broken pasta with pork ragu

At the end of July, a generally broiling, sticky month in New York City best experienced somewhere far enough away to catch a breeze not recently emitted from subway grates, I spied a recipe for a pork shoulder braised in chicken stock, aromatics, celery and thyme then torn into bite-sized shreds and tossed with broken-up pieces of lasagna noodles and finished with butter, lemon juice, parmesan and arugula that sounded so good, I had to make it the very next night for dinner. Even though it was 82 degrees out. Even though we’d been to the beach that weekend. I regretted nothing.

fennel and celery and thyme

pork shoulder / butt
layers of aromatics
ready to braise
from the braise
lightly shredded

I realize braised pork seems like a deep-in-winter kind of dish. It’s hibernation fare, designed for cuffing season, but there is something distinctively light about this, or at least as light as a ragu can get. I credit the salad-y finish and no, you cannot skip it. The parmesan, lemon and spicy arugula finish is everything here, it wakes the whole dish up.

taccolo or broken lasagna
broken pasta with pork ragu

Lucky you if you went outside this morning and found your homegrown arugula (seriously the easiest thing on earth to grow, and more pleasingly spicy than you can buy anywhere) going strong and not recently eaten gnawed off at the neck by some animal you’d rather not know you have. I bet you already have parmesan, butter and lemon, if you’ve been paying attention around here. And the pasta — this is the most fun part — you get to bash up dried lasagna noodles into chunky shards, or if you already have a weird pasta shape-buying habit (guilty as charged) you might find you already own a giant bag of taccolo* pasta, which looks like tiny ruffled-edge noodles for an adorably doll-sized dish. Together, this makes a really warming but not coma-inducing hearty pasta that’s going on rotation all winter here. Go ahead and double it then freeze half (directions below) to make this even easier.

broken pasta with pork ragu

* which translates as jackdaws, a type of crow, and I cannot wait to hear what they could possibly have in common


One year ago: Baked Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Ragu and Twinkie Bundt
Two years ago: Homemade Harissa and Cauliflower Cheese
Three years ago: Apple Slab Pie
Four years ago: Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel
Five years ago: Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
Six years ago: Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake
Seven years ago: Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins and Capers
Eight years ago: Pumpkin Swirl Brownies and A Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Nine years ago: Gluten-Free Chocolate Financiers
Ten! years ago: Wild Mushroom and Stilton Galette and Spinach Quiche

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Perfect Garlic Bread and Shaved Asparagus Frittata
1.5 Years Ago: Maple Pudding Cake and Potato Scallion and Kale Cakes
2.5 Years Ago: Avocado Cup Salads, Two Ways
3.5 Years Ago: Ramp Pizza and Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey and Walnuts
4.5 Years Ago: Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu

  • Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Print

This dish hails from the restaurant Maialino in New York, where it’s on the menu as malfatti al maialino. Sam Sifton wrote about the story behind in the New York Times Magazine a few years ago. The chef, Nick Anderer, first designed this to use up extra pork parts and make use of discarded pasta scraps but quickly became one of their most popular dishes.

My favorite part about is the brothy braise (not shown nearly enough in these pictures, feel free to puddle yours a bit more heavily), enriched at the end with butter, and the almost salad-y finish, bright with lemon, parmesan and arugula. Seasoning — salt, pepper and even the lemon at the end — is everything here so keep tasting as you go.

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder, about 4 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 large rib celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 1 quart chicken stock, plus a splash or two more, if needed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 9-ounce boxes dry lasagna, broken into 3-inch shards
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (although I use more) grated or shaved parmesan or grana padano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
  • Large handful arugula leaves, cleaned

Prepare pork: Use a sharp knife to remove the thick skin from the pork, but not trimming off all the fat — leave a thin sheen. Season generously with salt and place in fridge until ready to use — overnight is ideal but a few hours will cut it as well.

Braise the pork: Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and fennel until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer, then season well with salt and pepper.

Rinse pork to remove excess salt, dry with a paper towel and add to seasoned broth. Cover and place in the oven for 90 minutes or more, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.

Allow both meat and broth to cool in the braise out of the oven for 30 minutes, or until you can touch the meat with your hands. Remove the pork and gently pull the meat from the bone, then tear the chunks into bite-size shreds. Place these in a large bowl.

Strain the braising liquid, pouring enough of it over the pork to barely cover it and keep it from drying out.

Pour the rest back into the pot, simmering it until it is reduced by half. Add pork and cooking liquid that has covered it, and warm it back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Add the butter and stir to emulsify.

Bring large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, or usually a minute shy of package directions. Drain and add to the pork ragu, simmering for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, half the cheese and parsley, if using. Ladle into wide pasta bowls with and top with arugula and remaining cheese. We enjoyed this with an extra lemon wedge on the side.’

Do ahead: Should you wish to freeze this — we froze half and I was overjoyed to find it again last month — shred the pork and return it to the reduced cooking liquid, stopping short of the butter; freeze them together in a bag. Once defrosted, rewarm to a simmer, add a splash or two of pasta cooking water if needed to loosen it, and then the butter (this ensures you get the most flavor from it). Add freshly cooked pasta, lemon and parmesan from here.

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192 comments on broken pasta with pork ragu

    1. deb

      I think it would work just fine. I would probably saute the aromatics first and then let it braise. When you come home, continue with reducing the broth. In fact, I might do this next time. ;)

      1. smathes1

        I’m still new to slow cookers but want to make this on a weekday, so what would this look like? Can you saute the stuff with the slow cooker on high, or would that be in a separate pan? (Since this would be before work in the morning, hopefully I can do this with as few dishes as possible). My guess would be: saute aromatics on high, add broth, add meat, then high 3 hours or low for 8. Then when you get home, remove meat, shred (add back to pot? many instructions include that but not this one) and remove lid, turn to high until broth is reduced. Could an experienced slow cooker user pipe in with a recommendation? Thanks!

