Pork and Pancetta Ragú


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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.

Here’s where you can buy the book….

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

Real Deal Pancetta and Pork Ragú

Gaby Dalkin
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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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,
  • 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.

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  1. Amanda V

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

  2. Jan

    I love the freshness of citrus- lime or lemon – and also depend upon mustards and good olive oil! Too many?

  3. Amy Perciballi

    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!

  4. Mary Thompson

    i think the key is versatility.Improvise when possible with what you have.

  5. Alice

    having any kind of meat and beg in the fridge does the trick, but having a bit of cream on hand always seems helpful!

  6. Sheila

    I don’t have any keys in the kitchen! 🙁 That’s why I need this cookbook! 🙂

  7. catb

    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.

  8. Chile-Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs | Paleo, Grain Free recipe on FamilyFreshCooking.com — Family Fresh Cooking

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  9. Patty Jensen

    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.

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  11. Michelle

    I can’t live without peppers and onions…I hope I’m never without them!

  12. Kristina N.

    My key is to always have good flavored olive oil. And a plan. I’m such a planner.

  13. Kelly Guerin

    My key is to have good vanilla, great spices, and enough time on your hands not to feel rushed 🙂

  14. Sherry D.

    Organization! My meals and desserts planned out and all of the ingredients on hand.

  15. Amberle

    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.

  16. Christina

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

  17. Kris M.

    My key is making a weekly menu plan and grocery shopping every day so as not to waste food!

  18. Nora Powell

    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.

  19. Patsy

    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.

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  21. Jenni

    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!

  22. Wendi

    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! 🙂

  23. Stacey

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

  24. Liz

    My key to the kitchen is to have fun while cooking and always experiment. Also, a little white wine!

  25. Alicia Herron

    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!

  26. Megan Sexton

    Fresh garlic!! It makes such a difference using the fresh garlic vs. garlic powder. I’m always looking for ways to sneak it in.

  27. Nealey @ Dixie Caviar

    Oh man, I’m glad someone made this for Aida’s potluck. I was eying it hard!

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