In the past three months that we have been living through this whole coronavirus nightmare, we have prepared every dinner at home. It isn’t that we didn’t want to support our local restaurants by ordering a takeaway meal, it was more that we preferred staying close to home. We usually go out to eat for entertainment, not that we find the food better than what we eat at home. Both my husband and I are good cooks, and we have spent our time at home, making some elaborate meals, many simple home-cooked favorites. We also tried out many new recipes, most of them Italian.
I do not often cook with an Instant Pot and in fact I usually only use my Instant Pot to make homemade broth every week for our one fasting day. One day recently, however, I decided to use my Instant Pot to make a hearty meat ragu sauce to serve over polenta. Whenever I make polenta, I am reminded of my Mother-In-Law. She would often serve a bowl of creamy polenta topped with her delicious tomato sauce. My Mother-In-Law would slow cook meat in the sauce for hours to flavor it, and then pass the meat separately. I made a creamy polenta flavored with black pepper and grated pecorino cheese to serve my ragu on, and this Cacio e Pepe Polenta paired perfectly with this meaty sauce. This full-flavored pork ragu would also be great served on top of any type of pasta if you didn’t want to make polenta. I made my sauce first, and then move it to a pot to rewarm for serving before I start the polenta.
Deborah Mele 2020
- 1/2 Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 1 Cup Hot Water
- 1 Boneless Pork Shoulder, About 2 1/2 Pounds, Trimmed And Cut Into Large Pieces.
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped White Onion
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Carrot
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine
- 1 (28-ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
- Soak the porcini mushrooms in the water for 3o minutes.
- Strain, reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid and finely chop the mushrooms.
- Preheat the Instant Pot to "Saute" and add the oil.
- Brown the pork in batches until golden brown, then transfer to a plate.
- Add the porcini, onions, carrot, and garlic to the pot, and sauce until the onions and carrot softens, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, oregano, salt, pepper, and chili flakes and cook an additional minute or two.
- Add the porcini liquid, red wine, tomatoes, and chicken broth.
- Return the pork to the pot, close the lid, lock the pot and select "Manual" for 40 minutes.
- When cooking time is up, use quick release, and open pot.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board and shred the meat with two forks.
- Return the meat to the pot, add parsley, and stir to mix.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve sauce over pasta or creamy polenta.