Regular readers of IPB Living will know that, while I claim to like to cook, I have a pretty narrow scope, and tend to fall into ruts. This is probably a result of my doing all my grocery shopping on Mondays after work, and often doing my weekly menu planning on the fly while I’m in the store. I am not at my cognitive best after a Monday at work. And so we end up eating lots of Schnookie Tacos and chili. You can imagine, then, how excited I was to discover a new recipe in the month’s Food & Wine at just the right time of the week that I was able to plan ahead to make it on Saturday night (our traditional pasta night). I’m so put-together! Heh.
The recipe in question is Baked Orecchiette With Pork Sugo, something totally unlike anything I’ve ever made before.
It was a time-consuming venture, as is anything that involves slow-cooking pork shoulder, but other than thinking to get everything started a few hours ahead of dinnertime, it was a nice, leisurely cooking adventure. There was only moderate chopping involved, to which I added a bit by peeling and chopping some fresh tomatoes rather than using canned, and other than that, it was just a question of gradually adding each new layer of flavor. First the pork, then the onions, garlic, celery and carrots, then the tomatoes, the wine and thyme, the chicken stock, and then simmering it all until it’s falling-apart tender. Then came the odd (to me) step of pulsing the cooked pork in a food processor until it’s all pulled apart — I was terrified I was going to end up making a smooth pork puree rather than a chunky pulled-pork sort of texture. But a light touch on the “pulse” button was all I needed (along with a fortifying swig of wine), and I ended up with a sauce that was just insane. I could have stopped right then and just eaten that as a soup. But adding pasta? And cheese? And baking it? That’s like taking “delicious” and ratcheting it up by a factor of a thousand.
This tasted like something you’d get at a nice restaurant, not like something I cooked at home on a lazy Saturday spent playing MarioKart Wii. It was one of those dinners where we all just eat in total silence, focusing hard on savoring every phenomenal bite. My plan for this recipe is to make it a bunch more times in rapid succession, so I memorize how to make it. And then I can include it in my routine of the mundane and everyday. Because every day should be this scrumptious.
(Post by Schnookie)