1 Bone in Boston Butt piece from Heritage Foods USA
½ cup canola oil
1 cup white wine
4 sprigs sage
6 cups hot chicken stock
4 Tbs. Butter
2 tsp. Toasted ground fennel seed
1 carrot, ½ rib celery, ½ large onion, all very finely chopped
1½ cups milk
2 cups pureed canned tomato, preferably San Marzano
Trim the shoulder of excess fat leaving a thin layer on the exterior. Cut the pork shoulder into two-inch chunks, removing any large veins or unpleasant looking bits. You will be left with one piece of meat on the bone, which can be left as is. Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Divide ½ cup of canola oil between two 12” sauté pans. Heat until almost smoking. Place the meat in the two sauté pans and brown well on all sides. This should take 7 – 10 minutes. Remove the browned meat to a 8 x 12 inch roasting pan.
Discard the cooking oil and add ½ cup dry white wine and two sprigs of sage to each sauté pan to deglaze. Scrape up all the lovely brown bits from the bottom of the pan and reduce the wine to a glaze. Add to the roasting pan. Add the chicken stock to the meat and cover tightly with foil. Place in a hot oven and braise for 1 ½ hour.
When the meat is fork tender, remove from the roasting pan and place the juice in a small pot. You should have 8 cups of liquid. Start to reduce the juice over a medium heat until you have one cup. Chop the meat coarsely and set aside.
Melt the butter in a 8 quart, straight sided, heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped vegetables, and toasted ground fennel seed and season with salt and pepper. Over medium heat, gently sweat the vegetables until they are very soft, almost melting. They should not brown at all. Add the chopped pork shoulder and mix well. Add the milk and cook 5 minutes to combine well and reduce slightly. Add the tomato and the reduced braising juices and simmer over low heat for ½ hour, stirring frequently, until the flavors marry. Check for seasoning. More salt, pepper or fennel can be added if necessary at this time.
I serve this ragu’ with a variety of different pastas. My favorite is Paccheri, a large round tubular noodle. Top with grated parmigiano and a spoon of creamy goat cheese.