which is considered to be the eldest pasta shape.
The best part of this shape is that you don’t need any pasta machine. You just need to make the dough and form these little tubular shapes with a cavity in the middle that holds the sauce perfectly!! However, I will not go into detail of how I made them for now as I’m still trying to perfect it myself. However, would you be interested to know more about how to make pasta dough and it’s different shapes? Let me know!
Cavatelli are especially popular in the regions of Puglia, Molise, Campania, Calabria and Basilicata. They are typically served with meat or fish sauces or with vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli and aubergines. For today, I will be making them with a pork ragù, which is the protagonist of today’s recipe, and that is typical of the Molise region. This sauce consists of good cuts of pork such as the chops, ribs or shoulders, Italian sausage and tomato sauce which are cooked low and slow, but trust me, all the patience is worth it!
Traditionally, this dish is prepared for Sunday lunch as it is so easy to cook in bulk and from one ragù you can create two dishes. Normally, for the first course, cavatelli are served with the sauce from the ragù and then for the main course the meat is served. However, you can also chop up the meat in smaller pieces and serve it with the pasta as the main course. Just like I will be doing here! In my life I have tried several ragus and sauces but this is one is one of my ultimate favourites! The flavours combine so well and it is one of my ideal comfort foods! To top it all off, I used some cacioricotta which I had at home, as I used it for some orecchiette with tomato sauce dish, but you can easily substitute it with pecorino preferably or parmeggiano reggiano.
Braised Pork Ragù Cavatelli
- 500 g pork chops/pork shoulder chunks
- 100 g italian sausage
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 800 ml canned tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 200 ml water
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 360 g fresh cavatelli pasta (or any other short pasta)
- pecorino/cacioricotta grated
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the pork meat and sausage until they have a nice brown colour on the outside. Once cooked put the meat aside.
- In the remaining fat, cook the onion for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and let cook.
- Add the tomato paste and let it cook for about 3 minutes.
- Once the base is ready, add the pork and the sausage and cook for a few minutes. Pour the wine over the meat and let the alcohol evaporate.
- Lastly, crash the canned tomato with your hands and add to the pot, together with the oregano and the water. Bring to a boil.
- Once you bring it to a boil, cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for about 1 hour, stirring it occasionally so that the meat doesn't get stuck to the bottom.
- After the first hour, season the ragù with salt & pepper to taste. Cover and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring to boil a pot filled with water. Once it starts to boil, season with plenty of salt. Add the pasta and cook as instructed on the package or until al dente.
- Once the pasta cooks add it to the ragù and serve with some grated pecorino or cacioricotta.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
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