Ragu serves 6
Prep time 15mins
Cook time 3 hours
When tasked with coming up with a dish to match Trinity Hill’s Single Vineyard Thomson’s Block Syrah 2019 my mind instantly went to pasta with a slow-cooked ragu. If you are going to drink such a beautiful bottle of wine, why not take the time to make a special meal that will no doubt impress your guests.
Nduja is a slightly spicy spreadable pork sausage and its gentle smokey hum when combined with the pork shoulder creates the most perfect match for this silky smooth wine. The pasta is a rustic hand-rolled spaghetti which is so easy and fun to make but feel free to substitute any dried pasta, I would go for a wide pappardelle.
Tips for this dish
- Don’t trim the fat on the pork, feel free to discard at the end of the cooking but most of it should render down giving the ragu more flavour
- Nduja can be found at specialty food stores, you can find it here: https://sabato.co.nz/products/callipo-nduja – you could substitute with some chorizo
- Pici is a hand rolled spaghetti made using a dough of just flour, water and olive oil. It is really simple to make and don’t worry if your strands don’t look perfect, it is a rustic shape!
For the ragu
- 1kg boned pork shoulder, cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
- 3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 6 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 tbsp nduja (divided)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Zest of a lemon
- 250ml white wine
- 500ml chicken stock
- 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
- 50g butter
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan to serve
- Pea shoots or fresh parsley to serve
For the pici (this is enough for 4)
- 400g ’00’ flour (plain flour is fine)
- 185ml warm water
- 20ml olive oil (a standard tbsp)
- Course semolina to dust the pici
- Get a fry pan heating over a medium/high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and brown the pork chunks all over. Do it in batches, I like to get two pans going to cut the time down. Set aside.
- Transfer any of the rendered pork fat into a big heavy based saucepan that you will cook the ragu in and add a tablespoon of olive oil. When hot add the onion, celery, carrot, herbs and fennel seeds and fry gently for 10 minutes, adding the garlic in after 5 mins.
- When the vegetables are soft add the tomato paste, 3 tbsp of the nduja, the lemon zest and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- Add the wine and bring it to a boil, simmer for a few minutes and then add the chicken stock, tinned tomatoes, an additional cup of water and a big pinch of salt.
- Add the browned pork pieces and bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 hours, stirring every so often. At 3 hours pull a piece of pork out and if it shreds easily it is ready, if not cook for another 20 mins or until pulling apart. Remove all the pork and shred on a chopping board with two forks then return to the pan with the remaining 3 tbsp of nduja and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- The ragu is now ready but as mentioned I highly recommend serving this a day or two after you make it.
- Weigh your flour then tip it out onto your bench. Make a well in the middle (I use the bottom of a bowl to do this) then pour in the warm water and olive oil.
- Whisk the water with a fork, slowly and carefully incorporating the flour from the outside into the middle until it forms a thick paste.
- When the middle mixture becomes too thick to whisk I like to use a bench scraper to cut the remaining flour into the liquid, you can do this with your hands too. You basically want to end up with a very evenly incorporated shaggy mixture.
- Bring it together into a ball and knead vigorously for 4 – 5 minutes until you get a dimpled ball of dough. Wrap tightly and rest for 10 mins.
- Continue kneading for a few minutes, you should end up with a very smooth ball of dough. Wrap again and rest for an hour or longer at room temp.
- Using a quarter of the dough at a time, roll out with a rolling pin until 3mm thick. Cut into 1.5cm strips.
- On a wooden board roll the strips out into long noodles, starting in the middle and working your way out.
- Place the finished strands onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and liberally dusted with course semolina to stop them sticking.
Finishing the dish
- Heat the ragu through on the stove top and add 50g butter.
- Get a pot of water boiling and salt liberally, boil the pici for 3 minutes.
- When the pici is almost ready add a 1/2 cup of pasta water into the ragu, or more if it needs to be loosened.
- Add the pici and let it simmer in the sauce for 2 minutes.
- Serve with a mountain of freshly grated parm and fresh parsley or pea shoots.