Each month, when bon appétit arrives, I pour over the recipes, photos and beauty of the magazine. This month's pasta issue did not disappoint. I, however, am on day three of a twenty-one day paleo challenge.
The ground rules: no grains, no breads, no pasta, no dairy, nothing made with flour or sugar. So basically I am gluten-free, grain-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, caffeine-free and alcohol-free. Yipee.
Not normally being much of a meat eater, this is my opportunity to live it up in that department. The cover photo of the Spicy Pork Ragu sounded like the place to start. In gathering recipes, I came across recommendations for zucchini noodles as a good substitute for pasta. They were delicious. If ever you find yourself in a similar situation, give this paleo recipe a try.
Zucchini Noodles with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù
1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound ground pork
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 zucchini, sliced with a julienne peeler or julienne blade of a mandoline
• Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
• Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
• Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
• Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
• Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. Season with salt.*Do Ahead: Ragù can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.
• Using the julienne peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strands. Slice the zucchini just until you reach the seeds in the middle and then stop (the seeds will cause the noodles to fall apart).
• Separate the zucchini strands. Transfer stands to a colander set over a mixing bowl. Toss the strands with salt; let stand 15 minutes at room temperature to extract excess water.
• Heat olive oil in a pan and transfer drained zucchini strands. Sauté for two minutes.
Divide zucchini noodles among the bowls, top with ragù sauce.