Three Pigs Pasta Sauce

05c3PigsSaucebfLOI am not gonna lie to you, this is a kindofan involved recipe, with boning and browning meat and chopping veggies and two large pots over at least one day (it’s better if you make it over two, tho’), but…

It is wicked good, and, once you’re through boning and browning the meat and chopping the veggies, most of the rest of the magic happens in a slow cooker, so you can let it do its thing on the counter while you’re off doing something else, like mebbe cleaning up from the first bit.

•3 lb country style pork ribs
•1 tsp sea salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 lb Italian sausage
•12 oz cooked pork belly, cubed*
•4 cups chopped sweet onion
•1 cup diced celery
•2 tbsp freshly minced garlic
01cRibsCubedbfLO•1/2 cup red vermouth
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce**
•2 (28 oz) cans tomatoes
•1 (12 oz) can low sodium veggie juice
•1 tsp rosemary
•1 tsp oregano
•1 tsp basil
•1 tsp thyme
•1 tbsp sugar
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
•1/2 cup sherry
•2 tbsp shredded cheese

02bPorkBellyBrownedbfLO*Buying the pork belly pre-cooked will save you several additional hours and a smelly house. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s.

**If you don’t have Sherry Peppers Sauce, substitute a bit of Worcestershire and mebbe a dab ‘o your favorite hot sauce, to taste.

Cut the ribs from the bone, cube the meat, and season with salt and peppers, then cook in a large pot over medium high heat until browned and crispity on the edges. Transfer to slow cooker, leaving any fat in the pot.

03cCookDownbfLOAdd the sausage to the pot, cooking and breaking up into smal chunks, until no longer pink. Transfer to the slow cooker, again leaving any fat in the pan.

Add cubed pork belly to pot and cook for five minutes, until nicely browned, then add onion, garlic, and celery and cook for another ten minutes.

04cTomatoBasebfLOStir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan, then the Sherry Peppers Sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes, until the liquid has been reduced by half.

Add the tomatoes and veggie juice and again bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes as you go.

Transfer to the slow cooker, stir in the seasonings, then cover and cook on high for one hour.

05bSauceStartbfLOReduce the heat to low and cook for another couple of hours. Taste, then add 1/2 cup sherry and shredded cheese – I used Fontina, but Parmesan or Romano, etc would all work as well. Continue to cook on low for another couple of hours, stirring when you think to.

06aJohnnyMazettiSpagbfLOYou could serve it at this point, but I always think a sauce like this is better if it’s allowed to rest and the flavors have a chance to blend. I also wanted the chance to skim off the fat, if needed, so I let the sauce cool, then transferred it to containers and  stashed ’em in the fridge overnight.

The next day, surprisingly, there was very little fat to remove. Pop the sauce back into the slow cooker and cook on low for an hour or so.

06bJMSpagPlatebfLOGive it a taste. I thought it still needed a little sumpin’ sumpin’, so I added one tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a bay leaf, gave it another stir, and let it cook away on low for another hour or so.

One last taste and yes?

Nice sauce!

I had plenty, so I gave a bit to a friend who was over, then used the rest to make Johnny Mazetti Spaghetti, a dish that comes to us from back in the day in Ohio by way of the Panama Canal Zone. Hit the link above for the details, or just come back here tomorrow; it’s this week’s Parfait! post.

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