Pasta with Pork in Garlic-Wine Sauce
Spruce vinegar and salt-cured spruce buds add interesting highlights to the sauce, but aren’t necessary to the success of the dish. If you’re among the 99.99% of people who don’t have either ingredient, red wine vinegar and capers work equally well. For capers, I prefer the taste of salt-cured; when I can’t find salt-cured, I use capers in brine. If using artisan-cured pancetta or salt-cured capers, they may be quite salty, so be careful not to over-salt. Bacon may be substituted for pancetta; it adds a pleasant smoky flavor.
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), cut in 3/4” dice
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed
1 Tbsp. spruce vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 thick slices pancetta, cut in 1/4” dice (1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion, 1/8” dice
1/4 cup sun-dried or regular tomato paste
1 Tbsp. salt-cured spruce buds or capers, well-rinsed and minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock
Mix the pork, garlic, peppercorns, and vinegar and let marinate at least 1 hour (overnight is fine).
Sauté the pancetta in olive oil until it begins to brown. Add the pork mixture and cook until the pork is browned on all sides. Stir in the onion, using the moisture in the onions to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the onions soften and begin to turn golden. Stir in the tomato paste until it is thoroughly combined. Mix in the wine and cook until it is reduced by half. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 40 – 45 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and toss it with the pork sauce. Serve sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese.