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Gemelli With Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder Ragù

A slow-cooked pork shoulder ragù with gemelli is a crowd-pleasing pasta dish from the cookbook Pasta et Al.

9:00 AM EST on December 4, 2023

Gemelli with pork ragu

Gemelli with slow-cooked pork shoulder ragu from the cookbook Pasta et Al by Alec Morris. Photo: Alec Morris

This gemelli with slow-cooked pork shoulder ragù recipe comes from the new cookbook Pasta et Al, by Australian author Alec Morris and taking its name from the blog he runs with his two sons, Aldo and Elio. You'll need to buy the book to gain access to his preferred dough for this recipe, or you can substitute a high-quality store-bought gemelli[Note: Appetito may earn commissions from products featured in links to this story.]

pasta et al book cover
Pasta et Al by Alec Morris.

A sure-fire way to a satisfying meal is simple ingredients cooked for a long time. And meat. I remember a couple of decades back, the last giant family party that we had. The kind that has so many ‘uncles’ and ‘cousins’ that you’re reminded of the fact they’re actually placeholder titles used to avoid convoluted explanations of exactly whose cousin’s great-uncle-in-law you’re talking to. The type where even the less familiar hair gel and gold chain side of the family turns up. And the type with a whole lamb roasting on a giant spit, manned by an assortment of portly bristled men holding beers and shouting at each other over the smoke in beautifully broken English and Calabrian.

Family events have been whittled down now by time and distance, and it’s been many years since I had room for a spit in the backyard, so our slow-cooked meals these days all happen at a scale that can fit into a casserole pot. This is one of our go-tos, served with simple, bitey gemelli.

Gemelli With Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder Ragù

Gemelli With Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder Ragù

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Alex Morris
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

5

hours 

40

minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1 × quantity Semolina dough or 1 lb. store-bought gemelli pasta

  • 2 lb 2 10 oz /1.2 kg pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks

  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to season

  • ⅓ cup /2 ½ fl. oz /80 ml extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 1 fennel bulb, sliced

  • 3 3 –4 wild boar bocconcini sausages, diced or sliced (alternatively, use 9 oz/250 g other salami)

  • 1 1 carrot, finely diced

  • 1 1 onion, finely diced

  • ½ garlic bulb, minced

  • 1 tablespoon 1 fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 1 rosemary sprig

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

  • 14 oz 14 /400g tinned crushed tomatoes

  • 27 fl oz. 27 /800 ml passata (puréed tomatoes)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 sugar

  • pinch salt

  • 1 cup 1 /8½ fl. oz./250 ml red wine

  • 2 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon 1 fennel seeds, dry roasted and coarsely ground

  • 1 tablespoon 1 black pepper, coarsely ground

  • pinch ground cayenne pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 320°F/160°C. If using fresh pasta, hand-roll the pasta dough into ropes of around ¼ in./5 mm in thickness and then form into gemelli.
  • Season the pork and brown in a hot, lightly oiled flameproof casserole. If you don’t have one, you can use a large frying pan, later transferring to an ovenproof dish. Remove the meat and deglaze with a splash of water. Set the liquid aside. Turn the heat down to low.
  • Add the olive oil, fennel, sausage, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary and chilli flakes and gently fry until the onion is translucent. Expect this to take 20–30 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the browned pork back in and mix through the soffritto before pouring in the crushed tomatoes, passata and deglazing liquid. Season with the sugar and a pinch of salt. Swill 27 fl oz /800 ml of water around in the empty can and passata bottle to collect any leftovers and add to the pot. Then mix in the wine, bay leaves, fennel seeds, black pepper, and cayenne. Season and give it a good stir.
  • Bring to the boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. If using a frying pan to this point, transfer the ragù to an ovenproof dish or pot first. Cook for 4–5 hours, stirring occasionally, and check the moisture levels regularly. Add water if necessary to prevent it becoming too dry. Remove from the oven and stir gently to break up the chunks of meat until it is at a satisfactory consistency to serve.
  • Cook the gemelli for 8–10 minutes in a large pot of salted water; test for doneness and then drain, retaining a cup of pasta water. Stir into the sauce, adding a little water back in to assist emulsification.

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Excerpted with permission from Pasta et Al by Alec Morris published by Hardie Grant Publishing, September 2023, RRP $35.00 Hardcover.

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