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Pork Cheek Ragù

After having the fantasic pappardelle at Crooklyn Improv, I found myself craving the broad ribbons of home made pasta. As I was contemplating the merits of different sauces that I could pair with my pappardelle, I came across We Are Never Full’s luscious Sausage Ragu. It had to be a sign. While many in the
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine Italian
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Pork
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Low-Carb
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 2 pounds pork cheeks
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 rib celery chopped
  • ½ cup white wine (such as Grenache blanc)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup whole stewed tomatoes chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 shiitake mushroom powder


  • Trim any excess fat off the pork, but don't trim it all off. Generously salt and pepper both sides. Heat a small dutch oven until hot. Add the pork, fat side down and fry undisturbed until browned. Flip, then brown the other side. You may have to do this in 2 batches. The brown fond on the bottom of the pan is where the sauce gets most of its flavour so make sure you build up a nice thick layer without burning it.
  • Turn down the heat and transfer the pork to a plate and add the onions, celery and garlic to the pan. Use the vegetables to scrape the brown fond off the bottom of the pan and fry until soft and fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the wine turning up the heat and boiling until the mixture is a thick consistency. This incorporates all that good flavour into the sauce while reducing the amount of liquid so your sauce doesn't end up watery.
  • Add the tomatoes, thyme, marjoram and bay leaf stirring to combine. Use a microplane or other zester to grate 1 tablespoon of dried shiitake mushroom into the ragxf9. Return the pork with the collected juices back into the pot. Submerge the meat in the sauce, turn the heat down to low and partially cover with a lid. Simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat comes apart easily with a fork.
  • Skim off any excess fat with a spoon then remove the pork from the sauce and roughly chop or pull apart the meat then return it to the sauce. If you are serving it with pasta, put the cooked pasta in a bowl with some sauce and toss to combine along with some minced parsley for color. Serve topped with a little extra sauce and some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.