15 December 2010

Sicilian Pork Ragu with Chocolate : c/o "A Glug of Oil"

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.


Ingredients :

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g pork mince
175ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
500g Passata
15g dark chocolate
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
knob of butter
3-4 basil leaves, shredded

Method :

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.


  1. What are you trying to do to me Jenny.....!
    Here l am, 7:30,in the morn'in, lemon tea...AND...
    A Sicilian dish....where did l put those tissues.
    See ya later with the ducks, if l can catch them.....! :0).

  2. Thought l'd like to mention.............
    The Wines of Sicily..!
    Sicily, now, does produce some very good wines.
    I'll leave the whites, as they tend to be dry, but, light and fresh, mostly for fish dishes, and l don't really go for white wine.
    So, we have the famous Corvo wines,red and white.
    These come from the province of Palermo.
    The red is wonderful, soft and perfumed, as they say, and very fruity..!
    There is also a wine called Regaleali, which comes from my family home, on the slopes of Etna, near Catania. Rather pale in colour and with a smokey taste. (Nothing to do with the volcano).I actually climbed Etna on my 18th birthday......Wow....What a memory....! :).
    And, of course the most famous Sicilian wine is Marsala of course, a fortified wine.
    When l was a boy, my Mum used to beat a couple egg yokes up, with a teaspoon of Marsala, for tummy ache......And l used to give it to my daughter, when bringing her up....NEVER failed.
    But, over here it is mostly drunk as a dessert wine.
    Oh! and, l believe it was invented by an Englishman called Woodhouse, from Liverpool in 1773.(But, we'll keep that quiet).
    But, my most favorite wine, is still, Chanti, not Sicilian, l know....But. A nice Chanti Ruffino, would go down well with the above...Lovely!
    Before l go, l will tell you, my second name, Wine, is a stage name. I don't think l have to tell how l got it. All my life l've drunk wine, even got photo's of me in my high chair, it's something l can drink, and drink a lot of. (Even won money at it) naughty really. Can't consume much else, only wine. Just used to it, l suppose, well my blood's the same colour....! lol. :).
    This dish is especially nice Jenny...Lovely!
    I recommend people try it....With the Chanti, of course......!

  3. I thought this one might catch your eye, Willie! LOL I wasn't sure how truly "Sicilian" it was, but it seems that I've hit on a good one here. :) Which is terrific!
    Thanks for all the information on the wine. Believe it or not, I've really only recently come around to liking red wine, but nowadays I can very much enjoy a glass in the evening. I'll have to keep an eye out for that Regaleali!

  4. Pork and chocolate ... hmmm. I will have to try this - have only ever really heard of chocolate with venison. I have some chilli chocolate at the moment that might work.


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