pasta ribbons with pork ragu
Photo Credit: Sara Remington

Pasta Ribbons with Pork Ragù

This typical Christmas dish traditionally hails from Modica, a splendid Baroque city in the southeast corner of the island.

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pasta ribbons with pork ragu

Pasta Ribbons with Pork Ragù

This typical Christmas dish traditionally hails from Modica, a splendid Baroque city in the southeast corner of the island.
Course: Dinner
Keyword: pasta, pork, ragu
Servings: 4
Author: Melissa Muller


  • 2 tablespoons lard or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound pork butt, cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 1/4 pound plain sausage meat, casings removed
  • 2 cups Soffritto (see below)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 1 cup Meat Broth (see below)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • salt
  • 1 pound fresh Hard Wheat Pasta Dough with Egg or Cocoa Pasta, (see below) cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide lasagne ribbons
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta, at room temperature

Flavor Base Soffritto:

  • 1/2 cup 1/4-inch diced onion
  • 1/2 cup 1/8-inch diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup 1/8-inch-diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Meat Broth:

  • 2 1/2 pounds lean beef or veal, cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 1 beef bone with marrow
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 ripe tomato, crushed
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 large onions, cut into quarters
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 sprig fresh basil
  • 1 box Barilla wavy lasagne pasta


Pasta Ribbons with Pork Ragu:

  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the lard over medium to high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side until a brown crispy outer layer is formed. Make sure to leave adequate space between the pieces so that they do not steam instead of searing. It’s important to get an adequate brown on each side so that the meat flavors lock into each chunk. Remove
    the pork chunks from the pot and add the sausage meat. Cook, stirring briskly, until the sausage browns. Add the soffritto and return the seared pork cubes to the pot, along with the garlic and tomato paste. Using a wooden spoon, stir all the elements together until
    the tomato paste starts to darken slightly in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine, and scape any stuck pieces of meat or tomato paste from the bottom of the pan as the wine evaporates.
  • Add the broth along with 4 cups water. Wrap the cinnamon stick, cloves, fennel seeds, bay leaves, and peppercorns in some cheesecloth, tie with a piece of butcher’s twine, and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook for about 3 hours, until the pork is very tender. Throughout the cooking process, constantly check on
    the sauce, and use the wooden spoon to make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. About halfway through the cooking time, add salt to taste. When done, the meat will be very tender, and will shred into pieces easily with a fork.
  • Remove the pork, shred all the chunks, then return the meat to the ragù, adding a touch of hot water if the sauce appears too thick. Remove and discard the cheesecloth containing the spices. Keep the ragù warm over low heat while preparing the pasta.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fresh pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute, until just short of al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to the hot ragù. Taste the sauce to see if it needs any additional salt, then toss the pasta gently with the ragù until well combined.
  • Transfer to serving plates and place a dollop of ricotta on top of each plate. Serve immediately.

Meat Broth:

  • Place all the ingredients except the salt and basil in a stockpot with 1 gallon plus 1 quart cold water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the top of the pot. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. About halfway through the cooking period, add the salt. The broth is done when the meat is very soft and can be cut in half with a fork.
  • Let the broth cool in the pot, adding the basil sprig for flavor. Filter the cooled broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Remove the pieces of meat and carrots gently with kitchen tongs and reserve to enjoy separately; all the other solid ingredients can be discarded.

Flavor Base Soffritto:

  • Place the onion, carrot, celery, and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
  • As soon as the water has evaporated and the mixture dries out, add the olive oil. Sauté, stirring occasionally, without browning, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.


Excerpted from Sicily: The Cookbook, Recipes Rooted in Traditions © 2017 By Melissa Muller. Published By Rizzoli. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!

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