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Spicy Pork Ragu with Mascarpone

Spicy Pork Ragu with Oregano and Mascarpone
Serves 6
The Goulds of Portland, Maine's Central Provisions and Tipo serve this sauce with a housemade rye cavatelli, but regular cavatelli or rigatoni will do. According to Chris Gould, the agrumato lemon oil—created by milling lemons and olives together—adds brightness tempered with a bit of fat. “It’s more of a round flavor than a sharp flavor,” he says. The ragu can be made up to a week ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.
  1. 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  2. 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  4. 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 2 pounds ground pork
  8. 1 yellow onion, minced
  9. 1 small carrot, minced
  10. 1 red bell pepper, minced
  11. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  12. ½ cup dry white wine
  13. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  14. 1 tablespoon agrumato lemon oil (or 1 tablespoon olive oil mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon zest)
  15. 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  16. 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  17. Kosher salt, to taste
  18. 1 pound fresh or dried cavatelli or rigatoni
  19. ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
  20. 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  21. ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth, gather ends, and tie with butcher’s twine to create a sachet. Set aside.
  2. Coat bottom of a large pot with canola oil. Add pork and brown over high heat, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add onion, carrot, and bell pepper to fat remaining in pot and cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Deglaze pot with wine, scraping up any brown bits. Return pork to pot, along with prepared sachet and cover pot. Simmer over low heat for 2 hours, or until sauce is reduced.
  5. Add soy sauce, lemon agrumato oil, fish sauce, and vinegar. Season with salt.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta for 2 minutes less than instructed on package. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
  7. Stir cooked pasta, mascarpone, and ½ cup of pasta cooking water into ragu and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing flavors to meld. (If sauce seems dry, gradually add remaining pasta water to achieve desired consistency.) Garnish with oregano and Pecorino Romano and serve.
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Photography by Erin Little

culture: the word on cheese

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