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Pappardelle al Ragù
Recipe adapted from Tim Maslow, Ribelle, Brookline, MA
Yield: 4 servings, plus leftover sauce
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours
2 (2-pound) smoked pork hocks
1 pound raw meat bones (pork, veal or beef)
Vegetable scraps (from ragù prep below)
2 large stalks celery
2 large red onions
1 medium carrot
About ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork (not lean)
½ pound ground mortadella (sweet Italian sausage can also be used)
3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and, finely chopped
1 cup drained and crushed whole canned San Marzano tomatoes
2½ cups dry white wine
8 cups smoke stock (see recipe above)
Bouquet garni (a sprig each of thyme, bay leaf and rosemary enclosed in a square of cheesecloth)
Small piece of Parmesan rind
4 cups whole milk
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
2 lemons, quartered and seeded
1 pound fresh pappardelle (store-bought or homemade; see Maslow's recipe)
1 bunch green kale, stemmed and torn into small pieces
1. Make the smoked stock: Put the pork hocks and raw bones into a large pot and add just enough cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then lower the heat so the liquid continues to simmer very gently. Agitate the bones, moving them from bottom to top, so that scum trapped underneath has chance to rise. Cook for 1½ hours, skimming the scum from the surface every 10 minutes or so. Add the vegetable scraps from the ragù vegetable prep (see below) and simmer for 30 minutes more. Strain, discarding the bones and vegetable scraps.
2. Prepare the ragù: By hand or in a food processor, very finely chop the celery, onions and carrot. Save the ends and scraps for the stock (above). Set a large skillet over high heat. Add ¼ cup of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the ground veal, pork and mortadella to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, set a large, wide braising pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add ½ cup of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped celery, carrot, red onion, garlic and chile and cook, stirring often, until very tender but not brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes more.
4. Drain most of the fat from the meat and add it to the vegetables. Place over high heat and add the wine. Gently boil until the wine has nearly evaporated, then add just enough of the smoke stock to barely cover the meat mixture. Add the Parmesan rind and bouquet garni and simmer until the stock has reduced and the mixture is almost dry. Add just enough of the milk to barely cover the meat and simmer until nearly reduced. Continue this process, alternating stock and milk, until you use all of the stock and milk or until the sauce is tender and delicious, about 4 to 6 hours. Remove Parmesan rind and bouquet garni and discard.
5. Taste and add grated Parmesan cheese, lots of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt as needed. Leave 4 cups of ragù in the pot and set over medium-low heat, adding a little water to loosen the sauce as needed; reserve the remaining to eat another day or freeze.
6. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, adding a little pasta water to loosen it as needed. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
7. Cook the kale: Right after the pasta hits the water, heat your largest skillet as hot as possible. When smoking hot, add the kale, followed by a splash of olive oil. Cook the kale on one side without stirring until lightly charred, about 2 minutes, then squeeze lemon over the kale and season with salt. Turn the kale over and cook 1 minute longer.
8. Divide the pasta among four plates and serve topped with the charred kale and additional grated Parmesan.