|Just how lovely does that look?|
I found this recipe on the excellent "A Glug of Oil" blog some two or three months ago. It immediately intrigued me in its use of dark chocolate, not least because of the conjunction with pork mince, but the use of tagliatelle instead of the more usual accompaniments of rice or vegetables. (More usual, that is, when accompanying mince - rather than accompanying a Sicilian dish).
I held onto it for two reasons. Firstly, because I needed a little time in which to "get my head around" the idea of using chocolate in this context, and secondly because we never seemed to have the right ingredients around at the same time.
I found myself, this week, with not only some red wine in the fridge but a small block of dark chocolate too. Bingo! I could break out the recipe at last.
I loved the result. The juxtaposition of the cinnamon and the dark chocolate beside the rich tomato and pork mince is not one I have experienced before, but boy oh boy is it good. I felt that the dish needed some herb input and opted for parsley (as that was the only remotely suitable herb I had to hand), but in retrospect I think that basil would have sat more easily beside the chocolate - which isn't a strong flavour, but is evident nonetheless.
This one will definitely re-appear on the menu list, as it resulted in clear plates all round.
SICILIAN PORK RAGU WITH CHOCOLATE (serves 3-4)
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g pork mince
175ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
15g dark chocolate
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
knob of butter
3-4 basil leaves, shredded
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat until soft but not coloured.
2. Now add the minced pork, stirring and breaking it up as you go. You may need to increase the heat to prevent the pork from braising. Allow the meat to brown slightly, but not burn.
3. Stir in the tomato puree, then the wine and turn up the heat to simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add the passata, cinnamon and sugar, then taste and season.
5. Simmer for around 10 minutes, then stir the chocolate in a little at a time.
6. Taste and adjust the seasoning and sugar if required.
7. Reduce the heat and slow simmer until the sauce is nice and thick.
8. Stir in the butter and basil leaves and serve immediately with Tagliatelle pasta.