In the spirit of true Italian cooking this pasta sauce is made up of a few simple ingredients and some low and slow cooking to create something much greater than the sum of its parts. This recipe serves two people comfortably but we would recommend making a big batch of this and even keeping some stored away in your freezer. You never know when you'll be in desperate need of an incredibly comforting plate of pasta.
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 3-4 hours
INGREDIENTS 250g tagliatelle 300g pork Collar, whole 400g can of tomato product 1 large carrot 1 large onion 2 Bay leaves 3 cloves of garlic 30 g Parmigiano Reggiano
1. Begin by preparing your ingredients. Peel and chop the carrot and onion into a small dice. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Pat the pork dry with paper towel.
2. Place a pot over high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pan is very hot, season the pork very well with salt on both sides and place into the pot, laying it away from you. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the bottom is well browned.
3. Turn the pork over and repeat on the other side. Once both sides are browned, using a pair of tongs, colour the edges of the pork well. Remove the pork from the pan.
Reduce the heat in the pot to low and add the diced onion and carrot along with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat in oil and using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
These bits at the bottom of the pan are referred to as “fond”. These are what are going to be responsible for a lot of the flavour inside of our pasta sauce.
4. Allow the vegetables to cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until nicely caramelized and softened. By doing this we are bringing out a lot of flavour from the vegetables into our sauce.
Once cooked, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the can of tomato product to the pot. Take the empty can and fill it with water. Add this water to your pot. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the pork back to the pot.
To cook the sauce there are two options, in the oven or on the stove. The oven has the advantage of being a gentler heat source that will cook your sauce evenly, the product will be easier to make more tender but will take longer. Alternatively, you can just as easily do this on the stovetop, but it will require a little bit more care and attention for equally delicious results. If you prefer using the oven, preheat your oven to 140C.
5. Bring the contents of the pot up to the boil on the stove and once at a boil, for the stovetop method, reduce the heat to the lowest setting on the stove and allow it to simmer for 2-3 hours, checking to make sure that nothing is catching on the bottom of the pan or your liquid is reducing too quickly.
6. Alternatively, for the oven method, once the sauce is boiling, place a lid on the pot but leave a small amount of space uncovered so that liquid can evaporate slowly and place the pot into the centre of your oven set to 140C for 3-4 hours or until the meat is tender enough that you can pull it apart easily with a fork. Check halfway through cooking to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot.
7. Once the pork is cooked, pull it apart into small chunks using two forks and incorporate it into the sauce. If the sauce is a little bit too lose and watery, place over medium heat and cook until the sauce has thickened.
8. For the pasta, place a pot of water over high heat and bring up to the boil. Add a few tablespoons of salt and dissolve in the boiling water until it tastes almost as salty as the sea. Add the tagliatelle and using tongs, stir and keep them moving until they have softened enough to all be submerged in the water. Keep them moving for the first 30 seconds of cooking using a pair of tongs or a spoon and then allow them to cook for 5 minutes or until they are almost cooked.
Once al dente, strain the pasta into a colander or strainer set over a bowl to collect the pasta water.
9. Place the pasta into the pot with the sauce and stir to combine. Add roughly 50ml of pasta water and place the pot over medium heat to finish cooking. Add more pasta water as needed to cook the pasta. Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce is a nice consistency, add half of your cheese, grated into the pot and stir to combine. Optionally at this stage also add a tablespoon or two of butter and stir to combine. Serve immediately topped with the remainder of the grated Parmesan.