I could tell you how easy this recipe is. That it practically cooks itself, and that it’s even better the next day. But instead, you should take this to heart as the only viable reason you need this in your life: all three of my children ate this.
Testing. Testing. Do you copy? That is a big deal. A BIG deal. And that alone is why I will be keeping a quart of this sauce in my freezer pretty much at all times. It’s impressive, yet easy to execute. Flavorful, but requires few ingredients. And it’s exactly what lazy Sunday cooking is all about.
What is sugo?
Oh man, if you’ve never had pork sugo before you’ve been missing out. ‘Sugo’ in Italian just means sauce, but pork sugo in particular is essentially a sauce made up of slow roasted pork that’s been cooked with tomatoes and wine. It’s all kinds of delicious, and it’s incredibly easy to make. But because the pork is cooked low and slow, it has time to develop a deep flavor that’s out of this world good.
What’s in this pork sugo?
To make this magic sauce, you’ll need pork shoulder that’s been cut into chunks, olive oil, onion, garlic cloves, canned crushed tomatoes, white wine, chicken stock, fresh thyme and oregano, red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, and Parmesan. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper too!
Depending on where you buy your pork, you may be able to have the butcher cut it up for you. It typically doesn’t cost extra, and it’ll save you a few minutes of prep once you’re back home.
How to make pork sugo
Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and then season generously with salt and pepper. Add the pork chunks to an oiled Dutch oven or skillet and sear on all sides, then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Sauté the onion and garlic in that same Dutch oven, then add the rest of the pork sugo ingredients in (including the pork you set aside). Next, slow roast the pork sugo for 2~ish hours. When you take the sugo out of the oven, shred the pork with two forks before stirring in a dash of apple cider vinegar.
Serve the sugo over pasta, polenta, or zoodles — whatever your heart desires. Just don’t forget to sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan!
Is there a white wine substitute I can use?
If you don’t have white wine on hand or simply prefer cooking without it, you can add in additional chicken stock instead. Note that the pork sugo won’t be quite as rich in flavor, but in a pinch chicken stock will work.
Tips for making pork sugo
After you’ve seared the pork, you want to sauté the onion and garlic in whatever’s left in the bottom of the Dutch oven. The residual grease from the pork is packed with flavor, and you do not want to waste it!
The same logic applies when you add the crushed tomatoes, white wine, and chicken stock into the pot. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently scrape off any brown bits at the bottom of the Dutch oven. They may not look pretty, but they are pure flavor and you definitely want that to be mixed into the sugo.
Lastly, the kids eat pasta weekly (carb lovers unite!), but if you’re avoiding delicious things like gluten, I can personally attest that this sauce is equally delicious served over a piping hot baked potato. Because it’s all about the sauce! Which, for a meat-based sauce, is surprisingly light.
If you make my pork sugo, please let me know by leaving a review below!
For additional easy dinner recipes, check out the following:
- Dutch oven or large, deep skillet with lid
- 2 lb pork shoulder (cut into 1″ pieces)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (finely diced)
- 5 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 8 large thyme sprigs
- 8 large oregano sprigs
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
- Preheat oven to 300 F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, then season generously on all sides with salt and pepper.
- In a large dutch oven or skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork (working in batches, if your skillet isn’t large enough to cook the meat in a single layer) and sear on all sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
- Add chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Pour in crushed tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up any brown bits, then add wine and chicken stock. Return pork to the pot, then bring liquid to a boil.
- Meanwhile, tie the thyme and oregano sprigs together with kitchen twine. Add herbs and red pepper flakes to the pot, cover, then transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2 ½ hours.
- When pork is fork tender, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. To shred the pork, either remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large mixing bowl or working directly in the pot use two forks to pull the meat in opposite directions.
- Add apple cider vinegar to the pot, then return pork and stir to combine. Serve immediately (over pasta? polenta? baked potato? FRENCH FRIES?). Sprinkle with Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.