Pork and Pancetta Ragú

You guys! This is seriously the best ragú recipe on the face of the earth. It’s obscenely delicious. I wanted to eat the entire thing straight out of the pot, by myself, with a spoon, and a hunk of crusty baguette. I literally had to do everything in my power not to eat it all by myself before my husband came home. For reals. And do you want to know what it’s the best ever?!? Well because it’s from my dear dear friend Aida’s new cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen!

It’s basically the best book out there. And I have officially made it my new go-to kitchen reference book. It’s LOADED with information from super simple techniques to fun ideas that you can use to explore your own creativity in the kitchen. Brilliant. I’m in love.

Aida is seriously one of my favorite people out there and she’s been my trusty resource for all things food for a number of years now! It all started years ago, but I knew after our 5 day road trip extravaganza to Austin, Texas we were going to be friends forever :) It never ceases to amaze me how much that woman knows about food! It’s fascinating to listen to her talk, and now we can all enjoy her wealth of knowledge in her first cookbook! If I’m ever in need of a recipe, I know that I can always trust Aida’s to be polished and delicious.

If you guys only wanted to buy 1 cookbook for the rest of this year, this would be it! It’s the best. And I feel confident tackling any kitchen extravaganza with this book in hand!

And because it’s so amazing, and I think you should all have it, and I would buy it for each and every one of you if I didn’t have to pay my rent, I’m giving away 1 copy instead! Just leave a comment on this post letting me know what your key to the kitchen is!! I’ll start… mine I always having fresh citrus on hand. You’d be surprised how much a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice can brighten up a meal! The winner will be picked next Wednesday on Halloween! 

To celebrate the launch of Aida’s book, I’m jazzed to say that I’m part of a super fab virtual dinner party.  You should check it out for sure.

And if you wanna learn a little more about Aida and her book, you should totally watch her promo video. It’s amazing. She’s gorgeous, and she is a total star on camera!

Here’s where you can buy the book….

// Amazon // Anthropologie // Barnes & Noble // Chronicle Books //

Real Deal Pancetta and Pork Ragú

Real Deal Pancetta and Pork Ragú

Like I said, this is a mouth watering dish and you are going to love it! You can serve it with some freshly made pasta, or with a loaf of bread, or by itself!


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into a small dice
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine
  • One 28 ounce can tomato puree
  • One 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves picked, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


  1. Line a plate with paper towels; set aside. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 6 minutes. If the pancetta lets off a lot of fat, discard all but 3 tbsp of drippings. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon to the prepared plate and set aside.
  2. Return the pot to the stove over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and bay lead and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground meat and stir to break up. Once the meat starts to brown, after about 10 minutes, add the tomato paste and stir until evenly mixed. Add the wine, tomato puree, and the diced tomatoes with juice and cook until the tomatoes start to simmer, about 10 minutes,
  4. Add the milk, 1 tbsp kosher salt, and butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to very low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and reduced by about one-third, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Taste the sauce and add the sugar if the sauce is sour. Stir in the reserved pancetta, sliced basil and cheese; tate, and adjust seasoning as needed.

Don't know what to make,
or how to make it?
I've got you covered! Check out all my recipes here
recipe index


  1. Gaby – I’ll join you next time you want to sit around with baguettes and eat loads of ragu — that’s right up my alley! Thanks for sharing Keys To The Kitchen with everyone here and for all your awesome support. Big xs and os!

  2. Looks really good. I am going to have to try it soon. Relax and enjoy cooking with your family.

  3. My key to the kitchen is to always cook more than I need, so I have a back up plan for lazy days. This cook book looks amazing!

  4. I need some of that Ragu – it looks wonderful and I’m certain it’s delicious.
    The key to my kitchen is to have fun and be adventureous and always try new things!

  5. Key to the kitchen – call me crazy, but I freeze our trash – we don’t waste half full trash bags that litter our landfill and the kitchen never smells. We freeze meat fat scraps and veggie scraps – anything that will eventually stink. I empty on trash day. It makes for an always pleasant kitchen.

  6. Key to my Kitchen–plan ahead…just a loose plan but so I’m not stressing and have yummy food to look forward to in the week. Love Aida’s book…it’s on my Christmas wish list!

  7. I always keep a bottle of wine on hand. It’s perfect for adding a little extra flavor to sauces and even more perfect for the chef to enjoy (i.e. me!).

    My other secret is to have a glass Pyrex storage bowl ready to go or my fiancé (aka The Beau on my blog) will seek out and eat all potential leftovers before dinner is over!