        1. june

          For a slow cooker, I would saute the veggies and brown the outside of the meat the night before, put everything in the slow cooker and into the fridge. In the morning, put it onto the cooking unit, and turn on (I have an old slow cooker, so I turn mine on high 8 hours.)
          When you get home, shred meat, return to pot and leave the lid open until ready to serve. If I wanted to cheat the reduction process, I would shred the meat, put it in a hot pan (large and wide one). Let it get some brown bits and ladle the sauce or broth from the slow cooker 1 cup at a time until desired reduction is achieved. It seems like a lot of extra work, but if you want to build the flavor, it works.

          1. Cris S.

            June – you just rocked my world! Never once thought of browning things the night before in the slow cooker (I have one where the removable insert sears really well) and then putting it in the fridge until the next morning to cook that day. Thank you for saving me the stress that trying to do it all the same morning creates!

        2. deb

          Your guess is correct. I haven’t done a pork shoulder in a slow cooker in a long time so I cannot confidently advise times, but if you have a solid recipe for pork shoulder that always works, use those cooking times and levels here. When you get home, shred meat, pour some strained stock over to keep it from getting dry, reduce the rest then combine it all as written.

          1. smathes1

            I’m proud to say it went off without a hitch thanks to all of you! I sauteed the aromatics the night before (thanks June!) and let the meat marinate overnight. Next morning I threw them together on low, turned to warm after 8 hours, and then shredded it all. I had to put the stock into a separate saucepan to be more efficient (reduced by half in 30 minutes, by my clock) and then a separate pot for pasta. More dishes than just sticking with my Staub, but totally weeknight friendly. I LOVED how bright this tasted. I had three bowls last night. Thanks Deb!

    1. I’ve done a somewhat similar recipe with lamb, and can’t see why that wouldn’t work just as well. Or beef! Give it a try and come back and tell us how it works out. I’d like to know for myself because although I do eat pork, I rarely prepare it for myself.

    2. deb

      I have a very strong aversion to chicken and pasta together (it’s me, not it, maybe) but if there was a prep I think could work, maybe this. Doesn’t need to braise as long.

      1. Emma

        I don’t normally like chicken with pasta, either, but given this slow savoury flavoury treatment it comes out really well in this dish (50 – 60 minutes cooking time). Definitely making this one again.

    3. Erin

      I second the lamb recommendation, perhaps tweaking the herbs in the rosemary/mint direction to better complement that meat. Or if you’re up for it, rabbit or hare would just wonderful here – I ate a dish in a tiny Tuscan restaurant once that was very like this, but with tender, confit-like rabbit.

    4. Celine

      I do a similar braise with chicken thighs. Bone in and boneless both come out well, just take a different amount of time and work (the bone in makes a better broth, but then you have to remove the skin and bones. I find with boneless you still want to remove the excess fatty bits).

      With all braised, the most important thing is to let it cool in some broth. I like to defeat some of the broth from the pork shoulder, I find it gets way too greasy otherwise.

    1. Caroline

      Hi Julia! Margie S asked about slow cookers a few comments up and there’s a great chain in response that walks you through doing it in a slow cooker. I have mine set up at home as I type this and can’t wait to see how it turned out!

  1. Leejay29

    We have an arugula hater in our midst (and have strangely not disowned him). How do you think spinach would play here instead?

    Cause this sounds wonderful!

    1. Nancy

      We have an arugula hater at my house too. Since the arugula is added at the end, I plan to finish just her plate with a handful of baby spinach. More arugula for the rest of us!

  2. Susan

    For some reason, sans noodles, it looks like it would be a good taco or nacho filling applying some of the sauce to the meat and the rest as condiment at serving. (went to Chipotle recently and it’s what I do with the contents of the bowl that I order!)

  3. EmilyVP

    My baby brain isn’t letting me grasp this concept: after you put the braising liquid on the shredded pork, the remainder that you reduce is also strained, correct? Ie: strain it all, then use.

      1. deb

        Yes, strain it all. I can rewrite the sentence so it is clearer. If you knew how late I’d gotten in the night before, you’d know it was me, not your baby brain. ;)

  4. All I know about jackdaws is that they are referenced in Much Ado About Nothing, wherein benedick tells beatrice how happy it must make her to see him, and she responds with [paraphrased]: About as much pleasure as a jackdaw getting stabbed by a knife.

    1. Jules

      Not quite a stabbed bird, I’m sorry to say.

      ‘Just as much as you may take upon a knife’s point and choke a daw withal’: about as big a bit as you can stab with your knife, a big enough bit to choke a small bird. We’ll ignore the double entendre there (jackdaws are monogamous), as it’s a family site!

      I’ve always loved jackdaws – they’re quite pretty with their little grey heads…like a cardinal that fell down a chimney. They’re also very clever and, if you’re patient and feed them, will make friends with humans.

      1. Pippa S

        We are plagued by jackdaws. They spend hours picking all the moss off our roof and throwing it onto the ground right in front of our front door, so you wake up in the morning to a path that looks like it leads to a crazy woman’s house. They will come down the chimneys and nest in your chimney stack (inside the house) so, if you haven’t had your chimney swept, when you light the fire your room is filled with smoke and you risk setting everything alight.
        Having said that, yes they are very clever birds and I think the smallest of the crow family. Since pasta-naming mostly seems to follow the rule of what it looks like, it does seem an odd name for pasta. Unless it’s about tearing things up (cf moss)

        1. Margy

          Jules and Pippa S, where are you? You’ve apparently encountered real jackdaws! Not just a word in Shakespeare! This is amazing to me.

      2. EL

        So maybe this is because jackdaws (if they are like other corvids), simply like to fly off with this type of pasta (they’re just the right size). Or maybe they were invented by Mariano dI Jacopo (alive around 1400 and nicknamed Taccola) who was supposedly an Italian polymath. Or maybe it’s because only people who have jackdaw-like pasta habits (guilty as charged — you’re not the only one Deb, I still have the package of round pasta “pearls” that I bought. I also adore gemelli. . .) would buy these?

