A delicious supper any night of the week!
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for serving)
5 pounds pork necks (meat on, patted dry or cubed pork shoulder if the neck bones don’t have enough meat)
2 onions (peeled, small dice)
4 cloves garlic (peeled, minced)
1 cup red wine
2 cans San Marzano crushed tomatoes (28-ounces)
2 cups water
1 small bundle fresh oregano sprigs (tied with butcher’s twine)
2 large fresh bay leaves
1/2 parmesan (freshly grated, to serve)
1 cup whole milk ricotta, (to serve)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
16 ounces whole milk ricotta
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 cups flour, (plus extra for kneading)
semolina (for dusting)
For the Pork Ragu: Preheat a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Season both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Working in small batches, transfer pork to Dutch oven and sear on all sides until a deep golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. When all the necks have been browned, drain the fat from the pan, leaving 2 tablespoons of fat in the Dutch oven. Return to heat and add onion and garlic. Season generously with salt and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, water, oregano, and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Place the pork back into the Dutch oven, partially cover, and cook for 3-3 1/2 hours, until the meat is completely tender.
Remove the pork from the sauce, transfer to a bowl, and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones and discard bones. Transfer meat into the sauce and and remove the oregano bundle and bay leaves.
For the Cavatelli: In a large bowl, add flour and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, eggs, and salt. Stir ricotta mixture into the flour. Transfer mixture to a floured work surface and using hands, gently bring ingredients together to form a dough. Knead the dough together, adding additional flour until the dough is firm and not sticky. Tightly wrap dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into 6 pieces, and roll the dough into ropes, about 1/4-inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into 1/2-inch pieces. Using your thumb or the dull side of a butter knife, press on each piece of dough and pull across the length of it. Continue until all pasta dough is used. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with semolina.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cavatelli to pot and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to float. Transfer cooked cavatelli to the pork sauce, along with 3/4 cup of pasta water. Stir until pasta is thoroughly combined within the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and olive oil.
Serve with additional olive oil, cracked black pepper, and a spoonful of ricotta over the top.
Tip: Make the Pork Ragu ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.