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Orecchiette with Pork Ragu
Chef Amanda Freitag, formerly of Gusto – New York, NY
Adapted by
December 2007

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 cup pancetta, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 6 cups canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
  • ¼ bunch of sage
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta

Render pancetta in olive oil, then add onion and cook until soft. Add ground pork and cook through, making sure the pork doesn’t clump (use a heavy wire whisk to break up the meat while it is cooking). When pork is thoroughly cooked, add tomato paste and tomatoes.

Make a sachet with cheesecloth that includes the bay leaf and sage. Place the sachet in the ragu pot and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally for approximately one hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring approximately one gallon of water and a pinch of saffron to a boil. Cook the orecchiette in the saffron water, reserving 1 cup of the saffron water for the sauce.

To Assemble and Serve:
Toss the pasta with the pork ragu, adding reserved saffron water as needed to achieve a tight ragu with a little moisture.

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