  5. Kelsey Lane

    Okay, so nearly all of the ingredients appeal to me. However, I do not eat pork (or lamb, beef or chicken). However, I have made braised carrots before. The recipe I follow uses orange juice, but I have also made it with a small amount of lemon juice. I plan to make this with a pound of braised carrots, a pound of mushrooms, and a quart of mushroom stock. The mushrooms will be cooked with onion, celery and fennel.

    1. Madison

      This sounds incredible. I wasn’t letting myself drool over the dish as I am yet another non-meat eater on this site, but now I am salivating all over my keyboard.

  6. oldskewl

    Disgusting. Ragù in Italian mean a cooked mix of “macinato” (at least 2 kinds of meat: pork and beef) fry slightly in onion, extravergine oil, carrot, celery and if you want two fingers of red wine. Without salad! With or without tomato and also with parmigiano.

      1. LHY

        Disgusting, all right. Not the recipe, but your comment OLDSKEWL. I’m with you EJ…no room for that kind of food snobbery here at SK, we all just want to eat what Deb makes exactly the way she makes it. There are plenty of other sites you can visit if your aim is to disparage the recipes.

      2. Mafy

        I am sorry to agree with Oldskewl!! it would be just fine call things with their proper name. The truth is that it is not a ragu’.. they are just pieces of meat thrown into the boiled pasta! and… in a true ragu’ you don’t put salad!!!!

      3. Kim Quinn

        Absolutely! Comments are usually made to discuss ideas relating to the many different responses of those who love to cook, AND, have imagination.
        ‘Disgusting’ may may indicate that a reasonable level of curiosity and daring and imagination simply has not been met or even encouraged within…yet.
        So sad.

      1. Laura Noel

        I’ve made this (correctly) several times. It is always delicious. This time, I got to the end and realized the arugula I thought I still had in my garden was gone by. Cue improvisation: shaved summer squash, shaved apple, and shaved fennel tossed with LOTS of lemon and fresh cracked pepper, a splash of olive oil and some salt. Not as good as Deb’s original but a delightful substitution.

    1. Ludo

      Are you sure you’re even Italian? We have a lot of types of ragu, including “white” ones or other made from different cuts and meats. This recipe is legit, especially because it never claimed to be a ragu alla bolognese. Damn my people are jerks.

      1. Mafy

        first of all nobody here insulted. You must be a jerk! secondly, you must have forgotten your origins and flavors or your country.. so sad! while different cuts of meat exist these cannot be certainty named ragu’ (which can be with or without sauce but definitely without salad). said that, enjoy this ragu if you wish.. i will cook a real one! ;)

    2. Laura

      Trolls will troll. Not that that pardons rudeness, but I’m sure the usual positive, supportive SK comments will vastly overwhelm the blips in the long run. :)

    3. EL

      “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” — as ragu? Or maybe even sweeter? Or perhaps you might consider: “de gustibus non est disputandum”. I too, am sorry to see this type of discourtesy on this blog. Hopefully the person initiating the discourtesy will apologize (for the discourtesy, not the opinion, which of course you are welcome to).

  7. Rod Cole

    Pork Ragu looks delicious. Quick question re the onion,fennel,celery and fennel in broth. The recipe calls from straining the broth, do you throw the onion, celery, fennel out or add that to the pasta as well.

    1. deb

      5 quarts. I find it to be a great size for day to day cooking, I’d say meals with 4 to 8 (smallish for 8) servings. If you’re investing, a 7 or 8 is great for crowds (I use mine only a couple times a year, tbh) and a 4-quart braiser is my other go-to. I didn’t buy them all at once!

    1. Lori

      This is most definitely a ragu:

      “The Italian gastronomic society l’Accademia Italiana della Cucina documented fourteen recipes of ragù. The recipes’ common characteristics are the presence of meat and the fact that all are sauces for pasta. The most typical are ragù alla bolognese (Bolognese sauce). Another types are ragù alla napoletana (Neapolitan ragù), and ragù alla Barese (sometimes made with horse meat).

      In northern Italian regions, ragù typically uses minced, chopped or ground meat, cooked with sauteed vegetables in a liquid. The meats may include one or more of beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, or game, including their offal. The liquids can be broth, stock, water, wine, milk, cream or tomato, often in combination. If tomatoes are included, they are typically limited relative to the meat, making it a meat stew rather than a tomato sauce with added meat.

      In southern Italian regions, especially Campania, ragù is often prepared from substantial quantities of large, whole cuts of beef and pork, and sometimes regional sausages, cooked with vegetables and tomatoes. After a long braise (or simmer), the meats are removed and may be served as a separate course without pasta. Examples of these dishes are ragù alla Napoletana (Neapolitan ragù) and carne al ragù.”

  8. I am ready to push up my sleeves and get to some serious cooking! This recipe sounds something we’d like to make on a weekend with the temperatures dipping. Pork is such a great protein to work with. Thank you for the inspiration.

  9. Garlic + Zest

    This is exactly what I want for dinner tonight. I love the braised pork and pasta (of course), but the arugula and lightness of the lemon plus parmesan – take it in a very unexpected direction — love it!

  10. Caroline

    I have a boneless pork shoulder waiting at home – how much will the missing bone impact this recipe? (Also have I committed a sin by purchasing boneless in the first place?)

    1. lkf

      Im in the same boat! Im assuming the braising time is reduced, and we may be missing out on some of the thicker texture from the gelatin released from the bone. Did you try it? Im getting ready to salt it over night…

      1. Erica Thoits

        I just made this with a boneless cut. I reduced the braising time slightly and it all came out delicious. I mean, I don’t know what I’m missing since I haven’t made it with a bone-in cut, but we’ve added this to our winter dish rotation for sure.

  11. CanadyAnna

    Being of the generally lazy school of cooking, why not just throw pasta into pot and cook in the pot broth rather than reducing it by half and cooking pasta separately?

    Just a thought.

    1. deb

      I don’t like the gummier texture of pasta cooked in sauces, but if it doesn’t bother you, you can definitely try it out. It will probably need more liquid.

