Porchetta-Style Ragu

(from castro15’s recipe box)

Categories: Pasta


  • 1 1/2 cups large homemade breadcrumbs or panko
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 oz. cold meaty pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. coarsely ground pork loin or packaged ground pork
  • Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 tsp lemon zest, plus 2 tbsp. juice
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fennel pollen (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, plus freshly grated cheese for tossing and serving
  • 1 lb. mezze rigatoni
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. On a baking sheet, toss the breadcrumbs and butter; season with salt. Bake, stirring once, until toasted and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

  3. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring often, until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary, garlic, 2 tsp lemon zest, the fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and the fennel pollen, if using. Stir until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and the Parm rind, if using. Reduce heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

  4. Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of package directions. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

  5. Discard the Parm rind from the sauce. Add a generous handful of grated Parm, then lemon juice, and the pasta to the sauce. Toss, adding the cooking water as needed. Season with salt.

  6. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tsp lemon zest, the parsley, and a bit more Parm. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls. Top with the breadcrumbs.

Email to a friend | Print this recipe | Back