Thanks for playing along.
In celebration of the 300th post, I want to share with you an extra special, mind blowing dish with 3 different functions.
The other day we watched an episode of Lidia's Family Table starring Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. She just about made us cry with the dish she made, so I jumped up and pulled out the matching book and flagged the recipe. It takes some time and a bit of a commitment on the ingredients but you will be sooo happy!!!
Salsa Genovese—Braised Pork Shoulder with Onions
Pork shoulder is delicious braised as well as roasted. Salsa Genovese provides a wonderful sauce as well as a large amount of meat—indeed, this traditional Neapolitan Sunday dish gives you two options, for two different meals.
In a custom of “Sunday Sauces,” the freshly cooked pork and its braising sauce are served separately the first time: the sauce with the meat extracted is tossed with pasta for a first course, and the meat is sliced and served as a main course. (In Italian and Italian-American homes, these might be different courses or on the table at the same time.)
Whatever sauce and meat are left from the first feast are then combined into a meaty sauce to dress pasta another day. A 5-pound pork shoulder cooked, in my recipe, with 5 pounds of chopped onions will give you plenty of meat and sauce to enjoy all these ways. Braise a bigger shoulder for even more leftovers—just be sure to buy plenty of onions: a 7-pound pork roast gets 7 pounds of onions!
Serves 6 or more
For the Pestata
4 oz bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup whole peeled garlic cloves
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 lbs onions, peeled and chopped
5 lb pork shoulder (butt) roast, bone-in
1 TB kosher salt
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
2 TB tomato paste
4 cups (or more) broth (
All the ingredients are ready. And make sure you have everything and it's good enough to use. I thought I had tomato paste and didn't, but I had an option for a substitute. I had bacon, but it was green...in a bad way, at that point I had to go back out to the store and then got tomato paste.
Making the Pestata and Starting the Braise
Using the food processor with the metal blade, mince the bacon and garlic cloves together into a fine pestata (paste).
This is really nasty! But once it starts cooking it's all ok.
Since you have the machine out, use it to chop the carrot, celery and onions if you want (you don’t need to wash the bowl). Process the carrot and celery into small fine bits. Reserve. Chunk up the onions into 1-inch pieces, put them into the food-processor bowl in batches, and pulse them to fine bits. Reserve.
Here are the carrots and celery chopped together, to give you an idea of the texture they need to be. Onions should be the same. (Those pictures didn't turn out, sorry.)
(Of course you can do all that by hand with a knife. It takes longer but is quite satisfying…according to Lidia.)
Rinse and dry the pork. Cut off some of the extra fat, but leave enough to flavor and render out. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt on all surfaces, patting it on. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan/Dutch oven, with a good cover, set over medium heat. Before it gets hot, lay the pork in and brown it—lightly—turning it after a minute or so on each side.
While the meat is browning, add the bacon & garlic pestata into the pan bottom; spread it out and let the bacon begin to render. Drop in the hot pepper flakes.
Early browning of the roast with the garlic/bacon mixture in the pot.
After 3 minutes or so of browning the pork, add the tomato paste into the fat; stir and caramelize minute. Dump the carrot and celery mixture into the pan bottom; stir for a minute, just to get them cooking. (Keep turning the meat so it browns evenly).
Tomato paste and the carrot/celery mixture added in.
Now scrape the onions into the pan, all around the meat. Sprinkle with remaining salt; raise the heat a bit, stirring the onions up from the bottom and mixing them with the oil, pestata and tomato paste. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring for about 5 minutes, until the onions are all hot and starting to sweat. Cover and turn the heat to medium-low.
Braising the pork
The pork is now going to cook for 3 hours. Leave it alone for the first 45 minutes, then uncover and turn the meat, and stir the onions. They should be carmelizing and releasing liquid; if there is any sign of burning, lower the heat. Cover, and cook for another 45 minutes, turn the meat and stir the onions. They should be quite reduced in volume, in a thick, simmering sauce. Stir in 2 cups of hot broth, bring the liquid higher around the pork.
Cook, covered, for another 45 minutes, the stir. If the sauce level has dropped a lot and is beginning to stick, stir in another cup or two of broth. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
Cover and cook another ½ hour to 45 minutes. Check the consistency of the onions—they should be melting into the sauce, and the meat should be soft when pierced with a fork. If satisfactory, remove from the heat; otherwise, cook longer, adding more broth, or, if the sauces seems thing, uncover and cook to reduce it.
Serving Salsa Genovese,
As a primo, first course, for six: remove 2 cups of the onions sauce from the pot and put it in a large skillet. Cook 1 pound of rigatoni, or other pasta, and toss it in the skillet with the simmering sauce. Finish with extra-virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
As a secondo, main meat course, for six of more: remove the pork from the braising pot and cut out the blade bone (just lift eh cooked meat off it and remove the bone). Slice the pork against the grain in 1/3-inch slices, and moisten with the hot onion sauce from the pot.
The main course. As this was actually lunch, we just had it with some bread. If it was a main course for dinner, we would have added some salad and maybe roast potatoes!
As a meaty sauce for pasta: traditionally, the leftover meat and sauce from Sunday dinner were combined and served another day as a dressing for pasta, but you can dedicate any amount of Salsa Genovese to this marvelous mixture. Pull apart meat into pieces about ½ wide and toss with sauce. Heat two cups of sauce in a large skillet; refresh and extend it a bit with of extra virgin olive oil and broth, and bring to a simmer. Serve with rigatoni or ziti. Finish with more olive oil and freshly grated cheese.
And I wanted to show my cute little platter I served the 'main course' on. I bought it at Williams-Sonoma two weeks ago. I have a companion plate with the beouf!