Pork Ragu with Squash and Sage Pappardelle

This is one of those perfect fall dishes that takes advantage of the fall vegetables and herbs. Pork simmered in a rich and savory broth served with pappardelle, sage, and thinly sliced butternut squash.

Our fall vegetable garden, much like the season itself, is filled with color. Pumpkins, squashes, and gourds are bursting throughout the garden and I do mean bursting. These vine plants can take over a garden if you are not careful. I give them their own garden away from my stalks, but there is a movement towards three-sister planting.

Three-sister planting is the process of planting corn, beans, and squash together. The Three Sisters, work together to help one another thrive and survive. I tried it once but it really messed with my compulsive organization personality. It felt cluttered and messy and I just could not deal with it. So my pumpkin and squash live together in their own little plot and we all seem to be happy with that.

One of the benefits of having them off by themselves is I do not accidently step on or nick the rind as it ripens and readies for harvest. This will lead to rapid deterioration. This gives us plenty of pumpkins which we use for our Fall Festival that includes pumpkin bowling and painting. Activities loved by all the children. And it gives me plenty of butternut squash. I love cooking with butternut squash.

Benefits of Butternut Squash:

Butternut squash is rich in important vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. It is low in calories, rich in fiber, and can protect against conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, and mental decline. But I love how versatile and easily it is to cook with. It can be added to both sweet and savory dishes and the burst of color is so much fun to work in recipes. For this recipe I fried it in butter with fresh sage leaves and added to my pasta. Those little half-moons add a brightness to the dish and they are absolutely delicious fried. It adds crunch to an otherwise soft dish.

Ragu vs Bolognese:

I wanted to use a Ragu for this dish. I just like how its hearty, rich flavor compliments fall dishes and vegetable like butternut squash. The main difference between Ragu and Bolognese is that Ragu sauce is thicker in texture. It uses a full-body red wine like burgundy or cabernet sauvignon. Ragus are also heavier on meat and minced elements. Whereas Bolognese is more of a red sauce with meat, ragu is meat in a red sauce. I added a whole white onion and garlic cloves to give it a bold and savory full flavor and opted for pork. And believe me, it is bold and delicious!

Pork Ragu with Squash and Sage Pappardelle

Cedar Oak Farms
Do not be intimidated by the cooking time. It is a simmer and forget three hours that will make your home smell cozy and warm, filled with bold scents. Your neighbors might be stopping by with bowl in hand as this simmers and releases its fragrant aromas.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup strong red wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) canned pureed tomatoes
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 batch (4 servings) homemade pappardelle
  • salt
  • freshly grind black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cut the pork into 1” chunks. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch Oven. Add the pork, onions, garlic, and herbs to the pot and fry for 5 – 6 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste. Deglaze the roast in 2–3 steps with red wine. Boil it down completely with each addition. Add the chicken broth and pureed tomatoes. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer slowly over low to medium heat for 2 1⁄2–3 hours.
  • In the meantime, wash and core the butternut squash and cut into thick wedges. Use a vegetable slicer or mandolin to thinly slice the wedges together with the skin. Fry them with the butter and sage in a large skillet over a medium heat for about 4–5 minutes. Season with salt.
  • Cook the pappardelle in plenty of boiling salted water. Fresh pasta cooks up quickly, usually in 6 minutes, drain. Carefully fold in the squash.
  • Finally, season the pork ragu with salt, and pepper. Stir in the rest of the olive oil.
  • Plate the pappardelle and top with the pork ragu.
Keyword Pasta, Pork

Ginger Panna Cotta

Ginger panna cotta, a cross between pudding and cheesecake, is topped with whip cream and a freshly pressed apple cider granita. All those wonderful Fall flavors we look forward to ever season.