  12. Erin

    Thanks so much for this recipe, which looks delicious! I ran right out to the supermarket so I could make it, but found they only had boneless (rather than bone-in) pork shoulder. I’ve never cooked with this cut of meat before, is there anything I’m going to need to change in the recipe to adapt? Thanks!

    1. Gretchen

      ERIN~I have used both boneless and bone-in for a couple pork shoulder recipes I have. They cook the same, just that the broth has more flavor when it is bone-in.

  13. Brittany W.

    What cut of beef do you think would substitute well? Also, do you have a substitute for the fennel? Or just leave it out? I promise, this concept looks really great; I just don’t eat pork and can’t stand fennel.

  14. Thank you for informing us all on what “cuffing” is, HAA! I had no clue.

    Love the use of broken noodles here. My favorite is to use leftover cooked lasagna noodles (cut into strips) to make Asian flat noodles, but now I’ll have to try this one too!

  15. yekcal

    hahahahahahaha thank you so much for explaining “cuffing season”!!

    “When several Southern Californians working in the entertainment industry were asked if they used the term, they replied simply, “We have sun here.”” We do indeed have waaaay too much sun out here in California! Looking forward to it possibly getting cooler in November!


  16. Jennifer Mitchell

    I wonder if the name of the pasta shape refers to taccole which are flat pea pods often sliced cross-wise in recipes. I see a vague resemblance. Who knows? The recipe looks wonderful. Can’t wait to make it!

  17. JP

    We have been making fresh pasta at our house with a little pasta maker you crank by hand. Just finishing a batch of pappardelle which I bet, cut up, would be a great substitute for the lasagne noodles. Fresh pasta straight from the pasta maker is the best thing I have ever eaten! So easy too! You would be amazed at the difference! I have been serving it with a fresh spinach and tomato sauce sprinkled with parm, but I bet your Ragu would be delicious. Thanks!

  18. JoAZ

    This looks amazing, I made a ton of pulled pork this summer double the recipe and froze half for later. I used country style ribs that the grocer had cut into large sections – worked great too just have to skim the fat carefully. Also have used other pork roasts that have been on sale they have all worked with a minor adjustments.

  19. Sara Lima

    I made this tonight for dinner, and broke the first rule of cooking, “Read the recipe through thoroughly before starting.” I got to the part that said “Add the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer, then season well with salt and pepper.” I seasoned with salt without realizing that I was supposed to reduce the broth by half later in the recipe. In order to rectify this, I decided not to reduce the broth, to boil the noodles in the broth rather than salted water, and to use unsalted butter. I actually needed the full volume of broth in order for it to be saucy. Despite my mistake, this recipe was absolutely delicious. The only other change I made was to add the wispy fennel fronds in with the parsley. You rock, Deb!

  20. cwellnessnatural

    My son is taking this back to college. Which is 5 hours away. Should I cook it then freeze it for him to take. Or just make it don’t cook it, freeze it and have him cook it when he gets to school.

  21. munakenny

    I don’t eat pork but crazy about lamb meat, I hope this recipe works the same with lamb! This dish looks amazing in the photos and I hope when I give it a try it looks as gorgeous :)

  22. Deb Allmeyer

    It broke my heart (and stirred my anger) to see such negative posts to this recipe. Surely one can disagree about the term ragu without being so snarky. This blog has always been about recipes and Deb’s family. Don’t care for the food described? Then don’t use that recipe. But to be really insulting about Deb’s blog is unnecessary.

    1. Dawn

      I wholeheartedly agree with you Deb Allmeyer! I have read Deb’s site and used her recipes for years. I’ve always enjoyed her way with words, her cooking efforts, and especially her two darling children. And even when I thought a recipe was perhaps not to my tastes, I would NEVER have made such a spectacle of my opinion. Some people’s mamas seem not to have taught good manners. I hope our Deb doesn’t take offense. Over all, she seems to be pretty thick skinned from what she has said in the past.

    2. deb

      Hi — Thanks. Don’t worry, I have thick skin (and also, this is a type of ragu, so yelling otherwise won’t hurt my feelings). In general, if a comment is rude in a very non-constructive way, I usually delete it — fortunately, this is very rare because people here are overwhelmingly polite — before it becomes a distraction leading to more yelling. Alas, I didn’t in time this time…

  23. Daniotra

    This was amazing. No fennel at the local store, so I added an extra rib of celery and about a teaspoon of anise seed to give it the fennelly goodness. I also threw in some dry white wine while reducing the sauce, just because I had an open bottle. The arugula at the end really does make the dish. My husband loved it, one child (the really picky one) liked it, but the other one didn’t. I still call it a win and her little palate will only evolve if I keep exposing her to new tastes.

  24. stacey

    I want to try this in the pressure cooker (I’m too impatient for slow cookers). Brown first then 44 minutes in the electric pressure cooker?

  25. Maro

    I didn’t make this exactly, but I was inspired by the pork & pasta so I made a big batch of carnitas, cooked up some of TJ’s seasonal squash-shaped-and-infused pasta (ps, it’s not very good), used some pork fat to saute squash and corn, and then finished it with the arugula/parm/lemon as suggested here. SO GOOD.

    thanks for continued inspiration! probably making another batch of the amazing cider caramels this weekend. :)

  26. Elissa

    Like Sarah Lima I regretted going to town during the “season well with salt&pepper” step before realizing I’ll be reducing the broth by 50% later. Maybe clarify that step? Going to try what she did and not reduce the broth, though still boiling the pasta separately, and see what happens. Hopefully not too salty though it taste pretty salty right now…!

  27. Mary Fran Archer

    Thank you for this! I made half a recipe, wanting to be sure we loved it. Huge mistake as every last morsel was gone in one sitting. We will make this again and freeze the left overs (if there are any)! Brilliant.

  28. Erin

    This was delicious! The only thing I would tweak is the preparation time listed on the top of the recipe- 2 hours is just the cooking and resting time for the meat. Preparing the aromatics, shredding the meat and reducing the broth definitely adds some time. I’m not fast with new recipes, so I’m sure it would go more efficiently next time, but it took me 3 hours.

