Dinner:  November 7, 2007

The next couple of weeks are going to be all about frugality at Chez Dietschyblossom. We have a short trip ahead, and we want to save up so we can splurge a bit while we’re away. As others have pointed out, one great method of doing this is to prepare one big piece of protein and give it new life in a variety of ways, so that’s just what I’ve planned to do for many of our meals this week.

The protein we started with for this round of dinners was a beautiful bone-in pork shoulder from Flying Pigs Farm. I braised it for several hours on Sunday, and served some of the meat with a pan reduction that night for the first meal of the cycle. The pork shoulder was just shy of 4 lbs. at the start, so we had quite a bit of meat left over to use in other ways.

pork ragu

For our meal last night, I decided to make a pork ragu to serve with strozzapreti pasta. I started with a couple of diced shallots, seasoned with salt and sautéed in olive oil, and then I added about 2 cups of diced pork to the pan. I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and allowed it to caramelize a bit before stirring it through. I had softened about a 1/4 cup of dried porcinis in hot water, so the coarsely chopped, softened mushrooms went into the pan next along with the strained porcini liquid and some dried marjoram. I added a splash of red wine and a cup of my homemade basic tomato sauce, and then let it all simmer, uncovered, while the pasta water boiled.

When the ragu was reduced to the consistency I wanted (the meat soft and shredding apart, the sauce juicy but not soupy), I spooned about half of it into a separate bowl – I ended up with a lot more ragu than I had expected, so I decided rather than make a huge amount of dressed pasta, I’d freeze half of the par-cooked pasta and half of the sauce separately, and combine them later for another meal. I finished cooking the remaining half pound of my strozzapreti in the ragu with a splash or two of the pasta water as I usually do, added some finely grated Parmagiano Reggiano cheese off the heat, and spooned it into our bowls.

We ended up with four good-sized servings of pasta (one of which Mike is having for lunch today), and if you didn’t know any better, you’d have no idea this was a meal based on leftovers.

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