Sense of Home
Orecchiette (oh-reck-ee-ET-tay) means little ears in Italian and according to The Cook's Thesaurus "these 'little ears' are pieces of Italian pasta shaped like tiny ears or bowls". They say fusilli, orzo, acini di pepe, tubettini, conchiglette, or coralli can be substituted for the orecchiette. However, during my research I came across a few recipes that called for "orecchiette or shell pasta" so I chose to go with the shells when I couldn't locate the first. I think fusilli would have been a good choice as well.
There are many different pastas, but every pasta has its own texture and the shapes hold sauces and other ingredients differently. It is totally up to the cook which pasta type to use, whether you want a thick or thin pasta in each bite, or whether you want the pasta to cup some of the sauce. If you have a thinner sauce you may chose a spaghetti, where as a thicker sauce works well with a penne or shell since it will hold some of the sauce, and farfalle (bow ties) works well with a cream sauce because it is thick enough to cling to the pasta.
Cook pasta al dente, firm but not hard, it literally means "to the tooth", referring to the need for it to be chewed. Adding oil to the pasta water does nothing for it, it will neither prevent it from sticking or prevent the pasta from absorbing the sauce later. It makes no difference. The best way to prevent pasta from sticking is to use plenty of boiling water and stir as you put it in and occasionally afterward.
Sugo translates to sauce, juice, gravy according to an Italian-English dictionary. No matter which word you chose to use, this is a very good sugo. I wasn't sure I would think so because I usually don't use tomato paste as a base for sauce, but this thick sauce is full of delicious flavor. Pulled pork is best made from a pork butt roast, and remember (which I keep forgetting), that pork butt is actually the pork shoulder, not the other. Gourmet magazine, where I took this recipe from, states that "incorporating tender slow-roasted pork into a sugo (sauce) brings out its fullest potential". They convinced me to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did.
Orecchiette with Pulled-Pork Sugo
~adapted from Gourmet~
Serves 8 to 10
2 pounds boneless pork butt roast
1 pound dried orecchiette
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 15 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano plus additional for serving
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. with rack in middle.
Pat pork dry and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Roast in a small flameproof roasting pan tightly covered with foil, covered, 2 hours. Uncover and continue roasting until some of the meat begins to pull apart easily, 1 to 2 hours more Transfer pork to a cutting board and cool slightly. Pull pork into small pieces and coarsely chop.
Cook orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts of water) 8 minutes (pasta will not be fully cooked). Reserving 2 cups pasta-cooking liquid, drain pasta in a colander.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from roasting pan and place pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in wine, stock, beans, vinegar, and pork. Transfer to pasta pot and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer, then add orecchiette and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and thin sauce with additional cooking liquid if necessary. Serve with additional cheese.
Sense of Home / Recipes / Main Dishes
This post is linked to:
Hearth and Soul
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday
This Weeks Cravings
Full Plate Thursday