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Mardi Gras Pasta
2 large carrots, diced very small
1 medium onion, cut into very small pieces
2 cloves garlic [I crush or mince these, but the recipe doesn't specify]
2/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons for toasting almonds
1 1/2 pounds pork loin, boneless, no fat; cut into 7 or 8 slices
1/4 cup dry white wine
12 ounces tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds rigatoni
1 cup whole almonds, skins on, toasted*, crushed coarsely
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano, or other Pecorino such as Sardo or Sicilian, or
other sharp cheese [I've substituted Asiago with good results]
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook the carrots, onion and garlic in
the oil until aromatic. Increase the heat to high. Add the pork and sear it.
Add the wine, let it evaporate for about 30 seconds, then add tomato paste, 1
1/2 cups water, and salt. Stir well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover
and simmer until the pork can be shredded by pulling it apart with a fork,
about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Shred the pork, return to the sauce, and set it aside.
Coat a baking dish, approximately 9x12x3 inches with oil.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Toss the pasta with the crushed almonds,
cinnamon, pepper, meat sauce, and all but 3/4 cup of the cheese. Pack in the
baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pasta rest in
it for an additional 15 minutes before serving.
* To toast the almonds: In a heavy cast iron skillet over medium heat, very
quickly stir the almonds with 4 tablespoons of olive oil until they crackle.
Remove from skillet and blot with paper towels. Allow almonds to cool before
crushing and using.
Source: Mimmetta Lomonte's Classic Sicilian Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1990)
Serves 10 [as a first course]
Submitted by: Pete on March 4, 2014, 6:50 pm
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