Pasta with Green Chile Pork Ragu
It is getting cold in NYC finally and we have been running back and forth across country opening our new location in San Diego so this weekend I was in the mood for a project... and for comfort food! This Pasta with Green Chile Pork Ragu fit the bill!
It is unorthodox....strange and delicious! The perfect mish mash of New Mexican cooking, Mexican and Italian all in one. The spice of the fresh jalapeños and fresh poblanos combined with the smokiness of roasting the tomatillos and the savory goodness of pork shoulder cooked for many hours makes this a perfect ragu.
It is really very easy but I call it a 'project' because it does take a good 2 1/2 hours in the oven to tenderize and become perfect. This recipe can easily be used over pasta the first night then saved and served with rice/beans and tortillas the next night. I prefer a ratio of more pasta than sauce but this one delivers a LOT of meat and sauce so I only used about half of it for 1 lb of pasta.
Here is how to do it:
Approx 3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs pork shoulder or boneless country style pork ribs cut into 1" cubes
1 bunch green onions, cleaned and stems cut off
1/2 of a small yellow onion, peeled
2 large jalapeños, stems removed, halved lengthwise, plus more for serving
1 lb. poblano chiles (about 5 medium), stems removed, halved lengthwise
1 lb. tomatillos (about 10 medium), husks removed, rinsed
1 cup chicken broth
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 lb Pacchieri or Rigatoni Pasta
Crumbled Cotija cheese, sliced jalapeno and cilantro leaves (for serving)
Preheat Oven to broil
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Season the pork, cut into 1" cubes, all over with salt. Working in 2 batches, cook pork until well browned on all sides, 5–8 minutes per batch. Return all of the pork to pot.
Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment and place the green onions, jalapeños, tomatillos, poblanos & yellow onion on the foil. Sprinkle lightly with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a dusting of salt.
Broil the veggies until charred on one side, 5-6 min. Carefully remove the cookie sheet and using a pair of tongs, turn over the veggies. Broil 5-6 min more until charred.
Transfer all the roasted veggies to a blender. Add about 1 cup chicken broth, the garlic, cumin and oregano. Blend until smooth. Add a bit more chicken broth as needed. You want a thick consistency but it should move easily in the blender.
Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and refrigerate until needed.
Pour remaining sauce over the seared pork and cover. Put it in the oven and reduce to 350. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, stirring once half way through.
When the ragu is almost done, boil your pasta until aldente. Drain and return to the pot over a low flame. Add the reserved green sauce and gently stir. Take the pork out of the oven and add as much as you would like to the pasta. Stir gently.
To serve, place pasta in shallow bowls and top with fresh cilantro, fresh jalapeno and cotija cheese. The cotija is a must as it adds a needed layer of salt.
Save any extra pork and sauce in the freezer for another meal with beans, rice and tortillas!