Pork Ragù for a Crowd

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

If you are looking for a simple recipe to feed the multitudes, look no further. This robust sauce of stewed pork and sausages is easy to prepare and can be made well in advance. In fact, it is one of those magical recipes whose flavor improves if it is made ahead and then reheated. I like to serve this sauce over short sturdy pasta, such as rigatoni.

Cook's Note:

This recipe makes a lot of sauce, enough to serve up to 12 people as a main course with a salad on the side. Use as much as you need, depending on the number of people you are feeding (I generously estimate about a cup of sauce per serving) and freeze what is left in quart-sized containers.

Cooking Methodsauteeing, stewing



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, meaty, rich, savory, winey

Type of Dishpasta sauce, sauces


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (boston butt), in one or two pieces
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, diced (about 5 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 7 cups chopped canned tomatoes with their juices
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 large or 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound mild Italian pork sausage
  • Cooked short, sturdy pasta such as Rigatoni or Cavatappi
  • Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Generously season the pork all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot placed over medium-high heat. Set the pork in the pot and let it brown on one side for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn. Continue to brown the pork in this way until it is nicely seared all over. Remove the pork to a large bowl or plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions to the pot. Stir to coat them well, adding the 1 tablespoon of additional oil if necessary. Add the garlic. Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Return the pork to the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and pour in the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or so, and then add tomatoes, the bay leaves, and the rosemary. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Remove the sausages from their casings and crumble the meat into the sauce. Cover the pot and simmer the sauce gently (reduce the heat further if necessary) for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and shreds easily. Remove the meat to a cutting board and shred it. Return it to the pot and cook over low heat until the meat and sauce are completely heated through. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with additional salt if necessary.

To serve, toss the sauce with cooked pasta-the amount of pasta and sauce you use will, of course, depend on the number of people you are serving and how hungry they are. Count on at least ¼ pound per person if you are serving this dish as a main course. You can serve the pasta in a large, warmed serving bowl and let your guests help themselves at the table. Or you can dish it out into individual shallow rimmed bowls. Either way, sprinkle lots of freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano on top of the dressed pasta.



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Sadly disappointed in the results of this recipe. Nothing was awful, but there was nothing especially good about it, either. Won't be making this again.


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