I love the rich, hearty flavors of pulled pork ragu – tender shreds of pork in a rich marinara sauce with lots of garlic, fresh herbs, and a healthy dose of red wine. It’s a flexible main dish that can be served over pasta, polenta for a gluten free version, or zucchini noodles if you’re paleo. This easy weeknight recipe is made using leftover pulled pork for a fast and comforting meal you can pull together in under 45 minutes. No crock pot or pressure cooker required!
If you’re anything like me, you’re a fan of pulled pork not just for it’s kick ass flavor, but for it’s versatility. Citrus carnitas? YUM. Enchiladas? Gimme. Pulled pork sandwiches? Holla!
But if you’re also like me, you get…um…frustrated with having to cook a huge portion of pork shoulder for each recipe. That’s why I created a basic, super customizable pulled pork recipe that works with endless cuisines and flavors. I can pull out a pound or so at a time and toss together easy weeknight meals in just a fraction of the time the more in-depth parent versions take.
I’ve adapted a handful of my favorite pulled pork recipes into quick and easy 45-minute or less versions and I’ll be sharing them with you over the next few weeks or months – basically, whenever I feel like it. As promised, today I’m going to share my adaptation for weeknight pulled pork ragu.
Pulled pork ragu is one of those deliciously comforting, slow-cooked hearty meals that warms you up from the inside out. It makes all the dreary wearies go away. The only drawback? It takes for-like-ever to cook. At least 4 hours. But by using leftover pulled pork, it’s ready in under 45 minutes, making it perfectly doable when you need a bit of savory comfort on a weeknight.
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Weeknight Pulled Pork Ragu Recipe Notes
First things first – get your hands on some leftover pulled pork. If you’re super prepared, you’ll have some stashed away in the freezer for just this purpose. If you’re trying to use up a whole mess of leftover pulled pork from something else, you’re in the right place!
To make this recipe you’ll need a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot. You’ll start by sautéing some onions in your fat of choice, and then adding in a little garlic. Add a few glugs of dry red wine for complexity, and then add the leftover pulled pork along with some crushed tomatoes, herbs, and seasoning. Simmer, simmer, simmer…’bout 20 minutes should do it.
Taste for seasoning, and you’re done. Ladle over pasta, polenta, or zoodles and dive on in.
Pulled Pork Ragu Serving Suggestions and Dietary Modifications
Guys, not only is this recipe easy, but it’s super customizable to lots of dietary persuasions. In the winter I serve it over whole wheat pasta or polenta. In the summer I like it over zucchini noodles. Here’s quick n’dirty run-down of how adapt it to your dietary preference.
Make it Gluten-Free: serve as-is over polenta or gluten-free pasta
Make it Paleo: swap out butter for ghee or avocado oil; serve over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
Make it Whole 30: swap out butter for ghee or avocado oil; substitute 2 tbsp tomato paste for the red wine (for richness); serve over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
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Pulled Pork Ragu
This easy pulled pork ragu - made with leftover pulled pork - has been adapted from its lengthier parent version into a fast, comforting, weeknight meal.
- 2 tbsp butter, ghee, or avocado oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves smashed and minced
- 1 c. red wine
- 1 lb cooked pulled pork
- 1 large carrot shredded or julienned
- 1 28-oz can pureed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium high. Add butter and heat until it foams and subsides (or heat other fat until shimmering). Add the onion to the fat and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pot with the red wine and cook until the wine stops bubbling.
Add the pulled pork, carrots, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the dutch oven and give everything a good stir.
- Reduce heat to medium low, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is a deep red, 20-25 minutes.
- Fish out the bay leaf and thyme and rosemary stems. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Ladle over cooked pasta, polenta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.