What a meal.
Frost in the forecast.
A warm fire.
A bunch of broccoli rabe.
A desire for a different pasta sauce.
And a package of ground pork that wanted a home.
It got a great one.
Ground Pork with Fresh Fennel, Broccoli Rabe and Two Tomatoes: A Sauce for Pasta
Inspired by Last Night's Dinner
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground pork
¼ cup dry vermouth
¼ cup chicken stock
½ large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large fresh fennel, chopped
1 large spoonful garlic confit
1-½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 tbsp fennel seed
1-½ tsp dried French thyme
1-½ tsp dried Turkish oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-15 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes and their juice
¼ cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1 bunch broccoli rabe, trim the stems, wash and chop
Medium pasta shells, cooked (enough for four)
Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat and add a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is wavy, add the ground pork and season well with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. When pork has cooked through, remove from pan and add a bit more olive oil.
Add fennel and Vidalia onions and let cook for about 10 minutes til soft. Add crushed red peppers, thyme, oregano and season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the garlic confit and let cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add the vermouth to the pan and stir well. Add the pork back to the pan and any drippings and stir well. Add canned tomatoes, the sundrieds and chicken stock. Let cook for about 30 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli rabe and bring back to a boil and let cook about three minutes. Remove the rabe from the water, add it to the pork mixture and let simmer while you cook the pasta. When pasta is done, drain it and add to the sauce. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Serves 4 generously.