Quite honestly this might be the easiest, and most perfectly light meaty pasta sauce I have ever made. The beauty of this recipe is that you can either cook it on the stove top or in a slow cooker. I prefer to use my $20 slow cooker for this recipe, because I can prepare the recipe in the morning with minimal fuss, set the slow cooker temperature to low and leave it to cook for 6-8 hours. Couldn’t be easier.
This recipe was originally published in the New York Times, but I’ve made a couple of changes which, in my opinion, give a better result.
If you can find them at your grocery store, I highly recommend using the brand of crushed tomatoes shown at right. They cost a little more, but the quality and taste is far superior to other brands, in my humble opinion. (Note: this is not a paid product placement!)
Serve this sauce with a thick spaghetti or fusilli. Absolutely delicious!
SPAGHETTI WITH PORK LOIN SAUCE (ADAPTED)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 inch-thick slice of pancetta (about 4 ounces), finely diced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 fresh or 1 dry bay leaf, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary)
1 pound (1 to 2) bone-in pork loin rib chops
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
16 ounces thick spaghetti
Grated pecorino Romano cheese, for serving.
1. Place a large heavy casserole or frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and pancetta, and sauté until pancetta begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Increase heat to medium-high. Push onion mixture aside and add pork chop(s). Brown lightly on all sides, also stirring the onions to prevent burning. Add wine and use a wooden spatula to mix everything together, scraping the pan. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spatula. Season with salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until meat is almost falling off the bone, about 1 1/2 hours.
Alternatively, after preparing recipe on stove top, place all cooked ingredients in slow cooker. Set slow cooker temperature to low and slow cook for 6-8 hours.
3. Remove pork, cool slightly, finely shred the meat, return it to the casserole and discard the bone. Over medium-high heat reduce sauce slightly, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and keep warm.
4. While the sauce is reducing, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook just until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well. Return spaghetti to the pot and add the sauce. Stir well. Serve with grated pecorino passed separately.
Yield: About 4 cups (4 to 6 servings).