  29. edwinainductioncook

    This looks absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to make it. The flavors really appeal to me. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  30. Erica Thoits

    This was crazy good. Perfect for a rainy, lazy New England fall Sunday. The house smelled amazing for hours as this was cooking. I made sure to spoon plenty of the delicious braising liquid into our bowls. I did add more lemon juice than called for and didn’t leave out the parsley. I’m glad for both – it added a nice brightness to a rich dish. That, combined with the arugula, made the whole thing very well balanced.

  31. Maria

    After reading the NYT article I’m wondering if fresh pasta would be good in this dish? Maybe pappardelle? Or does the sauce need a sturdy dried pasta?

  32. John

    Deb, this was one of the best things I have ever made from your website (of which I am a devoted fan). Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be making this again! 11/10.

    For anyone contemplating making this, DO IT! And Deb is right, the arugula and lemon juice are an integral part of this meal. Do not skip them!

  33. Dawna Eastman-Gallo

    First of all, LOVE SmittenKitchen and have made lots of recipes from here and I’m not usually disappointed. That said, I had a lot of trouble with this recipe–my pork was not even close to cooked when it “just began to pull off the bone”–had already cooked 1 3/4 hours and had to put back for another 45 min. Even then, still difficult to get off the bone. ( I had expected it to be like pulled pork, very soft, maybe that was wrong?) Anyway, I let it simmer a bit longer in the broth. Wondered if there was enough broth–perhaps a smaller dutch oven would have submerged more of the meat? However, this was VERY TASTY! Hubby, guest and I all liked. Used a handful of arugula for each serving and will use more next time. Would be tempted to use 1.5 or even 2 quarts of stock. It really felt very Italian! Will likely make again, even with the difficulties.

  34. I made this last night.
    I could only find one single boneless pork shoulder in the store. The meat never got tender and “shredable”; it majority of meat was tough and sinewy and had to be chopped not pulled apart.

    But the broth was so delicious that we picked out the meat and ate it like soup!

    Next time (and there will be a next time) we’ll get a better quality piece of pork.

    1. Andimichel

      I think the 90 minute cooking time is the problem. Looking at other braising recipes, cooking time in many is about 3 to 4 hours. Shoulder is a tough cut. Right now I’m at almost two hours and it’s not nearly ready. Off to the oven to addd more broth and white wine.

  35. Jennifer Hadfield

    Very good recipe, especially for those of us who don’t love red sauce drenched pasta dishes. Love the arugala topping and Deb, as usual, was right about the squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

  36. Katrina

    This pasta was MIND BLOWINGly good. I made it yesterday (Halloween) on a whim so my pork only sat for two hours salted and still it was delicious. My fellow went back to the stove for THREE servings it was that good. Our daughter licked the plate (she’s 3)! And I ate the leftovers today and I still was amazed by every bite. This is a winner in our house obviously. I may try it with lamb next time just so we don’t kill the magic. Highly recommend!

    1. Katrina

      Made it again tonight as a Halloween tradition. Only this time I forgot about it for hours as the kids started coming early and all my liquid dried up. The meat tastes wonderful though. We were too full of candy for dinner. Going to just add pasta water and lemon juice tomorrow. Wish me luck. I now have 2 daughters and the younger one is 3. I hope for a repeat experience of the first time.

  37. Alleira

    I made this the other night in the pressure cooker/instant pot. I took a 4lb boneless pork shoulder and cooked it in 2c. chicken stock along with the recommended veggies/herbs for approximately 55 minutes (natural release). I then removed the pork, shredded it with two forks, and followed the remainder of the recipe exactly. Instead of serving the arugula on top, I put it on the bottom and allowed the heat from the pork/broth to wilt it slightly.

    I would make this again. The use of the pressure cooker resulted in an intensely good broth – the fennel really sang – but I definitely wouldn’t use broken lasagna noodles again. I would probably end up either using pappardelle or another thick pasta. The lasagna noodles made it difficult to eat and very messy. The lemon juice is NOT optional and needs to renewed if you’re eating this as leftovers.

    1. h.m.

      thank you SO much for sharing this!! I’m DYING to get an instapot and so excited to try this recipe! I get nervous trying to adjust recipes so I’m so grateful you shared yours :) Can I ask what size you’re using? would a 5qt instapot suffice?

  38. Caroline

    I made this in the crock pot yesterday and it was delicious. I agree with another poster that I wouldn’t use the broken lasagna noodles again – they were much too large – I saw a bag of “mini lasagna noodles” at the grocery that looked more like what Deb has here and I’m kicking myself for skipping them. The crock pot really only saved me from taking 2 hours our of my evening to braise the meat – all the other labor was still necessary, so I guess this recipe could be the thing that gets me to invest in a dutch oven, making it possible to do in an afternoon on the weekend!

  39. Erica

    I made this!


    – Cooked the pork in the slow-cooker so we could eat this on a weeknight after work. I did the aromatics/stock steps and put that in the crock, then salted the pork (2.6 lb, boneless) and put that in a Tupperware, and threw everything in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I rinsed/dried the pork and immersed it in the stock-veg mixture, then cooked for 8 hours on low and it came out great.

    If I were making it again, I wouldn’t bother with this step: “Strain the braising liquid, pouring enough of it over the pork to barely cover it and keep it from drying out.” There was a lot of pork, and covering it with liquid threw off the “reduce stock by half” calculations. This meant that my ragu was too liquid-y.

    2 boxes of lasagna noodles was more than we needed – could definitely reduce down to 12 oz of pasta.

    Overall, it was great! Very tasty, and we saved some of the leftover ragu liquid for later experimentation.

  40. Tina

    It’s in the oven. I wa surprised I didn’t have to brown the meat before cooking in the broth. Also, the broth only comes half way up the roast…mi added an extra cup of broth but still it’s an island. Fingers crossed.

