Pork Ragu Recipe
A rich, tomato ragu with a distinctive fennel flavour that will transport you to Italy in a mouthful. I love flexible recipes and this one is just that, if you are home and can enjoy a long linger pot simmering on the hob and stirred every now and again, then this is the dish for you. If you need a speedy ragu made as soon as the meat has cooked and the tomato has reduced a little, then this too is your dish.
This can be made with a few easy to reach for herbs that add background interest, with the front row seat of flavour being saved for the fennel seeds. Subtle yet distinctive, adding a freshness and a little Italian panache to your midweek pasta. If you are not a fennel fan, (my children are not and loved this dish) I would make my No-Bake Lasagne recipe it gives you everything you love in a mouthful of lasagne if you don’t have the time to invest in making a traditional tray.
The recipe uses cream, you can use milk if you prefer it works well with both. The cream/milk boils away and the ragu presents as a tomato-based sauce, rather than a creamy sauce. Milk added to ragu is a very Italian way to cook, the cream softens the meat and adds a wonderful flavour, depth and adds to the texture of the dish. It is added towards the end of the cooking, the last half an hour, I add mine at the beginning for ease.
‘This tastes like Padella’s pasta mom’ said my daughter, this is high raise we love Padella, a pasta restaurant at the entrance of London’s Borough Market, always buzzing, great service and hits the best place to eat Italian in London list often.
If you are looking for other dishes to use a packet of mince in, read my article What to do with a packet of mince. There are some unusual and easy recipes to try.
Vegan and Vegetarians this recipe can be made with vegan and vegetarian mince alternatives, check the cooking time on your chosen alternatives packaging. Leave out the fish sauce.
- 1 packet 500g pork mince
- 1 level teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 red onions, chopped finely
- 3 small garlic cloves, chopped finely
- ½ teaspoon dried chillies or to taste
- 1 bay leaves
- 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
- 150ml white wine
- 1 tablespoon heaped tomato purée
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 4 small fresh sage leaves finely chopped
- 4 sprigs thyme leaves removed and chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary stalk leaves chopped (10cm long)
- 150ml double cream or milk
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes plus about 50ml water to swill the tin out
- To a large pot add the oil and soften the onions until they are translucent. Then stir the pork and cook until the pork changes colour and keep stirring to break the meat up into small pieces.
- Add all the herbs and the fish sauce stir well and then mix in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the wine and stir well, simmer until the wine reduces for about 5 minutes. Mix in the cream or milk and crumble in the stock cube, allow the cream/milk to heat through, all the while stirring as it heats.
- Add the chopped tomatoes swill a little water in the tin and and then simmer for 30-60 minutes.
- Serve with your favourite pasta and your favourite grated cheese.
Omit the fish sauce, use oat milk or your favourite milk that won't split at high prolonged temperatures, a vegetable stock cube and vegan friendly wine.
Fish sauce is the equivalent of using anchovy fillets, it adds a depth of favour that is indistinguishable.
The timing differs based on the time you have. It is more delicious the longer it simmers and the reduces to a thick meat sauce. But after 30 minutes it’s still a tasty meal.
I have used red and white in the recipe and both work well.
Wine can also be omitted.
You can use dried herbs too, use one scant teaspoon of dried sage and thyme and ½ teaspoon of dried rosemary.
I tried the recipe with a 12 pack of Richmond Thick sausages, squeezing the meat out of casing and the dish tasted wonderful. A top tip for student cooking.
Serve with your favourite pasta tagliatlle or whatever you have to hand.
Serve with your favourite grated cheese, we grated Parmesan over our dish.
Use the mixture in a tray of lasagna for a delicious meal.
This recipe freezes well.
Portion and defrost throughly before reheating.
Enjoy this delicious pork ragu recipe, we are putting this recipe on repeat, I hope you will too.