Fettucine with Pork Ragu and Peas

I have a dry-rubbed grilled pork tenderloin left over from my dinner the other evening. Yes–this is another lesson in recycling leftovers–one of my favorite pastimes.

This is not a true long-simmered pork ragu, which would require raw ground pork and 2 to 3 hours of simmering.  Rather, this is fully cooked pork tenderloin that has been coarsely ground in the food processor and briefly simmered in great tomato sauce.   Pasta is cooked and added to the ragu, along with a handful of frozen peas at the last minute.

You can make a quick tomato sauce by briefly sauteing a quarter of an onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then adding a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes that you’ve squished by hand or pulsed quickly in the food processor.  Add salt, pepper, a couple of basil leaves (if you have them) and simmer for 15 minutes.  This can be frozen in small batches and used right from the freezer.

The important thing to know about simmering a lean cut of meat in a moist medium  is to keep the heat on low and simmer very gently for only a short while–or else the meat will become tough–it’s not meant to be slow-cooked.  Just heat it through and serve.  In the time it takes for the pasta water to boil and the pasta to cook, the ragu will be ready.

Tonight, in addition to the pasta, we had a wonderful salad–local spinach, with figs and herbed goat cheese.  It’s a rare treat to find a basket of figs which are all perfectly soft, ripe and sweet.  I spotted the figs at my market, squeezed every single one of them, and realized they’d be great.  I dressed the greens with my red wine vinegar/agave/olive oil combination., then arranged the figs around the greens (after eating a few).  They were an amazing and unexpected treat–almost as good as in Italy.

Fettucine with Pork Ragu and Peas

serves 4

1 cooked pork tenderloin–approximately 1 lb

2 c homemade tomato sauce, as described above

2 tbls butter

2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb pasta

1 c frozen peas

plenty of grated parmigiano for sprinkling at the table

salt and pepper to taste

Dice pork tenderloin into roughly 1″ cubes.

Pulse the pork in the food processor about 5 or 6 times (a few seconds per pulse) until it is coarsely chopped.  Add to tomato sauce, along with butter and simmer on lowest heat for about 10 minutes, while the pasta cooks.

After 10  minutes, the ragu should be nicely amalgamated and the pasta ready.

When pasta is just about cooked, add peas to pasta pot and cook for about 30 seconds longer.  Drain and add pasta and peas to sauce, along with about a half-cup of pasta cooking liquid.  Drizzle on the olive oil, stir and toss for about a minute.

Serve with lots of grated cheese on top.

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