I only recently found, and fell in love, with panna cotta. Just the name alone, panna cotta, sounded complicated enough for me to avoid it. I’m not much of a dessert person to start with and I defiantly am not a baker of any sort. Give me a stock pot and a garden I’ll come away with someone wonderful. Sit down some flour, baking soda, and a copious amount of randomness and I’m like, uhmmm, what am I supposed to do now? So, yes, panna cotta made me shiver in complicated fear. I was wrong!

What is Panna Cotta?

Panna Cotta is Italian Pudding. Basically, it is simmered sweetened dairy, in this recipe I used heavy cream, thickened with gelatin. That’s it! You can add flavors and spices to the dairy and let it simmer into the milk, but it couldn’t be easier. The only thing you want to watch out for is splitting the cream. I avoid that my dissolving the gelatin separately and adding it to the simmered dairy off the heat. Do not let the dairy come to a boil. Boiling destroys gelatin’s thickening power and will split the panna cotta for sure.

Since Fall is in the air I choose to bring all those wonderful fall spices and fruits into the dessert. What could be better than ginger, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and apple cider frozen into an apple cider granita.

What is Granita?

Granita is fresh fruit simmered in water, blended and frozen until icy, flaked with a fork and frozen again. By using apple cider, half the work is already completed. Since granita is basically flavored shaved iced I was generous with the spices to really boost those flavors.

Ginger Panna Cotta

Cedar Oak Farms
Ginger panna cotta, a cross between pudding and cheesecake, is topped with whip cream and a freshly pressed apple cider granita.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Freeze/Refrigerate 12 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

For the Panna Cotta:

  • 1 envelope Knox gelatin
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

For the granita:

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions
 

For the Panna Cotta:

  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and set aside. Place the rest of the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Do not boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin milk. (This might look like a paste at this point, but not to worry. It is the perfect consistency.) Pour into 4 cocktail or wine glasses, filling halfway up. Place in the refrigerator until set, about 4 hours.

For the granita:

  • Mix all the ingredients together, and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. Place in a bowl and freeze for 2 hours. After two hours, mix with a fork and freeze overnight. When ready to serve scrape with a fork to resemble graham cracker crumbs. Reserve any unused granita in the freezer.

To Serve:

  • Serve the panna cotta in the glass, top with some freshly made whipped cream. Add the granita. The granita will melt quickly; serve immediately.
Keyword Custard

Spicy Beef & Noodles

A mild spicy aromatic broth, tender homemade pasta, and savory sliced beef.

How about some market inspiration before the next market. The ingredients in this recipe can be found at the market and in your pantry. So come on out to the market and get cooking.

From the Market:

Shaved Beef – Our beef comes from Cow Creek Organic Farm. We asked the butcher to shave some of the top round.
Coffee RubCedar Oak Farms very own spice blend. Robust and savory that provides a dark flavor this rub seals in the essences and juices of your meat.
Produce – Young green onion, radishes, garlic – Stop at Munger Manor Farm’s booth and pick up these farm fresh produces, but don’t stop there. They offer a wide variety of garden goodness.
Italian FlourJanie’s Mill Italian flour is the perfect pasta flour. It offers a highly-sifted, high-protein, flavorful flour that works well for this pasta.
Eggs – we do not keep eggs in the market, but our farm is close to others that offer fresh farm eggs and milk. We will be glad to direct you to them.

Pasta by Hand vs. Mixer:

Whether by hand or mixer the choice is yours. I prefer to mix the dough by hand because it allows me to feel the texture of the pasta and adjust the flour accordingly. Then I bring out the stand-up mixer to roll and cut. I do not have the upper body strength or workout ethic needed to roll out a thin, transparent dough. The first thing to keep in mind is pasta is very forgiving, so relax. A few simple adjustments will get you to the dough you desire. Here is the basic rule of thumb. If the dough is too dry, it will not form a ball. To moisten the dough, add 1 teaspoon of water. If it is too sticky, add 1 teaspoon of flour. Continue to add more water or flour as needed to bring the pasta to the correct texture.

So let’s cook!

