Haley Rowe-Kadow

Sunday Pork Ragu

This pork ragu recipe is written for Taraneh, Nina’s mom, who requested it after I made it at our first conjoined family holiday in 2021.

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 lbs Pork Shoulder
  • 8 oz can of Tomato Paste
  • 32 oz Canned Whole
  • Tomato
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • 1-2 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 cups Red Wine (Cabernet sauvignon or Pinot Noir)
  • 2 large Onions
  • 1 bag of Baby Carrots
  • 1 head of Celery
  • 1 head of Garlic
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Ok, so first things first, you’re going to want to season your pork shoulder – with such a large piece of pork it’s important to salt heavily – more than you think to cover the pork. You should be able to see the granules of salt. I suggest everyone watch the “Salt” episode of “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” on Netflix if you’re worried or curious about salting. You can salt 24 hours in advance or at least 1 hour in advance.
  2. Finely chop your onions, celery, and carrots. It’s not a necessity to do a proper brunoise with these veggies, but it does help reduce the cooking time, and it’s a fun skill to develop. If you’ve never learned, I suggest just finding a random youtube tutorial. That’s how I learned.
  3. In a cast iron or heavy bottom pan, sear off each side of your pork shoulder (2 minutes per side) and render off any of that yummy pork fat. Once you have a good amount of fat in your pan, take the shoulder out and set aside. Keep the rendered fat.
  4. In the pork fat, saute the onion, celery, and carrot. You want this to reduce and create a sofrito. Be patient. This takes a hot minute ~30 mins. (With sofrito the point is to get all the moisture out of the vegetables, to concentrate the flavors, and to create a strong base for the rest of your sauce to stand on. Slow & steady wins the race on this one.) Stay on medium or low heat and stir regularly. It will reduce in volume by over half.
  5. Once your sofrito is nice and reduced, add in your tomato paste. Saute 5 more minutes.
    Once the color of your tomato paste deepens one shade, add in your red wine. Give it a second to reduce and cook off a bit of the alcohol.
  6. Add in salt, rosemary, thyme, canned tomato (crushing each tomato in your hand before adding to the pot), beef broth, and your pork shoulder. The pork should be mostly submerged if not fully. Set to a simmer and let it cook for 3-6 hours, skimming the fat off the top as needed.
  7. At the 2 hour mark, I suggest pulling out your shoulder and breaking/cutting it into smaller chunks so it will cook faster. If you leave the shoulder whole it will take closer to 6 hours. At this time taste broth for salt and adjust as needed.
  8. Once your pork is very tender, take two forks and shred the pork in the sauce. You should be able to pull it apart with minimal effort.
  9. Serve over pasta or polenta and top with parm and/or parsley if you so choose. Now it’s done & you can eat it <3

Bonus content: pics from Thanksgiving 2021