Pork, fennel and nduja ragu

Pork, Nduja and Fennel Ragu

I adore Nduja. What is that, you ask? It’s the most wonderful spicy, spreadable pork sausage which comes from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. Having tried it for the first time at an Italian restaurant in Manchester, it’s an ingredient that until recently, I struggled to get my hands on regularly enough to cook with at home (now we are back in the North east). You can imagine my joy then, when I discovered that my local deli now sells it! Cue me always having a pack in the fridge, ready to add to dishes whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Pork, fennel and nduja ragu

Pork, Fennel and Nduja Ragu

A few weeks ago I had a pack of lean pork mince in the freezer and so I thought, yep, lets add it to that, and this recipe was born.

It might seem a bit strange adding milk but milk is actually quite a traditional ingredient to add to a ragu (particularly Bolognese). Not only does it help make a lovely rich sauce, it also tenderises the meat and takes some of the acidity out of the tomatoes.

The key to this dish is a low, long simmer. It helps to thicken up the ragu nicely and make sure the flavours are deep and delicious.

If you don’t want to add the wine, just leave it out, you don’t need to replace it with anything. This will make the ragu 6sp per serving instead of 7. I serve this with 60g (dried) of pasta per person for a total of 13sp for the whole dish. I do add a cheeky shaving or parmesan to the top too though!

If you can’t get your hands on any of the whole nduja, you can get nduja paste in lots of supermarkets now, I got it recently in M&S. You can also get it online (I’ve had it from Amazon before and popped it into my shop if anyone would like to get it from there!!).

This is a great dish if you want left overs for the next day, or to pop in the freezer. Tossing the sauce through the pasta makes it go much further and I like it when theres a nice pasta to meat ratio (my hubbie on the other hand, would have piles of meat)!

Give this one a whirl, it’s a real treat.

SMART POINTS AND NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Serves 6 = 7sp per serving (on all plans)

INGREDIENTS

500g lean pork mince, raw

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 onion, peeled and finely diced

2 sticks celery, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

50g nduja sausage (or 2 tbsp nduja paste), roughly chopped into 1cm chunks

2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted for 30 seconds in a dry pan and then ground to powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp crushed chillies

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp tomato puree

125ml red or white wine (optional)

1 chicken stock cube

400ml skimmed milk

400g tin tomatoes

Bay leaf

Salt and pepper

100g fresh parmesan

Small bunch fresh basil, roughly torn (reserve a little to dress)

METHOD

Pop the pork mince into a large frying pan, season with salt and pepper and fry until the mince is nicely browned.

Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and fry for another 5-6 minutes until the carrot starts to soften.

Add the nduja, ground fennel, oregano, crushed chillies, lemon zest and tomato puree. Stir, fry for another minute and then add the wine. Simmer until the wine reduces by half.

Crumble the chicken stock cube into the pan. Add the milk, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on a low heat for 2 hours (no lid), stirring regularly. The sauce should reduce nicely over time.

Pop the pasta on when the ragu has 10 minutes left to cook.

Finally, add the parmesan and basil to the ragu, stir and remove from the heat. Season to taste.

Serve the ragu with the pasta (I like to toss it through before serving) and dress with the reserved basil.

Enjoy!

Pork, Nduja and Fennel Pasta

Serves 6 = Per serving
7sp on all plans
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 500 g lean pork mince raw
  • 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion peeled and finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
  • 50 g nduja sausage or 2 tbsp nduja paste, roughly chopped into 1cm chunks
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds toasted for 30 seconds in a dry pan and then ground to powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed chillies
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 125 ml red or white wine optional
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 400 ml skimmed milk
  • 400 g tin tomatoes
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100 g fresh parmesan
  • Small bunch fresh basil roughly torn (reserve a little to dress)

Instructions

  • Pop the pork mince into a large frying pan, season with salt and pepper and fry until the mince is nicely browned.
  • Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and fry for another 5-6 minutes until the carrot starts to soften.
  • Add the nduja, ground fennel, oregano, crushed chillies, lemon zest and tomato puree. Stir, fry for another minute and then add the wine. Simmer until the wine reduces by half.
  • Crumble the chicken stock cube into the pan. Add the milk, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on a low heat for 2 hours (no lid), stirring regularly. The sauce should reduce nicely over time.
  • Pop the pasta on when the ragu has 10 minutes left to cook.
  • Finally, add the parmesan and basil to the ragu, stir and remove from the heat. Season to taste.
  • Serve the ragu with the pasta (I like to toss it through before serving) and dress with the reserved basil.
  • Enjoy!
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2 thoughts on “Pork, Nduja and Fennel Ragu

  1. Ann says:

    Looks great! Do you think this would work for a slow cooker please and if so how would you adapt the recipe to not make it too liquid?

    Thanks

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