Beef & Noodles in a Spicy Juice

Cedar Oak Farms
A mild spicy aromatic broth, tender homemade pasta, and savory sliced beef.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Pasta Roller & Cutter

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound *shaved beef
  • 1 tablespoon *Coffee Rub
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 *sliced early green onion separate the greens from the bulb
  • 2 cloves *minced garlic
  • 8 ounces beef broth
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish sauce

Pasta:

  • 4 **eggs room temperature
  • cups *Italian flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions
 

  • To get the meat well-seasoned take the beef out, sprinkle the coffee rub over the beef and toss to mix. Let the beef come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • Next, start on the pasta. You may use your stand-up mixer, but I like to mix with my hands. That allows me to feel the texture and adjust the flour as needed. These directions following that method. Whisk together the flour and salt and place on a flat surface. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the oil.
  • Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Add some of the egg to the center and gradually begin to add flour to the center. I add the eggs slowly to avoid overspill. Make another well, add more egg, and bring in the flour. Repeat this step until all the egg has been incorporated into the flour and you have a nice dough.
  • Knead the dough until the pasta is smooth and silky. Wrap the pasta in plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.
  • Cut the dough in half and shape into two balls. Working with one ball at a time roll the dough into a long oval strip. Pull in the sides as you work. You want the width to be just short of the width of your pasta roller.
  • Finish rolling the dough in a pasta roller starting at the widest thickness and working down to the smallest after each roll until the pasta is thin enough to see your hand through. This will produce a long strip of pasta. Now is where the stand-up mixer comes in handy. You can roll the dough into a spiral and cut by hand, but I like the uniformed cut that you get from a pasta cutter.
  • Attach the fettuccine pasta cutter to the mixer. Cut you pasta strip in thirds or half and slowly guide through the cutter. Lay one end of the pasta on a parchment lined baking sheet and begin to circle and lower until you have a nice round ball of cut pasta.
  • Repeat until all the pasta has been rolled out and cut. Set aside.
  • Start a pot of salted water bringing to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and sliced onion bulbs. Sauté 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and soft. Add the beef. Cook until all the meat is just brown. Do not overcook or the beef will be too tough. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
  • Using the same skillet add the broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes bringing the flavors together. Add the wine and continue to cook until reduced to about half. Stir in the horseradish sauce. Lower the heat to low and let simmer while you cook the pasta.
  • Place the pasta into the boiling salted water. Fresh pasta only needs 6 minutes in the water. Drain.
  • Divide the broth evenly between serving bowls. Top with a serving of pasta and shaved beef. Garnish with sliced radish and the sliced onion greens.

Notes

* Available at the “Market on the Farm” at Cedar Oak Farms.
** Available at a neighboring farm.
Keyword Beef, Coffee Rub, Pasta

Shrimp Alfredo

Jumbo shrimp seasoned in a lemon basil seasoning, pan seared to perfection and tossed with a creamy cheesy alfredo sauce, garden fresh broccoli, roasted bell pepper, and homemade fettuccine.

Shrimp Alfredo

Cedar Oak Farms
Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 bell pepper, roasted and diced
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 ounces fresh parmesan, shaved

Basil Lemon Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon COFarms basil lemon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Grind together all the basil lemon seasoning ingredients. Can store in an airtight container for up to a year.
  • Rinse shrimp, pat dry, and sprinkle with basil lemon seasoning.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. For a super fresh option use homemade fettuccine. Super easy to make and delicious! Add broccoli florets to water about 2 minutes before cooking time ends.
  • Meanwhile, roast the red pepper over the fire on your stove’s burner until charred and skin slightly bubbled. When cool enough to handle dice the pepper. Use a colorful pepper like red, orange, or yellow to add color contrast to dish.
  • Reserve 1 cup pasta water for sauce. Drain pasta and broccoli in colander, shaking to remove as much water as possible.
  • Return the pot to medium-high heat, add cream, and bring to a boil. Add parmesan cheese, remove from heat, and stir until smooth.
  • Add the roasted pepper, pasta, and broccoli to the pot and stir until sauce coats pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and set aside. Sauce will thicken as it rests. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time to smooth sauce.
  • Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoon olive oil and shrimp to hot pan and cook until opaque but firm, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Plate the pasta on plate and top with shrimp.
    Shrimp Alfredo

