Monday, May 2, 2011

Twirled Tour: Rigatoni with Hearty Meat Sauce

If I had a food truck, I would call it "Twirled Tour" and I'd serve pasta. (And that is proprietary information, so don't go giving away my genius idea.) Since I don't see a food truck in my near future, I figured the next best thing would be to take my blog readers on a Twirled Tour with a variety of pasta recipes (but funny enough, my first recipe doesn't actually twirl!).

In my quest to use ALL of the leftovers from our Easter pork roast, I was on the hunt last week for as many unique pork recipes as I could find. This one was in another of my Cooking for Two books, also in a "One Big Roast, Three Great Meals" chapter. I was mildly skeptical because the pork I was working with started out kind of sweet (what with the sugar-salt brine and all), but it ended up being surprisingly delicious! I'm assuming the acidity of the red wine served to balance the sweetness, and it had just the right amount of richness. I told Bill I'm dying to make another pork roast just to cook up the leftovers again!

So enjoy your first stop on the tour with my rigatoni and hearty meat sauce.

Rigatoni with Hearty Meat Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup red wine
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
10 oz. (about 2 cups) cooked pork, shredded
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. (about 2 1/2 cups) rigatoni, cooked
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, and pork, and simmer until thickened, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. (FYI, I forgot this step, but it turns out the reserved cooking water wasn't necessary.)

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to combine, adjusting the sauce consistency with the reserved cooking water as desired. Serve with parmesan.

I made this dish on Friday night and if I remember correctly, I made a couple additions ... although I also made a ragu for my arancini, so I may not be remembering correctly and those additions went into that dish! Whatever the case, if I was evaluating this recipe based solely on the listed ingredients, I'd say it needed a pinch of red pepper flakes and a teaspoon or two of sugar. So I may or may not have added those ingredients ... you can taste as you go and decide for yourself :)


  1. Ooooh, another Italian recipe! And I know it doesn't make a difference in taste, but rigatoni is my favorite :p Right after penne.

    Do dishes like this work if you put cheese other than just the parmesan? Like mozzarella balls or something?

  2. Rigatoni is my favorite too :) Well, maybe right after mostaccioli!

    And you can totally add different kinds of cheese (although this sauce was super rich, so I little sprinkle of parmesan was just right).