  8. My key to the kitchen is being organized. I recently overhauled my pantry and all my cabinets and drawers so that ingredients, utensils, spices, gadgets, etc are located near where they’re actually needed. I can’t believe how much time this has saved, and how much more I look forward to spending time in the kitchen!

  9. that cookbook looks right up my alley! my key to the kitchen is my new found love for grapeseed oil! :)

  10. Organization! I make a weekly grocery list with my recipes for the week and yes this includes Football Sunday snacks! I do everything I can the night before to make the next dinner quick and easy to prepare. It works great with a busy life style and also keeps me on track to eating healthy.

  11. My key to the kitchen is leftovers! I am a graduate student and as much as I LOVE to cook, there are days where I simply don’t have the time!

  12. I’m with you Gaby – Aida’s book would be my first choice for everyone looking for a cookbook – it’s brilliant! As is the gorgeous Aida!

  13. This Ragu sound delicious and I will try it tonight. My key to my kitchen is to always have cilantro and avacados as you can do so much with them in a meal.

  14. That looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it! My key to the kitchen is to always have plenty of good wine, ice cream in the freezer, and the number for a decent pizza place, just in case! Can’t go wrong!

  15. Saw this recipe on Pinterest and I can NOT wait to try it! Love Aida!

    The key to my kitchen would have to be garlic… it doesn’t go in everything, but pretty close! :)

  16. A clean and organized kitchen is the only way I can make something without stressing out about not having anywhere to put dirty dishes, etc.

  17. My mouth is literally watering just reading the ingredients! This is a recipe my hubby would L<3VE, and I can't wait to try it. Thanks for posting! I'd love to win a copy of this great cookbook, and promise to pay it forward, by buying a friend a copy too :)

  18. Holy wow this looks fantastic! My key to the kitchen is having homemade chicken stock on hand. Whenever I buy a Costco rotisserie chicken, instead of tossing the carcas, I make stock! It’s so nice to have on hand and the depth of flavor far exceeds the boxed kind. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  19. Wow that looks delicious…

    My key to the kitchen? hm… Well since my husband and I are both in college and grad school my key to the kitchen is whenever I make something tasty, make lots so we have leftovers. :)

  20. My key to the kitchen is reading a recipe ahead of time and doing all of the prep work so you can just start creating without worrying about missing an ingredient or cutting up an onion while your olive oil simmers away! Also, cleaning as you go is GREAT. Thanks!

  21. My key to the kitchen would be music. Nothing is better to me than to mix brownies or cookies while listening to Lauren Hill or 90’s RNB. No matter how the food turns out, I enjoy the process of making it.

  22. Thanks for the giveaway! My key–roll with it. Cook whatever sounds good at the time, add whatever seems to go with it, taste as you go, add until it’s right. I start with recipes, and then add to create my own custom creations.

  23. My key to the kitchen – having friends over to cook together as often as possible. Makes life so much more fun and everyone has leftovers!

  24. Oh, wow, this sounds so good. I am drooling just reading and looking at the pictures.
    Can’t wait to try this, just hope the commissary carries pancetta.
    And adding pork to a ragu , would have never even crossed my mind.

    Thanks for posting it :)

  25. Mmm!

    My key to the kitchen is simply this: very sharp knives. My life changed when I got the most perfectly sharp chef’s knife as a wedding gift. It makes prep work so much easy, so quick, and so fun. I couldn’t cook without it.

    *One downside is that once you get used to it, you can never ever go back. After about year of using my amazing knife, I was at a friend’s house for dinner, and offered to dice tomatoes and other veggies and cut up a watermelon, because “I LOVE chopping things up! I could do it all day!” Her knives were horrible, and I hated my life for those 20 minutes… yeah, it took about that long.

    Great giveaway! Thank you!

  26. My key: parchment paper! It’s so useful for baking and prep work. I like to pile chopped ingredients on pieces of parchment instead of in bowls so I have less to clean.

  27. My key to the kitchen would be to always take that extra step to prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. Makes the whole process go a lot smoother, and nothing gets burned because you were chopping vegetables when you should have been sautéing the onions.

  28. Love this recipe – can’t wait to try it. My key to the kitchen is having good olive oil on hand all the time..for salads, breads, saute vegetables, everything – my Italian husband taught me this trick of the trade.

  29. I always have chocolate chips on hand in the kitchen. Great for last minute desserts or just as a quick snack to tide me over. I know it isn’t gourmet, but they are a necessity!

  30. I always keep a couple packages of pasta on hand. My kids love anything pasta and you can really clean out the fridge and add it in!

