Pork, Fresh Tomato and Fennel Seed Ragù (Ragù di Maiale al Pomodoro Fresco e Semi di Finocchio)

This summertime ragù is more elegant than ragù alla Bolognese and takes less time. It is best over fresh pasta, but as seen in the photo it is great on spaghetti or other store-bought dry pasta, too. As with many … Continue reading Pork, Fresh Tomato and Fennel Seed Ragù (Ragù di Maiale al Pomodoro Fresco e Semi di Finocchio)

Homemade Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly. I had looked into making it myself before, but the recipes I found required a curing chamber. A curing chamber is a cabinet with controlled temperature and humidity. Even for me it seems over the top to own one. But then I realised that pancetta was originally invented to preserve pork belly when refrigerators had not yet been invented (let alone curing chambers), so I figured that a cellar should do the trick as well. We don’t have a cellar, but in winter our garage comes pretty close with a temperature around 16ºC/60ºF. So I compared many recipes I found online on Italian blogs, on American blogs, and in the end based my first homemade pancetta upon a Dutch blog called missFromage (I bet Shanna likes that name!).

Making your own pancetta is quite easy and not a lot of work, it just requires a bit of patience. The result was great! My first homemade pancetta has a more elegant and detailed flavor than store-bought pancetta available around here. As an added bonus it is cheaper as well. Thanks missFromage for making it look as easy as it actually is! I will definitely make this again. Continue reading “Homemade Pancetta”

Smoked Ham Hock Sous-Vide

Ham hocks (pork shanks) are an inexpensive cut of meat. They can be turned into something delicious by first hot smoking them and then cooking them sous-vide. This is a technique I’ve used before on ham of lamb and brisket, and I wanted to try it on a ham hock. It was absolutely delicious. A light smoky flavor, tender and juicy. Many recipes call for brining the ham hock first, but there does not seem to be a reason to do this for this preparation. The sous-vide cooking allows the smoky flavors to penetrate all the way to the core of the meat and will turn the meat completely tender without drying it out. Continue reading “Smoked Ham Hock Sous-Vide”