Shareable Pork Ragu with Polenta Board (Low-FODMAP)

This pork ragu with polenta recipe is inspired by a dish my husband and I have had at Cucina Enoteca in Irvine. We LOVE that place – it is easy, stylish, and they serve great dishes and cocktails. The décor is eclectic and memorable. Everything feels so modern, chic, and tasty! I would go there for dinner dates, celebratory work lunches, and even my mom’s birthday.

One of the dishes we loved in particular was the daily ragu polenta board, plated tableside on a wooden board. (I know, I can hear the redditors at r/wewantplates getting their typing fingers ready but I found it quite fun!) On dates, it’s quite romantic diving into it together by candlelight. While they had a variety of meats on rotation, one of our favorites was the pork ragu.

Now that we’re no longer near Cucina Enoteca, I developed this recipe for a romantic dinner date in.

🍳Recommended Equipment

  • Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot
  • Instant Pot or pressure cooker (if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can simmer in the dutch oven/stock pot for 3-4 hours instead)
  • Another smaller pot for polenta
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Ingredients

Adjust Servings
3 pounds Boston butt or pork shoulder
4 carrots
1 cup chicken broth (such as Whole Foods Market Chicken Broth)
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs rosemary or thyme (or a little of both!)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine (Carbernet recommended but any will do!)
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic oil
parmesan or pecorino cheese
parsley (for garnish)
Creamy Polenta
5cups water
1cup milk
1 ½cups polenta (coarse)
4 tablespoons (half a stick) butter
½cups parmesan or pecorino cheese

Directions

1.

Dice carrots and cut cup pork shoulder

Peel your 4 carrots and dice them finely.
Cut your 3 lbs pork shoulder in 1 inch cubes.
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2.

Sear pork cubes in batches

Sear pork in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Your goal is to get a nice browned sear on the edges, so take care not to crowd the dutch oven, and to give each side enough time without moving it. The pork will not be cooked through, and don't worry if not every edge get crisped. Put finished pieces in your pressure cooker.
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3.

Add chicken broth, herbs, and start pressure cook

Add 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 bay leaf, and 3-4 springs of rosemary and thyme.
Set your pressure cooker to High Pressure Cook for 30 minutes. (Don't wash your dutch oven yet! You'll want to save the fond - the little brown bits of seared pork.)
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4.

Sauté diced carrots

Approximately 15 minutes after your pressure cooker is done cooking and begins release, start preparing the sauce.
In your dutch oven (with your fond!), sauté your diced carrots over medium heat.
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5.

Add tomato paste

After carrots have softened a bit, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for less than one minute.
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6.

Deglaze with wine

Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of red wine and scrape up the fond at the bottom. Raise the heat to medium-high.
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7.

Add 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

Keep simmering at medium heat.
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8.

Remove pork and shred it

After release is done, remove your meat and shred into your dutch oven on medium heat.
Ladle 1 cup of your porky broth, without the fat, from your pressure cooker to your dutch oven.
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9.

Simmer ragu on low heat while you make polenta

At this stage, give it a taste. Does it need anything else? Season with salt and pepper as needed.
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10.

Start polenta by boiling milk and water

In a separate pot, bring 5 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of milk to a boil.
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11.

Once boiled, lower to medium-low heat, and gradually pour in 1 ½ cups of polenta. Give it a good stir with a whisk!

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12.

Cook polenta for 20-25 minutes

Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes or so. It will begin to get quite thick.
As you near the end, put in a half stick of butter and ½ cup parmesan cheese.
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13.

Finish and garnish ragu

Before serving, add 1 teaspoon of garlic oil and mix it in.
Plate onto a wooden cutting board for extra fun - first putting down the polenta and covering with your rich ragu. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley.
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