  31. Seriously the best ragú recipe on the face of the earth? wow, ok now I really have to try this! I have a go-to pork shoulder ragú recipe that I make all the time. . but you’ve convinced me to try this one! :)

    My key to the kitchen is always having fresh fruit and veggies around. Always.

  32. The key to my kitchen is fresh basil. It goes in everything from sauces to dips to pasta to cocktails…it’s my favorite!

  33. Delish! Can’t wait to try this! I would have to say my key to the kitchen is garlic, I start most recipes with garlic.

  34. My key to the kitchen is organization…….makes cooking/baking so much easier! Would love to win the book. It looks amazing!

  35. Key to the kitchen- a husband who is a better cook than I! We both love to cook and eat at home-alone or with family and friends!

  36. That Ragu sounds amazing. My key to the kitchen is don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. You might just surprise yourself!

  37. My key to the kitchen is try something new atleast weekly if not more often. Nothing worse than the boring same old same old.

  38. This looks incredible! My key to the kitchen: Cooking is an experiment. Always make a recipe following directions the first time. Then make it your own!

  39. My key is my freezers full of produce from my garden & my herb basket which goes outside in summer & back in before 1st frost. This cookbook looks wonderful for using all of the above! Thank you for this great giveaway!

  40. This sounds amazing… I think I will make it for dinner tonight! My key to the kitchen: you can never have to much fresh garlic and onions!

  41. Beer or Wine! Great enhancer and always good for the cook to have some while preparaing one of these scrumptious recipes.

  42. My key to the kitchen is the same as yours! I love having fresh citruson hand – lemon or lime – to brighten up a dish. The book looks awesome. Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  43. That looks good. I agree with Paula have fun and always have cereal as a back up plan if a meal doesn’t come out good.

  44. The key to my kitchen is to always be stocked up on key ingredients. When I shop for groceries, I always buy at least two of everything, so that I know I’ll have it on hand.

  45. I have always enjoyed watching Aida on the cooking channel. I like to try new recipes all the time. I think that is the only way to learn and to expand your taste.

  46. My key is my darling husband. He does all the cooking, while I read the blogs and print out recipes. His key is vanilla. It’s a genius add to savory dishes.

  47. The key to my kitchen is definitely organization! If I make a list and go to the store once a week with meals planned, the rest of the week goes smoothly! And, wine, it keeps me sane. :)

  48. The key to my kitchen is to buy the best ingredients that I can. Also having a few key pieces of equipment (my Wusthof knives, my Kitchen Aid mixer and my Le Creuset dutch oven) to work with.

  49. This does look awesome! My key to the kitchen is delicious sea salt, always on hand at my house!

  50. the key to my kitchen is my Le Crueset rubber scrapers that sit on my countertop – they come in handy for so many things and I never have to worry about them melting!

  51. Mykey to the kitchen is having loads of fresh seasonal produce on hand! I love finding new ways to prepare them.
    That is why I love your blog – so many great ideas.

  52. This sounds amazing! With the colder weather this week-end, this will be on our menu for sure. I always make sure that my dried seasoning are not old/stale. Always having your seasonings “fresh” and handy will bump up the flavor of your foods.

  53. My key is to have good vanilla, great spices, and enough time on your hands not to feel rushed :)

  54. There is no single key to my kitchen. Chiles, whole grains, lemon, and mushrooms easily end up in most of my meals. I suppose we can go with the obvious one: salt. Salt is the most dominant one in my kitchen.

  55. Invest in a little coffee grinder for spices. They are so much more flavorful when freshly ground!

  56. My “key ingredient” is my sexy husband! When the two of us cook, the meal is especially good. He is the firehouse chef and is amazing. The family that cooks together stays together.

  57. I always try to have onions, great olive oil and lemon juice because they are key items in my kitchen. However, I think my key is being creative with the fresh ingredients that I have on hand.

  58. My key is to have cans of diced tomatoes on hand! Can make a lot with a can of diced tomatoes and whatever random veggies and/or meat you have in the fridge or freezer!

  59. The key to my kitchen is the holy trinity! (Onions, garlic, shallots) I ALWAYS have a basket with all of these on hand… great start to just about any recipe! :)

  60. This looks gorgeous! My key is that if a recipe calls for garlic, vanilla, or booze, I always triple the amount!

  61. My key is having the book How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman! We got it as a wedding gift a year ago! I try to use the internet as little as possible when cooking because it’s taking me out of the kitchen groove to have to rinse my hands all the time and scroll on my laptop. This book is AWESOME! It explains things from boiling the perfect egg to chopping all sorts of vegetables like artichokes!
    Also, a great Husband and su chef helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>