My husband and I have a silly game of ‘favorite pasta dish of the moment’. At the moment, THIS IS IT! Fresh fettuccine pasta, with a brilliantly rich and soul warming pork ragu. If you ever need a dish to give you a big warm hug, this one will be the one you call. Pasta is a meal I could eat for dinner most nights if I could choose. Obviously, this isn’t an all the time dish but it is most certainly a good time dish! Your soul will be fill to the brim with content, as will your belly and most often you will feel like a good nap after it. But truly, to me, that sounds perfect!
Using pork belly in this dish makes it beautifully rich as the fat really lifts the depth of flavour. What I love in particular is the contrast of textures in the pork. You get the soft, melt in your mouth pieces that have been cooking in the sauce, versus the cruchy of the other pieces that have been roasted that little bit longer. Not to mention the rendered, crackle of the fat. 🙂 The roasted tomatoes are also another necessary addition that makes this pasta dish unique to a basic marinara sauce. Feel free to go a bit crazy with the oregano as it tastes amazing once roasted. I often eat a few crunchy, salted leaves before blitzing them. I was asked to include a few progress photos of my dishes as Im cooking which I am happy to do as, like me, many people are visual learners. I hope these photos clarify the little steps more clearly.
Whilst the basic process of making this dish with the red sauce is quite straight forward, the addition of the added flavours that makes it to unique, come from inspiration from a very talented lady. Katie Quinn Davies is the super woman behind ‘What Katie Ate‘. Unbelievably skilled and knows how to make a good pasta dish, thats for sure!
I hope you enjoy our ‘favorite pasta of the moment’ dish! Share it with loved ones who are keen for a treat and accompany with a good glass of vino. Let me know what you think!
- 800 - 900g Pork belly
- 3 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 heaped tsp of sea salt flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons light olive oil
- 10 large cherry tomatoes or mixed tomatoes - sliced in half
- A small bunch of oregano
- 1 large brown onion - finely diced
- 4 plump garlic cloves - chopped finely
- 1 cup of good quality red wine
- 1 red chilli finely chopped - (optional)
- A large handful of basil leaves - washed
- 800g passata
- 1 tsp sugar
- 500g fresh pasta of choice (found in refrigerated section of supermarkets or deli's)
- Baby basil leaves to garnish
- Lots of grated parmesan cheese to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to 240˚C.
- Cut the pork belly into rough 2cm cubes. Add them to a baking tray and toss them with the fennel seeds, salt, freshly ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place the tray in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C. Cook until they brown and start to look crunchy but not completely as you will need to return them to the oven later on to heat and completly crisp up.
- While the pork is cooking, place the tomatoes onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Season with salt, pepper and some gernerous sprigs of oregano. Place the tray in the oven with the pork until the skins blister and they start to slightly brown on top. Once the are done, place them in a blender and blitz them until reasonably smooth. Set aside once this is done.
- In a large frying pan add 3 tbsp of olive oil and the diced onions. Cook on a medium heat, stiring often until softened and transluscent. Add little splashes on water to the onions if they look to be burning.
- When the onions are soft, add the finely diced garlic and fry them together for a minute.
- Add the chopped chilli and red wine, followed by the passata, roasted tomato puree and basil leaves.
- Add half of the pork belly cubes to the sauce and simmer over LOW heat, semi covered for 30 minutes. You can add a small amount of water if you prefer your sauce slightly looser.
- Put a large pot of water onto the boil and salt it with 1-2 tbsp of salt.
- Whilst the water is heating, turn the oven back on to 240℃ and once heated, add the remaining half of the pork to heat through and crisp up to your liking.
- Add the pasta to the boiling salted water one minute less than packet instructions so it is al-dente.
- Drain off the water of the cooked pasta, return to the stove and stir the tomato sauce through.
- Plate up the pasta in a bowl and before serving, top with a few crunchy cubes of pork and a good grating of parmesan cheese.