Here’s another pasta recipe — pork ragu — from the Sara Jenkins school of sofrito. The mirepoix of onion, carrot, celery, garlic and spices is pureed and sauted to concentrate the flavors. It makes for an impressive ragu with a deep, rich taste. Steal this idea for any soups, stews, even beans. You will not be disappointed in the results.
Pork Ragu by Sara Jenkins
1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound ground pork
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound mezzi rigatoni or penne rigate
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano plus more
Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. Season with salt. DO AHEAD: Ragù can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce; stir to coat. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan.