Although this recipe sounds fancy, the pork takes little effort and the braising liquid doubles as a creamy sauce. Place a pork shoulder in a simmering mixture of milk, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and shallot, braise until fork tender and shred. Reduce the braising liquid and blend it into a smooth sauce to mix with the pulled pork. If you feel like doing it all, make your own fresh fettuccine or just buy some good quality prepared pasta from the store. Serve with roasted Brussels sprouts on the side.
- Yield: 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 4 hours
- 1 (4 to 4-1/2 pounds) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or tenderloin removed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 medium shallot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 ounces fresh fettuccine
- Take the pork out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel and season with the measured salt and pepper; put aside.
- Place the milk, garlic, shallot, thyme and bay leaf in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the pork, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 75 minutes. Turn the pork over and continue cooking for another 75 minutes. Uncover and cook until pork is fork-tender and shreds easily, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer the pork to a cutting board.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the braising liquid, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits that have accumulated, until the liquid has reduced by half , about 25 minutes. (The sauce will look lumpy and curdled.) Meanwhile, prepare the meat and pasta.
- Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces, discarding large chunks of fat or bone; reserve the meat. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just hot and al dente. Drain, reserve 1 cup cooking water and set aside.
- Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the reduced braising liquid and transfer the liquid to a blender. Remove the small cap from the blender lid (the pouring lid) and blend on high speed until smooth, covering the gap with a tea towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the lid from blowing off). Otherwise, use an immersion blender.
- Return sauce to pot, add pulled pork and cooked pasta, and stir to evenly combine, adding reserved pasta cooking water as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.