Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spaghetti Con Salsa di Maiale Ubriaco.

Fig.1. A Hearty Pasta

Spaghetti Con Salsa di Maiale Ubriaco.

I haven’t posted on this blog in two months.  Cooking seems to have lost some of its spark for me. I no longer yearn for the smell of garlic or the sound of a sizzling pan.  Maybe it’s this eternal winter, maybe its age, maybe its life, maybe I’m just tired from all the chewing. But it’s not completely gone. I do have moments of culinary bliss that present, often, like a slap in the face: a perfect crispy chicken wing, a hot soft meatball, and, most recently, from a cassoulet I made for some friends.  
The times that I do experience culinary delight are the times I hear The Call of The Wild, and like the Alaskan Huskies in Jack London’s story, I howl and beckon to my laptop and my imagination: at times they come, at times they stay away.  Mostly of late, they stay away, or, in fairness, I keep them away.
This cold weather makes me want to braise stuff in red wine, lots of red wine, enough red wine that I have ample enough to get drunk with while my meat braises.  This recipe literally translates to: Spaghetti with drunken pig sauce. It’s good for two reasons: tastes great and it’s better not to get drunk alone. 

Spaghetti Con Salsa di Maiale Ubriaco
Spaghetti with pork braised in red wine sauce
Serves 4

This recipe works better when you space it out over two days. On the first day you simply braise the pork in wine for a couple of hours, and on the second day you just assemble the sauce and cook the pasta. It’s also an excuse to drink wine two days in a row.

1 to 1 ½ lbs of pork. You can use a large pork loin, or, part of the pork shoulder.
1 bottle of a good full bodied red wine.
1 large onion, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
1 can of whole plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands
3 anchovies
1 large red onion, diced
Chili flakes
Salt and pepper
500 g (1 pack) spaghetti

Day one: Pour your self a glass of wine. Add some olive oil to a heavy bottom, medium pot.  Once your oil becomes hot, add the pork and sear it on both sides. Once your pork has obtained that golden color add the onion and garlic, empty the whole bottle of wine in the pot and bring to a simmer. Let the pork simmer, semi-covered, for about two hours. Once the wine has reduced by about ¾, remove from heat, cover the pot in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Keep drinking wine, I hope you bought two bottles.
Day two: Remove the pork from the pan and remove any fat that has congealed on the surface of the pork or the wine reduction. Chop the pork and the onion and garlic in little pieces and add it back to the pot with the wine. Bring the wine reduction to a gentle simmer and add the crushed tomatoes, bring it back to a simmer.
At this point, bring a pot of salted water to a boil for your pasta. 
Add some olive oil to a large, non-stick pan set over medium high heat. Once the oil gets hot add the anchovies, the red onion and the chili flakes. (It’s a soffritto people, you need to remember and practice your basics: Soffritto-trito-battuto, revise them all. I like to break the anchovies up in the pan with my wooden spoon.) Once the onions are translucent, add the wine and pork mixture, stir well and season with salt and pepper.  Add your spaghetti to the pan with the pork mixture and mix well. Serve immediately with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (You should have more than enough sauce, but, if it appears a little dry, add some of the pasta water.)

Fig.2. Browning in olive oil

Fig.3. Getting the pork drunk.

Fig.4.Chop it all up

Fig.4. Get your soffritto on.

Fig.5. Add the drunken wine to the soffritto.

Fig.6.  Winter food.