Comforting, aromatic slow-cooked pork shoulder makes for a rich, meaty pasta sauce. Here, it's seasoned with fennel seeds and thyme, garnished with Parmesan and a grating of lemon zest.
If you can't find pork shoulder, pork stew meat will work—just brown it before putting it in the slow cooker, in order to optimize its flavor.
You may also cook this in a 275-degree oven for 6 or 7 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender. Use a large Dutch oven and cover it for the duration, adding a bit of additional liquid as needed.
Note: The sauce may be made ahead and frozen or stored in the refrigerator up to two days in advance.
- Yield:Serves 6
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:10 hours
- 2 1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder
- 8 ounces finely diced pancetta
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup dry red wine, such as Chianti
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound tube-shaped pasta, cooked
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons zest from 1 lemon
Place pork shoulder, pancetta, onion, garlic, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, crushed fennel, thyme and red pepper flakes in a slow cooker. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Remove pork from slow cooker and transfer to a platter or cutting board. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves from sauce. When pork cool enough to handle, shred meat and discard fat and bones. Return meat to sauce, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Allow to warm through.
When ready to serve, toss sauce with cooked pasta and garnish with Parmesan and lemon zest.