  41. jana

    I cooked the meat and broth in my crockpot all day. Then, I removed the meat, and refrigerated it. I refrigerated the broth in the crockpot overnight. The next day, I removed the fat from the top of the broth, then continued the rest of the recipe. I’m glad I did this step, as there was quite a bit of fat. Very tasty!

  42. Cordelia

    I made this with a boneless pork picnic roast. It had a tremendous fat cap that I had to trim off, sadly this roast would have been a wonderful slow roast, but it was too late for that once I Unwrapped the roast and discovered it. No major changes to recipe.

    Yummy, leftovers were yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy. Child didn’t like the pasta, can’t please everyone.

  43. Meghan

    I made this last night and it was excellent. A few notes:
    – I used a 3.8 lb boneless pork shoulder, tied. It worked well, but needed more cooking time than 90 minutes. I probably should have left it in the oven for two hours. Instead, I started shredding after 90 minutes + 30 minutes of resting, and realized halfway through that it was still pink in the middle. This was solved with extra simmering on the stovetop in the braising liquid, and ended up not harming the final product, but for simplicity’s sake I would recommend a longer cooking time if using a boneless cut.
    – I cut the fat off the pork after it came out of the oven instead of before, because I bought my shoulder pre-tied. It was easy to do it this way.
    – The lemon juice at the end is an absolute must. It completely makes the dish.
    – I made this with a different shape of pasta and it came out fine.
    – The braising liquid is the bomb dot com.
    Thanks for another great recipe, Deb!

  44. Sarah

    I have an 8lb bone in pork shoulder with my name on it. Cooking to serve 12 people (4 are under 7). I don’t have a staub but have 2 slow cookers, a generic version of Le cruiset, and an 8quart stainless steel pot. Any strategies for doubling this? How would one of you great cooks wrap your head around a doubling strategy ?? Any tips appreciated

    1. deb

      Sorry so late to this. Doubling it shouldn’t be an issue. Not sure what size your Le Creuset is (and brand doesn’t matter much, just looking for heft) but if the stainless steel pot is bigger, it might be safest. Hope that helps.

  45. Alisha

    I have never used or even heard of fennel bulb. I bought one for this recipe and am just wondering if you could explain more the trimming process and what parts are used? Thank you.

  46. Christine

    I made this last night for friends who love to cook as much as I do, using a pork shoulder from a pig raised by a neighbor. I’m not a pasta person because it’s often too gloppy, but this was amazing!

    1. Christine

      oh! forgot to mention – the braising time was much too short for our 3.8 lb piece of shoulder – could have gone 3 hours. next time I’m doing the braising in my big green egg. mmmmmmm smokey…..

  47. Kateoz

    I made this months ago when I found it on the NYT Cooking app.

    I can confirm it’s delicious and everyone should make it immediately.

    There’s a reason I almost solely come here, or to Ina Garten, or the NYT app – or Nigella for baking recipes – great minds think alike!

  48. Luke Kanter

    I loved this! My only comment is that I would adjust the cooking time at the top of the recipe. This took me about 4 hours, not two! ❤️

  49. SO DELISH!!! I have tried braising pork shoulder before with mediocre results so I was excited to try this. This recipe didn’t disappoint. To speed up the process I bought Mirepoix from Trader Joe’s in addition to the fennel. I also browned the meat before the braise. I cooked the meat for the recommended 90 min at 350 and then did an additional 2 hours at 300 degrees. Perfection!

    As my kids were hungry I didn’t reduced broth enough, but this was still AMAZING! The broth was just so yummy. My two boys gobbled it up (w/o the arugula). The arugula/lemon/parmesan are the most perfect compliment to the dish. I served it with the pasta on the bottom, then pork, then a large handful of arugula and cherry tomatoes, then a squeeze of lemon juice and shaved parm on top! YUM! You can’t go wrong with this dish. I’d love to try with the slow cooker, but too worried I’d get dry, stringy pork and ruin this amazing treat!

  50. sgkorwan

    I made this (on my birthday!) and it was amazing! So delicious, everyone loved it. I followed the recipe closely, although my roast was about 5 or 6 pounds, but compensated by braising for 2 or 3 hours. Will definitely be making again, but would probably make the day ahead and stop before adding the pasta. Thank you!!

  51. Merielle

    I made this and it was good. I couldn’t find a bone in shoulder and actually looked around a fair amount which is a big deal for a working mom with a toddler and baby (!). I used a boneless butt which was good enough. It was harder to cook the lasagna noodles to al dente because the package didn’t have a cooking time – they were “no boil” noodles. I’m really glad I made the whole portion bc I saved half and froze it which will be great in a few weeks when I’m too tired for dinner preparations (see above)! The arugula with lemon was great and really made it feel like a whole meal (rather than an – albeit yummy – bowl of carbs)

  52. Emily

    I also found that 90 minutes wasn’t nearly long enough. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure that out until the next day, when I pulled it out of the refrigerator to finish!

  53. Elaine

    Thanks very much for a real keeper, Deb. I’m not terribly fond of pork in general, but it’s inexpensive and I do really like pasta-in-broth dishes, so gave this a try. My husband’s glad too and asked me to make it again, even happily eating the arugula he normally wishes away. I was surprised to discover just how nice it was with this and am so glad I didn’t cave and have him pick up spinach instead.

    My four-pound bone-in shoulder also took longer to braise in my dutch oven, still rubbery at the minimum 90 minutes. I’d done it the day before, though, refrigerated overnight, and lifted off the lard for other uses. So easy. I ended up a little short on broth, not helped by also sloppily adding the pasta while still too al dente so that it soaked up a surprising amount as it finished cooking. Next time. And I think we’ll also like it served with lemon wedges.

  54. Just wanted to chime in to say I made this last night and it was great – a few thoughts though:
    A) 90 min did not seem to be sufficient to cook our 3.4 lb bone in shoulder, but the nearly 4 hours I left it in was too long causing the pork to suffer a bit and also the stock to reduce too much during cooking. Also 3.4 lbs was a smaller quantity of meat than I’d envisioned – I’d go 5 lbs next time.
    B) I definitely think the dish benefits from more than 2 tablespoons of lemon.
    C) Don’t skip the arugula!
    D) In the future I’d use low sodium stock.

