Pappardelle with Pork Ragù

7 Nov

It’s been a while since I pulled out my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook.  I have to say I have never been disappointed with any of the recipes I have tried from it.  Last night my husband decided he wanted to cook the Pappardelle with Pork Ragù.  It was the first time we have tried the recipe and it was delicious.  We invited my brother-in-laws over because it made more than enough for my husband, daughters, and I.  Both my girls devoured it and even wanted more.  My brother-in-laws and I loved it as well.  This recipe is definitely worth trying, especially on a chilly weekend when you are home all afternoon because it takes a while and is a hearty dish.

Some tips:

  • My older daughter helped by holding the cookbook for my husband and putting the chopped vegetables in the pot.
  • We used box pasta instead of making our own because we didn’t have time or the tools.  Making the homemade pasta could be a great activity with your child if you have the time, space, and tools needed.
  • Allow 3 1/2-4 hours for prep and cooking.
  • I drained some of the sauce on the girl’s plates since they don’t like a lot of tomato sauce and usually only like butter on their pasta.
  • Let your child sprinkle the amount of cheese they would like on their pasta, my girls like a lot.


  • 1 1/2 lb. meaty pork spareribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 1/2 lb. fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh egg pasta dough (recipe for dough)  (we used boxed pappardelle)
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving


Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In a nonreactive Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ribs and cook, turning as needed, until nicely browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs to a plate. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and deglaze the pot, scraping up the browned bits from the pot bottom. Cook for 1 minute to cook off some of the alcohol. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the ribs to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the ribs are very tender and the meat comes away easily from the bone, about 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile (if not using boxed noodles), divide the pasta dough and roll out each piece into a sheet 1/16 inch thick. Lightly flour a rimmed baking sheet. Lay 1 pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface and, using a chef’s knife or pastry wheel, cut it into strips 4 inches long by 1 inch wide. Lay the strips flat on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them so they don’t touch and separating each layer with a lightly floured kitchen towel. Let the pasta dry for 10 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ribs from the sauce and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Return the meat to the pan and cook, uncovered, over low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil over high heat and add about 2 Tbs. salt. Add the pappardelle, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce, tossing (follow directions on the back of the box, if not using homemade noodle recipe)

gently to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup cheese and toss again. Serve immediately and pass additional cheese at the table. Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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