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. HeatherChristo

    what an awesome recipe- Aida is really talented and this ragu looks as good as ll of her other recipes I have tried! A timer is one of the keys to my kitchen!

  2. Nancy V in Virginia

    My key to the kitchen is time: taking/making time to cook and enjoy it!

  3. Elissa Marcuson

    My key to the kitchen are shallots. They are great raw in dressings and great sauteed with other veggies. Just a great flavor enhancer!!

  4. Cori

    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!

  5. Shannon

    The key to my kitchen is LOVE! I love to cook, especially next to my husband!

  6. Aims

    The key to my kitchen are my collection of spices – they can jazz up any old dish!

  7. sarapete

    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!

  8. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    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.

  9. Kate

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

  10. Diane

    The key to my kitchen is to get everything prepped before I start to cook.

  11. Becki’s Whole Life

    This sounds like a fabulous dish – have never had a pork ragu but I love the idea of one! The key to my kitchen is having some good sharp knives!

  12. cathy from arizona

    The computer so I can look up new recipes or pull up an old favorite.

  13. Andrea

    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.

  14. Deanna

    Pantry staples and all fresh ingredients! And this ragu recipe looks fantastic!

  15. Susan P

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

  16. bebe

    The cookbook looks fantastic! My key to the kitchen is to keep a stocked pantry…

  17. Kim

    the key to my kitchen is i always have some sauce in the freeze because i dont buy jarred sauce!

  18. Sarah S

    The key to my kitchen is freshly ground spices, they make such a difference!

  19. Victoria

    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!

  20. Susan S

    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!

  21. Carol

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

  22. Randy Taylor

    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!

  23. Romie

    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!

  24. Heidi Babi

    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!

  25. Smo

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

  26. MaryB

    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.

  27. Carolyn

    My key to the kitchen is always having plenty of onion & garlic on hand.

  28. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    My key to my kitchen is cleaning as I go – that way I’m not so overwhelmed later on! Looks like a great book!

  29. Sabrina

    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.

  30. Phyllis

    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.

  31. Robin M

    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.

  32. katya

    this looks delicious. i like to always have flour and yeast on hand to make a pizza.

  33. DRTVrMoi

    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.

  34. Amy Tong

    My key to the kitchen? Fresh ingredients. 🙂 Would love to win a copy of this wonderful book!

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  35. Ashley

    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. 🙂

  36. Julie W.

    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.

  37. Annalise N.

    Salt and pepper can help turn a boring dish into one w/lots more flavor!