Here is a super delicious, quick to put together pork ragout that will make everyone at the table happy! This has a bit of a Neopolitan flair with all the different and rich flavors that I have incorporated. It is very "caccitore" tasting, but oh so delicious! The slow cooker makes easy work of this rich and decadent tasting sauce and you are going to love it!
In the summer, making pasta sauce can be a daunting and hot prospect, but the slow cooker comes to the rescue and I love to employ it during those dog days when the heat tends to get the better of me. See, I am NOT a summer lover. In fact, I would love it, if winter could be all year. But, alas, Mother Nature has other ideas and I must deal.
A typical "ragout" is a thick sauce that includes meat, veggies and lots of seasonings. It can be served alone or with pasta, rice, potatoes or noodles. If you are inclined, this would be great with some homemade egg noodles or spaetzel. Instead of using a jarred pasta sauce as a base, I built one for myself using a couple 28 ounce cans of good quality crushed tomatoes along with one standard small can of tomato paste. I added 1, 10 ounce jar of roasted red pepper strips, and an equal sized jar of pitted and halved, Calamatta olives. Then I added some green bell pepper, sweet onion, celery, shredded carrots and lots and lots of garlic. For meatiness I added four Portobello mushroom caps that I diced and then for the real meat of this dish, one package of beautiful pork tenderloin that I cubed like stew beef.
all the ingredients got tossed into the slow cooker and then I seasoned that bad boy up with some dry spices like roasted garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, thyme salt and pepper. I did not add a ton of salt because the briny olives will add saltiness as well as the final ingredient the Parmesan rind. This will slow cook and add a deep and delicious flavor that will be mellow but salty to this sauce. In the end, it did not require further seasoning once it had cooked all day. It was perfectly delicious.
If you are not familiar with using a Parmesan rind in your sauce or soup, then this is going to be a real treat. If you shop at a store where they offer better cheeses and freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano, they will always have cheese rind off of those giant wheels. They will want to recoup their cost because those wheels are no laughing matter to the wallet so when you see them, they will usually sell them in a tub filled to the brim. They are not expensive. Like I sometimes can get a quart container of Parmesan rinds for less than three dollars. Take them home vacuum seal or store in a freezer bag and stick them in your freezer for the next time you make a pasta sauce or tomato based soup or even a chicken soup. You will love what it does for the flavor. When the dish is ready to eat, simply fish out the rind and discard. It has given you all it has to offer and you won't want to eat that.
My pork ragout cooked on high in my slow cooker for six hours. The meat was fork tender and fall apart, delicious. Everything married amazingly well and the four of us enjoyed this sauce over chunky rigatoni pasta that evening for supper, I also filled a two quart container for the freezer and that is in the slow cooker again, as of this writing a few weeks later getting ready for an easy, freezer banked dinner for a busy night of meetings. I also had another quart which fed Rick and I for lunch a few days after I initially made this meal.
I hope you give this slow cooked, garden style pork ragout a try and I hope you love it!
You can find the recipe on my website:
You can see how I made this in my YouTube Video
Slow Cooked Garden Style
2-3 pound pork tenderloin, cubed
3-4 Portobello mushroom caps, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1, 10 ounce jar Calamatta olives, drained
1, 10 ounce jar, red pepper strips, drained
2, 28 ounce cans, crushed tomatoes
1, 6 ounce can tomato paste
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon roasted garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 –4 bay leaves, fresh or dry
1 Parmesan rind, optional
Step by Step Instructions
Add both cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the crock and stir well to combine.
Add all remaining ingredients and stir well.
If using the Parmesan rind, tuck it into the center of the crock and sink it in.
Cover and set on high for 6 to 8 hours on low for 8 to 10 hours.
When meat is fork tender the sauce is done.
Remove the Parmesan rind and discard.
Taste for seasonings and serve.
This Ragout is delicious served over pasta, rice, mashed or boiled potatoes or egg noodles. This would even be nice served over hot cooked grains such as wheat berries, qunioa or barley.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. In the freezer this can be kept for up to three months. I like to cook from frozen by tossing the block of frozen sauce right into the slow cooker and setting in on high until it is warmed through. Then keep warm till ready to serve. This is a great option for freezer banking when you are getting ready for a busy night!