  55. Sara

    Made this and it was excellent.

    If you were to eat the pork alone, it wouldn’t be very good. Mine was a bit dry, tough and not all that flavorful. But altogether with the pasta, arugula, parm, sauce and lemon it was fantastic.

  56. Renee

    Made this tonight, followed the recipe almost to the letter, but I used an Italian pasta that was more broken down, but still resembled lasagna noodles at one point. Salting the pork the night ahead made all the difference I think; ended up very succulent! Very minimal work, besides shredding the pork. I saved half per Deb’s recommendation; soooo glad I did. Had 3 generous adult portions, and enough to stuff a 6 year old. Definitely a Sunday dinner event, as it was time consuming. So worth it though! Few recipes I try make it into regular rotation, but this one we’ll be enjoying for a long time. Thank you for sharing!

  57. Beth

    Thank you. This was spectacular, and a welcome change from the BBQ pulled pork I normally make with a pork shoulder.

    My kids inhaled it.

  58. Tess

    I was so excited to make this recipe and so bummed with how it turned out! I had a 4lb pork shoulder with no bone- maybe this was why- but it took WAY over 90 min to cook, really more like 3+ hours. Even though I trimmed it as you suggested, when it did finally start to fall apart, what I was left with was not chicken stock to reduce but just a soup of straight pork fat.. yuck.
    I also found the lemon/parm/herbs to be not nearly enough (I probably used 3-4 times as much) to cut through the fatty, intense pork and make it anything close to light and yummy tasting.
    What did I do wrong?? The way you described this sounded amazing!

  59. Nicole

    Made the ragu last night with a few tweaks once I did a taste test mid-oven step. Added chopped oregano and fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, and more salt and pepper (to taste). Also threw in some white wine (maybe half a cup or so). And at the end, right after the butter step, I added in a heap of freshly shredded pecorino romano, which melted down quickly with the butter and liquids. Before all that, it was maybe a little too plain for me (on its own especially). After, well…I’ll be eating this all week.

  60. floscarmeli80

    I have made this many times!
    This past time, I doubled it, with 2 boneless shoulder roasts, about 3 or 4 pounds each. We have a large family, and this is so yummy that the importance of having leftovers cannot be overstated!
    I doubled the veggies, but not the braising liquid. This time I had enough time to salt the pork for about an hour before cooking it. I did rinse the salt off. the roasts were tied, but I untied them, I did NOT trim any fat, and I braised them at 350 degrees for 4 hours. I checked them at 2 hours, and they were not even close to the succulent pull-apart yumminess that pork shoulder should be. But I knew going in that I would need all that time, so I had them going soon enough to let them keep cooking. I did NOT salt the braising liquid because the broth in my case was salty enough, but I did pepper it enthusiastically.
    I removed the meat from the liquid, and I skimmed the fat off the liquid, but I didn’t strain it. I like the sauce with the texture of the veggies, even though they are very soft. I did not reduce the sauce much, because I have found through trial and error that it gets too salty. But I added every bit of that butter to finish, and the lemon juice! I didn’t bother waiting for the meat to cool to pull it, but I meticulously pulled the bits of fat out of the meat with tongs (HOT), because the texture of it is just ew.
    Maybe someday, I’ll have dinner planned soon enough to get it going in a crock pot earlier. That sounds ideal.
    Thanks Deb, the whole family really likes this dish, which is saying something!

  61. Meg

    This is a HUGE HIT in our home. I want to make it all the time. I want to eat the entire batch. I made it during the summer because the lemon keeps everything light; I will make it all winter to keep us warm. Thanks, Deb. You. Are. Wonderful!

  62. Marc R

    So good! It makes a ton of food!

    I made 2 small modifications…8 cloves of smashed garlic in with the veggies, and a bay leaf in with the broth. We cook well… and this was one of the better meals we’ve had recently!

  63. Megan

    I have made this so many times and it is an AMAZING dish. It actually teaches you a lot of cooking techniques along the way. This is the dish that will ensure my husband never leaves me. (Kidding…kidding…but also maybe a little not).

    Only one slight complaint. This dish takes 2.5-3 hrs, not 2 hrs. Those two hours only cover oven time and cooling time. They do not include the time it takes to cut and saute veggies (about 15-20 min) OR the time it takes to shred the pork after it has cooled (at least 15 min). So with absolute perfect coordination and using your own time estimations, this dish takes no less than 2.5 hours. I would suggest an update to the recipe, if you are able.

  64. Kate Sprengnether

    I finally made this for the first time tonight, and it is so very good! I ate two bowls of it and slumped up the broth. My husband loved it and even the picky 11 year old approved. Thank you for such a delicious recipe!!

  65. So, I just made the pork part of this recipe and I am already blown away!! It is sooo good. However, I didn’t realize I had a larger cut of shoulder than the recipe called for (pork share doesn’t label packages by weight, and buying a kitchen scale is at the bottom of my priorities list), so I ended up braising in the oven for almost 3 hours(!). I didn’t have any celery or fennel which was a bummer, so I just used 1.5 onions, but it’s still full of onion-y flavor that is just perfect. Thanks for this recipe, and being my go-to site for all recipes!!

  66. Caroline

    Would it work to serve this without the pasta? I was thinking of putting out baguettes so that people could make open-faced sandwhiches with the meat for my daugther’s birthday party. I’m sick of bbq pork sandwiches and thought this braising method might do the trick. Should I put out some sort of conidments to go with it? Or have people sop up the juices, a la french dip?

  67. Charlotte

    I wasn’t wild about this last night when we had it. Perhaps it was all that time and work, or perhaps it was that the pork was not nearly tender enough, even after an hour and forty minutes. But my husband and son gulped it up, and I won the bet, “will you eat this arugula even though it “seems weird” because it’s in the recipe and that’s how you effin’ make it,” so that was a nice win.

