Perfect, hearty football watching food, this Pork Ragu Pizza with Ricotta Salata needs no fork or plates needed. Just grab a slice and go. And there’s a bonus couple of extra meals built in to this one!
I’m not really much of a football fan, but my husband is a big-time Seattle fan, so that means I’ll be watching football! So I’m getting in the spirit the only way I know how … with football watching food. This pork ragu pizza is perfect – hearty, delicious and easy to grab and eat.
The built-in bonus with this dish, is that you’ll get some extra easy meals, too. You see, the pork ragu recipe here makes tons, so from one afternoon of cooking, you’ll get the ragu for the pizza, some ragu to have with pasta for dinner and some left-over to freeze for a quick and easy meal later.
Cook’s Notes for Pork Ragu Pizza with Ricotta Salata
So if you’re looking ahead to a football watching weekend, I suggest cooking up this ragu on Saturday afternoon, then enjoying some of it with pasta (or gnocchi) for dinner. Refrigerate the rest. Before going to bed Saturday, mix up your pizza dough and pop it in the fridge. On Sunday, simply take your pizza dough out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to bake your pizza and then when you’re ready to eat, quickly assemble the pizza and bake. If you have more ragu left after you’ve made your pizza (and you almost certainly will), put it in a freezer bag and freeze for a quick and easy meal later.
Just a quick note about Ricotta Salata, as it’s not a cheese that’s likely as well-known as some others. Ricotta Salata is ricotta cheese that has been salted, pressed and slightly aged, so it’s semi-hard and so can be grated. If you can find it, it’s a great choice and complements the pork ragu perfectly. If not, substitute freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino.
Pork Ragu Pizza with Ricotta Salata
- 2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut in to 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 lb pork sausage (loose, or remove casing from links)
- 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 7 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 28oz cans whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), hand-crushed
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups water at room temperature
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp. fine sea salt
For the pizza:
- Pizza Sauce
- Pesto Sauce optional
- Ragu Sauce
- Ricotta Salata or substitute Parmesan or Pecorino
For the Pork Ragu: In a large (at least 5.3 quarts!) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the pork shoulder cubes and cook, stirring, until cooked on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining pork pieces, adding more olive oil as necessary. Remove all to a plate. Add the pork sausage to the pot and cook until browned. Remove this to a plate as well.
In the same pot, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds or so. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another 45 seconds or so. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and allow to cook until the alcohol burns off, 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes to the pot, along with the pork pieces and sausage. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Keep heat at a level that is a gentle simmer.
At the end of the simmering time, using a slotted spoon, remove the pork pieces to a cutting board and using two forks, shred the pork. Return to the pot and allow ragu to cook another 10 minutes or so. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Allow to cool slightly, then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
For the Pizza Dough: In a large bowl of the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the kneading hook, combine the flour and water. Stir and let rest for 10 minutes. Add the yeast, olive oil and salt and mix for 2-3 minutes. Remove dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, then refrigerate overnight. Be sure to remove from the fridge 1 1/2 hours before you want to bake your pizza!
To assemble the pizza: Preheat oven to 465° F. with rack in the centre of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle some cornmeal over the parchment. Turn pizza dough out on to a well-floured surface. Coat in flour until it is not too sticky, then gently pat in to a rectangle shape. Remove to prepared baking sheet and gently press/stretch to fill the pan (you may need to let it rest a bit, if it keeps shrinking back). Spread dough with pizza sauce, then dot with some pesto sauce. Top with a generous layer of pork ragu.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes or so and cover loosely with foil if top is browning too much. Note that the dough is thick, so do be sure it is cooked thoroughly (30 minutes or so), even if the edges looked cooked earlier than that.