Notes

Recipe Inspiration for our Basil Lemon Salt.
Keyword Basil Lemon Salt, Fish & Seafood, Pasta

Sausage Meatball Pizza

Tender, flavor-packed meatballs dipped in a spicy red-pepper sauce then layered with a ricotta cheese blend and caramelized onions over a handmade pizza crust take this pizza to a whole new and indulgent level. 

Sausage Meatball Pizza

Cedar Oak Farms
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 2 Pizzas

Ingredients
  

Meatballs:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon *Cedar Oak Farms spaghetti seasoning
  • 1 pound *Whistling Hen’s “Mama’s Hot Italian” Sausage
  • 1/2 pound *Cow Creek Organic Farm ground beef

Never Fail Pizza Crust:

  • cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups of *Janie’s Mill pizza flour + extra for kneading

Pepper Sauce:

  • 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon *Cedar Oak Farms spaghetti seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Coarse salt

Additional Toppings:

  • Arugula
  • 6 ounces *Ludwig Farmstead Creamery Mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 ounces *Ludwig Farmstead Creamery Kickapoo, shredded

Instructions
 

Meatballs:

  • In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, milk, onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and spaghetti seasoning. Crumble the meat over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1” meatballs. Place in a rimmed baking pan.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes.

Pizza Crust:

  • Meanwhile, in a 2-cup measuring cup measure out the water. Add **molasses and yeast, mix. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into a food processor bowl. Add the olive oil and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds. Slowly begin to add the flour one cup at time, mixing for 2 minutes between additions. Turn the dough onto a floured board. The dough will be very sticky at this point so sprinkle some extra flour on top.
  • Knead adding additional flour from the board until no longer sticky, about 5 – 6 kneads is all that is needed. Place a warm, moist towel over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • When the meatballs are done remove from oven but do not turn off oven. Roll the dough into a ½-inch thick circle, or two ovals, dusting the pizza dough with flour as needed. Poke holes in the pizza dough with a fork to prevent bubbles. Bake in 350°F oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Sauce:

  • In a high-power blender or food processor, combine roasted peppers, garlic, basil, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Blend the mixture on high until well blended and smooth.

Toppings:

  • In a small bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Kickapoo, spaghetti seasoning, and egg until blended. Set aside until ready to use.
  • In a skillet add the onion and ***enough olive oil to coat the onions. You want to use a large skillet to allow the onions enough room to absorb the heat and caramelize. Sauté on medium-high heat.
  • Using your fingers pinch the salt and scatter about the onions to draw out the moisture. Your onions will first get soft, then juicy. As they cook, they will begin to brown, or caramelize. In all this will take about 10-15minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

To Assemble:

  • Spread the cheese mixture over the crust. Add some of the caramelized onions. Roll the meatballs in the red pepper sauce and arrange the meatballs and some of the sauce over the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle the cheese blend over the top. Bake at 425°F for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and top with fresh arugula. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Available in The Market at the Farm!
**The molasses is the magic to a never-fail crust. The yeast feeds off the sugar in the molasses creating perfect proof. It just doesn’t get any pretty than that. I use molasses to keep the crust from getting too sweet but, you can substitute honey, corn syrup, or sugar if you prefer.
***I have the best results if I place the onion in a bowl and drizzle the oil over the top using my fingers to massive the oil and evenly coat the onions.
Do not let the ingredients or steps discourage you. You are going to love the flavor and texture of this crust and the flavor combo of the other ingredients. 
Keyword Pizzas & Flatbreads, Spaghetti Seasoning