    But when I had it today, the whole dish just woke up, and I finally get all of these glowing comments! The sauce was perfectly complex, not too salty, and there is just this amazing blast of umame that is unparalleled in any dish I’ve made in ages.

    Next time, I’m going to braise the pork at least an hour more, and make it the day before. My grocery store is lame and I had to make do with extra celery, fennel seeds and dried thyme (like some kind of south-side commoner; which is appropriate, I am a south-side commoner), but next time I’ll trek to the “good side” of town for fresh thyme and fennel, just to see what I’m missing. But honestly, this dish is superb the next day, even without the fancy-good-side-of-town stuff.

  68. Andimichel

    Any thinking about why the meat isn’t browned prior to braising? Also, I don’t understand the instructions about removing skin off the pork…I don’t see this? I live in No. California, and have a good butcher. Maybe it’s an East Coast “thing.”
    Will coook tomorrow (yes it’s cold, windy and raining). Stay tuned.

  69. Bekki

    I made this last week, using an Instant Pot type multi cooker. I used about 3.5 lbs of boneless shoulder which I cut up into large chunks. I browned the veggies in the pot using the saute function. Then I added the stock, seasoning and pork as directed (although, I did not add any salt to the stock, and did not rinse off the pork).

    I cooked at high pressure for 70 minutes, then let it naturally release for about 30-40 minutes. The rest of the recipe went as directed (reducing the stock on the stove etc).

    It was great! I used pappardelle pasta and we all felt like it was too much pasta. I think in the future I will make the pork exactly the same way, but serve with a little Parmesan polenta along with the lemon and arugala.

    1. The cooking time is not right. A 3.5 lb. bone in pork roast takes about 180 minutes to braise in the oven. I followed the recipe using a nice cut of meat and it was nowhere near ready at 90 minutes. I’m glad I wasn’t cooking for company. In the end, it tasted terrific. I did turn it a few times, which resulted in nice browning. As a comparison, I did another braised pork shoulder, using a fancy pasture raised (they said the pigs grazed on walnuts—I live in wine/food centric Northern CA—and the cooking time was the same. With respect, I hope this recipe could be revised for a more realistic cooking time. Also a little more info about braising basics would help. Thanks for everything, Deb.

  70. Andrea

    Love love love this! That said it took me a few times to get it just right for my tastes. Couple of subs that I’ve made & enjoy if it helps anyone else. I can usually only find boneless pork shoulder and have used that successfully, but have trimmed off more fat to start and doubled the braising time. I also LOVE the broth/braising liquid and always wish there is more, so i double the broth & don’t reduce it afterwards. Last, after trying this with broken lasagna noodles and then paccheri, I found I prefer a smaller pasta shape. Orecchiette is now my go to!

  71. Beth Stoner Wiegand

    In the second to last paragraph of the instructions it reads – “Ladle into wide pasta bowls with and top with argula…”

    I’ve read this recipe several times…with ? and top with argula. Sorry to be missing something if it’s obvious!

  72. Beth Stoner Wiegand

    The second to last paragraph in the instructions state: “Ladle into wide pasta bowls with and top with arugula and remaining cheese.”

    I’ve read this recipe over several times and am unclear about “with ? and top with arugula and remaining cheese.”

    Could you clarify? I apologize if I am missing something obvious!

    1. Caroline Collins

      I don’t think you’re missing anything, I think it’s a typo. There’s nothing more to add than the arugula and cheese. And I also add some cracked black pepper at that point. :)

      This is my favorite smitten recipe – enjoy!

  73. Chris

    I am making this for the fifth time tonight. It is in the oven and smells divine. Always a family favorite. One thing I did a bit different last time was to add some orange zest – about half of one orange. I don’t know that it improved a ton on it or anything, but it was a slightly different twist. I love love love this recipe.

  74. Hillary

    I am a Deb devotee and somehow I had never seen this recipe! But sick of menu planning, I took a deep dive into the archives and am cooking through old recipes that intrigue. This did not disappoint. The broth is so creamy—it’s like stroganoff and hand-shaved noodles had a baby. Worth the time. Thanks Deb, you super genius!

    1. Julia in RI

      In case anyone sees this question in the future and wonders—I think a tenderloin would not work so well. It’s a very lean cut and would just dry out. Same thing with a loin roast. The pork shoulder (butt) has a lot of collagen and richness that’s essential for the slow cooking process and the final texture/flavor!

  75. Laura

    Omg thus was divine! I would not normally buy a bone in pork leg but revived one in a recent Butcher Box. It was worth all the time and effort!

  76. Molly

    Delicious! Definitely read the recipe through a few times before starting. I made this in the instant pot. Braise pork on sauté mode, then sauté vegetables. Deglaze with broth and add everything back in. Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes. Quick release and shred. Use sauté function to reduce the broth. All the pork fell off the bone, it was delicious. We didn’t care for the broken lasagna (I couldn’t keep it from sticking together). Rigatoni next time!

  77. Corky

    Wow!!! I just finished eating this for dinner tonight and it was awesome! Followed the recipe as written and would not change a single thing. My husband couldn’t stop commenting about how completely delicious it is. Thank you, Deb!!

  78. soshedances1126

    Just made this tonight after eyeing it for a long time. My pork shoulder (bone in) definitely took longer than 90 minutes to get to tender (closer to 2 to 2.5 hours), but I was expecting that possibility and started early, so not a big deal. It is DELICIOUS. Comforting and rich but the arugula/lemon/parm finish lightens it up so nicely. I love the broth. Definitely adding this to the lazy Sunday cooking project rotation!

  79. Isabel

    My family loved this so much, they have asked me to make it for Christmas dinner. Could you suggest a nice starter? The Maialino website is down, otherwise I would have chosen something similar-ish to their menu items. I’d really appreciate your ideas.

  80. Ceecee

    Has anyone successfully used no-boil lasagna noodles in this recipe? I have a box in the back of the cupboard that I’d love to make use of!

  81. Rebecca

    Just wanted to add I found the perfect pasta for this at Trader Joe’s – mafalda corta which looks like tiny lasagna noods!