December 5, 2009

Smoky Pork and Pappardelle

Having been raised Hindu, I generally have a karma problem after eating a burger or steak. I don't do it often (maybe two or three times a year, plus the occasional lasagna with meat sauce at a friend's house), and I rarely prepare it at home. For some reason, the feeling generally carried over to pork with me, even though there's nothing in the Upanishads or Baghvad Gita about pigs (as far as I know anyway). But then the bacon/pulled pork phenomenon took over American cuisine, and I can't stop looking for interesting ways to braise, roast, grill--you name it--a pork tenderloin or shoulder. My good friend Chris gave me this recipe for Smoky Pork and Pappardelle months ago, and it took me until this week to try it. Yowza! Talk about a keeper AND A HALF! This is going down in our all-time faves Messy Box o' Many Recipes (because I can't be bothered to get a binder and three-hole-punch all the print-outs and magazine tear-outs), and we'll be breaking it out multiple times this season.

A few disclaimers... I was lazy and couldn't be bothered to get in my car for groceries, so I subbed a few things, courtesy of my pantry and the Mexican grocery on the corner: conchiglie (conch-shape pasta from World Market that I already had, instead of pappardelle, a long, flat sheet pasta that's not as wide as lasagna but not as narrow as linguine); ricotta for the mascarpone; and bone-in pork tenderloin chunks that required deboning later, during the shredding process. I deboned the pork and shredded it, added another cup of chicken broth, and cooked the conchiglie in the stew on the stove, just before adding the ricotta and serving. Perfect one-pot action!

It was a simply spectacular meal, and we will be making this over and over at our house. Serve it with a good Pinot Noir, a spinach salad, and some kind of fruit pie or cobbler for dessert. Winter's here!

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