Pork Sugo is your new favorite slow cooked meal. It’s bursting with rich tomato and wine flavor, cooked with pork shoulder, served with pasta or bread and topped with parmesan cheese. A meal you will most definitely eat too much of.
The first time I had Pork Sugo was only a few years ago. It was a dish I was trying out at work and instantly loved it. Although I eat it year round, it is the perfect comfort food for fall and winter.
Reasons to love Pork Sugo
There are SO many reasons to love Pork Sugo. For instance, my kids ate it. That’s a huge deal for me because they are extremely picky and dinner is like a wrestling match every night. So when I find something they eat, it’s like gold!
The next reason to love Pork Sugo is that it is SUPER easy to make. It basically cooks itself. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, I don’t know what would. Amazing flavor, little work. Yes, please!!
The third reason I love this dish is that it’s served with pasta or a hunk of crusty bread. The pasta and bread are the only items in the dish that contain gluten so you can easily make this dish gluten free by using gluten free bread or pasta.
Here are some of my favorite pastas to eat with Pork Sugo:
If you needed another reason to love Pork Sugo, here’s two more. It’s cheap and you will have leftovers. The ingredients in this sugo are mostly kitchen staples. That means you probably have most of them on hand. Chances are the ones you don’t have, like maybe the pork shoulder, are fairly cheap.
The leftovers taste just as good if not better the next day which is a huge plus for me. It’s nice to have a meal you can just heat up and serve on busy nights. Pork shoulder reheats very well and will stay tender and delicious.
What is Pork Sugo?
Sugo is an Italian word that means “sauce”. Pork Sugo is an Italian sauce made of pork, red wine and tomatoes. You sear the pork first to add even more flavor. Then you braise the pork in a sauce consisting of red wine, tomatoes, various herbs, veggies, jam and chicken stock.
You end up with incredible flavor and melt in your mouth pork. Any time you slow cook pork shoulder you end up with an extra bit of flavor that really adds to the dish. It takes it that extra mile.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Pork Shoulder – Boneless or bone-in both work. The amount in the recipe is for boneless
- Red Wine – I use Cabernet Sauvignon
- Crushed Tomatoes – Canned
- Olive Oil – I almost always use olive oil but canola or vegetable would work too
- Kosher Salt – Salt brings out the flavor of all the ingredients. I highly recommend kosher salt
- Black Pepper – I prefer course ground
- Fresh Thyme – I like fresh but you can substitute dry here. Use half the 1/3 the amount
- Crushed Red Pepper – This gives the Pork Sugo a little kick. If you don’t like spice then leave it out
- Dried Oregano – Possibly the only herb that I prefer dried over fresh
- Cherry Jam – Good quality
- Carrot – Carrots bring such a great flavor to any braise. Peel them first
- Onion – A staple flavor in braises and roasts
- Apple Cider Vinegar – This will brighten and bring out flavors in the Sugo
- Chicken Stock – I use chicken stock but if you happen to have pork then you can use that
- Pasta or Bread – Choose your favorite pasta or crusty bread
- Parmesan Cheese – Use a good quality parmesan cheese
Tips for the best Pork Sugo
- Don’t skip searing the pork, tons of flavor comes from the sear
- If you have a Dutch oven or a large enough cast iron skillet to braise in then use that. Doing everything from searing the pork to sautéing the veggies to the actual braise all in the same pot/pan will add flavor. This is the exact Dutch oven I use!
- If you don’t eat gluten you can sub gluten free pasta or a hearty gluten free bread or polenta
- If you don’t have cherry jam you can use fig or an orange marmalade
- Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive wine you can find. The one I use for this is under $15
- Check the pork periodically while braising, if the liquid looks like it’s running low simply add another cup of chicken stock
How to make Pork Sugo
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat your Dutch oven over high heat for 2-3 minutes until it is piping hot. While the Dutch oven is heating, season the pork with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Sear each side of the pork for 4-5 minutes until you have a nice dark brown crust on the outside. Remove it from the pan and set to the side.
In the same pan add a little more olive oil then add the onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Sautee the veggies until they have a nice brown color. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute then the tomato paste, cooking for one more minute.
Stir in the red wine scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven and stir well. Place the pork back in the pan, cover and braise in the oven until the pork is tender, about 4 hours.
If the liquid gets too low at any point while braising add a little chicken stock, about 1 cup. You definitely want a lot of sauce at the end.
Cook your pasta, shred the pork then stir them together. Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
If you make my Pork Sugo please leave me a rating and/or review below!
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- Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet
- 2.5 lbs pork shoulder boneless
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion medium dice
- 1.25 cups carrots peeled and large dice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 7 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ¾ cup red wine I use Cabernet Sauvignon
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp cherry jam
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper more if you like things spicier
- 1 lb fettuccini
- 1 tbsp kosher salt for the pasta water
- 1 tsp olive oil for the pasta water
- 4 quarts water for boiling pasta
- 4 oz parmesan cheese finely shredded with a microplane
Searing the Pork
- Preheat your oven to 300°F
- Heat a Dutch oven on top of the stove on high heat for 2-3 minutes until piping hot
- Season the pork on both sides with salt, pepper and olive oil. Sear the pork on each side for 4-5 minutes, until you have a dark golden brown crust. Set the pork aside
Sautéing the Veggies
- In the same Dutch oven add the olive oil then the onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. After 2-3 minutes add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute
Adding the Braising Liquid
- With the heat still on medium add the red wine and stir up all the bits off the bottom of the pan
- Add in the chicken stock, tomatoes, vinegar, jam, thyme, oregano and crushed red pepper. Stir it well, cover it and place it in the oven for about 4 hours
- Check the pork after 2.5 hours and make sure the liquid isn't getting low. If it is, add 1 more cup of chicken stock
- Once the pork is fork tender, pull it out of the oven and shred the pork in the sauce
Making the Pasta
- Boil 4 quarts of water and add the salt and olive oil. Boil your pasta until it's al dente then drain
- Mix the pasta with the Pork Sugo
Topping the Pork Sugo
- Serve each portion of the Pork Sugo and top with finely shredded parmesan cheese. Enjoy!