This Shredded Pork Ragu is something you should have at least once in your lifetime. Tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork in a luscious tomato sauce ladled over polenta or pasta will warm you up on even the coldest night!
This Italian pulled pork is the stuff dreams and comfort dinners are made of and couldn’t be easier to make!
What you need to make this Italian Pulled Pork:
- pork shoulder
- 28 oz. canned tomatoes
- Italian seasoning or dried rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage
- dry red wine
- tomato paste
- olive oil
When it comes to comfort food, it’s Italian meat sauces that I crave. Between my Mom’s Meat sauce, and this Orecchiette Pasta nothing beats a bowl of tender noodles lashed with a fabulous sauce. AM I RIGHT???
Except perhaps this pork ragu. Honestly one of the best meals I’ve made all winter, this Italian pork dish has so much going for it!
Why you will love this Italian meat sauce:
- Made from the relatively inexpensive pork shoulder, you get a lot of bang for your buck!
- Hands on time is about 30 minutes leaving you more time to do other things!
- Tastes even better the next day and is a freezer favorite!
- Guaranteed to make even the worst day better!
A Ragu is an Italian meat sauce made from beef, pork, chicken or game.
A Bolognese sauce is a ragu that is named for the region it came from – Bologna. Marcella Hazan’s recipe is the most well known and definitely worth making.
Yes! Ragu sauces actually taste better if they are made one to two days ahead of time.
Instructions and tips for making Pork Ragu:
- Sear the pork: Use a heavy bottomed pot or a dutch oven. The key to getting a good sear on any meat is to blot the meat dry with a paper towel and to add the meat when the oil is hot!
- Saute the vegetables: After searing the pork, add the vegetables and cook until they are tender. Although many recipes call for carrots I think the sauce is sweet enough without them.
- Add the tomato paste: You need to cook the tomato paste for a good 3 – 4 minutes. Cooking caramelizes the sugars in the tomato paste and results in a deeper flavored sauce.
- Add the wine: Once you’ve added the wine, use a large wooden or metal spoon to stir the pot., Making sure to scrape the bottom and release the fond – that lovely dark brown residue on the bottom that contains so much flavor!
- Add the pork and tomatoes and stir: If the sauce doesn’t cover the pork spoon some of the sauce on top. Place a lid on the pot and bake.
- Shred the meat: the meat should easily pull apart. If it doesn’t, return it to the pot and bake for another 15 – 30 minutes.
- Degrease the sauce: There are two ways to degrease the sauce. If making the sauce a day ahead, refrigerate the meat and sauce. The fat will rise to the top and solidify and you can easily scrape it off. If you can’t wait that long, place a spoon parallel to the pot bottom on top of the sauce. Press down lightly and the fat should pool into the spoon. Repeat as needed.
- Combine the meat and sauce: Combine the meat and sauce and serve. Extra ragu sauce freezes extremely well.
More Pork Recipes!
- Pulled Pork Tacos
- Grilled Pork Skewers
- Chinese BBQ Pork
- Baked Bourbon Maple Pork Chops
- Pork with Gingered Apples
I hope you enjoy this Pork Ragu with Creamy Parmesan Polenta as much as we do here at ACT! I would love it if you let me know and left a recipe rating!!
Shredded Pork Ragu
- 3 /12 pounds bone in pork shoulder or pork butt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 brown onion cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup celery cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice san marzano tomatoes are delicious in this
- 1 cup dry red wine cabernet sauvignon or a merlot work really well
To make the Pork Ragu:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Cut the pork shoulder or butt into 3 or 4 pieces that will fit into your pot. Bot the meat dry with a paper towel.
- Heat a large (4 qt) heavy bottom lidded dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the meat.
- Let the meat cook for about 5 minutes or until the bottom is nicely browned and easily lifts off the bottom of the pan. If the meat sticks, it’s not done searing yet!
- Flip the meat over and sear the other side.
- Remove the meat from the pan and add the onions, garlic and celery.
- Cook, stirring often for another 4 – 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are tender.
- Add the salt, pepper, herbs and stir for another minute.
- Add the tomato paste. Stirring constantly for 3 – 4 minutes until the tomato paste is a dark reddish brown. Tomato paste can burn, so keep stirring!
- Add the wine and stir, scraping up the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot and stir. Add the meat. If the sauce doesn’t cover the meat (it probably won’t) spread some of the sauce on top of the meat.
- Cover the pan and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 2 hours or until the pork is very tender.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the pork and, using two forks, shred the pork meat.
- Degrease the sauce by spooning the fat off the top. NOTE: If you refrigerate the sauce overnight, the fat will rise to the top and harden making it very easy to remove.
- Add the shredded pork back to the degreased sauce and stir to combine. Serve over the parmesan polenta, passing additional parmesan if desired.
- Blotting the meat dry with a paper towel helps the meat develop a nice brown crust so don’t skip this step!
- Browning the tomato paste (known as pince′ in French) is a culinary technique used primarily with tomato paste. Allowing the paste to cook (and caramelizing the sugars) gives a much richer and deeper flavor to the finished dish. This is definitely another step not to skip!
- For the red wine, choose a drier red – either a cabernet sauvignon or a merlot works well or a blend that is on the drier side. Definitely, don’t use an expensive bottle but do use a wine you would enjoy drinking!
- The ragu actually tastes better the day after it’s made – really allowing the flavors to blend. Making the dish a day ahead also makes the degreasing much, much easier!
- The ragu freezes unbelievably well and is one of those dishes that is worth its weight in gold in your freezer. You can defrost it in the microwave or simply pop it into the fridge a day before you plan to serve it. Reheat the ragu in a pot on the stove with a lid. If the ragu seems a little dry, you can add a little water.