orecchiette, pork, capers and white wine

Florence Knight

The pork in this dish is cooked slowly until tender and plump, having absorbed all the white wine and stock. I recommend using crisp, dry white wines such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, as they bring a fruity, mineral character and their acidity helps to cut through the fattiness of the pork. The dish is best finished with plenty of parmesan and, if you wish, a little more chilli.

serves 6

3 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely diced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
½-1 tsp dried chilli flakes, to taste
8 sage leaves, roughly chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
500g pork mince
180ml dry white wine
200ml chicken stock
60ml whole milk
35g capers (I use lilliput)
Zest of ½ small unwaxed lemon
340g dried orecchiette pasta
80g parmesan

Place a large heavy-bottomed pan over a low heat and warm the olive oil. Add the onion and ¼ tsp salt, cover with a lid and fry for 10-15 minutes until soft but without colour, stirring to make sure the onion doesn’t catch.

Stir through the garlic, chilli, sage and fennel seeds and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn up the heat and crumble in the pork mince — stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes to break it up. Pour over the wine. Once bubbling add the stock. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the meat is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the milk, capers and lemon zest.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente, reserving the cooking water. Stir the pasta into the sauce, adding two large ladlefuls of the cooking water so it binds together. Grate 30g parmesan into the pasta and stir to combine. Serve hot with plenty of freshly grated parmesan.