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

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

Smoked Salmon Lasagna

Smoked salmon, spinach, white cheddar layered between sheets of pasta smothered in a rich béchamel sauce. But, it is the fresh dill that brings the dish alive.

Roux:

The secret to a great béchamel sauce is the roux. Roux is equal parts fat, usually butter, and flour. Béchamel sauce requires a white roux and is mainly used for thickening. You want to melt the butter on a heat high enough to melt th e butter but not so high it burns it, usually a medium heat. Be patience and let the butter melt slowly. Once melted remove it from the heat and whisk in the flour before returning to the heat. You only cook the roux long enough to eliminate the flour’s raw flavor, about 2 to 5 minutes. When done you have a silky paste the consistency of Elmer’s glue.

Photo by KARPENKOV DENIS on shutterstock.com

The amount of roux you need depends on the amount of liquid in the recipe. A good rule of thumb, For every cup of liquid you need a tablespoon of flour. So your roux would be one tablespoon of melted butter and 1 tablespoon of flour in this scenario.

Onions:

The mystery of an onion. When a recipe calls for an onion it doesn’t mean any ole onion will do. When I first starting cooking I would grab whatever onion I had on hand. Then I become all foodie snooty and learned that the color of your onion plays an important role in your recipes.

agriculture blur close up focus
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s a basic guide:

Red Onion: Best raw in salads, sandwiches, burgers, pickling, salsas.
Yellow Onion: Best for long cooking or sautéing in soups, stocks, risotto, sauces, stews.
White Onion: Can be used raw or cooked often called for in Mexican food, white sauces, pasta salads, or raw in salads, chili, and potato salads.
Sweet Onion: These are onion ring gold! They are great cooked or raw and work best in Gratins, roasted vegetables, onion rings, or raw in salads and on sandwiches. Tip: If you ever come across Maui Sweet Onion Chips grab two bags!

Smoked Salmon Lasagna

Cedar Oak Farms
Layers of spinach, leeks, salmon, and white cheddar between pasta sheets and covered in a béchamel sauce with undertones of dill.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine International
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 6 ounces smoked salmon

Bechamel sauce:

  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Filling:

  • 1 leek
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove

Other:

  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cups white cheddar, shredded
  • 16 ounces lasagna pasta sheets

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Add milk, onion, bay leaf, and cloves to a saucepan and warm.
  • Meanwhile make the roux. Melt the butter in a small pan, remove from heat, and whisk in the flour. Remove the onion from the milk and whisk in the roux. Keep whisking until you have a thick white sauce without any lumps. Set aside.
  • Clean and remove the bottom root from the leek. Slice in half lengthwise and then into half-moons. In a clean skillet, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the leeks, it should sizzle and crackle when the leeks hit the pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add the spinach to the leeks and season with salt. Place the garlic on the end of a fork and use it to gently toss the spinach and leeks giving it that nice garlic flavor. Once the spinach is wilted transfer to a bowl that has a colander inside and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  • Grease a lasagna pan or casserole dish with butter. Spoon a little béchamel on the bottom of the pan and add the sheets of pasta overlapping and filling in the bottom of the pan. Add some more béchamel over the sheets. Next, spread some of the spinach and leek mixture over the sauce and then add some of the smoked salmon. Now sprinkle some of the fresh dill on top. Spoon some more of the béchamel sauce the dill.
  • Just take a spoon and drizzle the sauce over the layers. You do not have to have the layer covered. It will all merge and come together in the baking process.
  • Season with freshly grind black pepper and cover with a third of the cheese. Spoon some béchamel sauce on top. Repeat the process starting with the pasta sheets and ending with the béchamel sauce. Add another layer of pasta sheets, béchamel and the rest of the cheese.
  • Place the lasagna into the oven and bake 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting. Garnish with fresh chopped dill and serve immediately.
Keyword Fish & Seafood, 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

Creamy Orzo & Mushrooms Plate

This creamy orzo dish is loaded with mushrooms and freshly grated Parmesan cheese with the most amazing garlic cream sauce. We added a pan-seared hanger steak and turn it into a main dish!

Creamy Orzo & Mushrooms Plate

Cedar Oak Farms
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3-4 pound hanger steak
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, destemmed
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions
 

  • Rub the steak with the salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes. (We used COFarms Smoked Sea Salt because, YUM!)
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the steak in the skillet and cook for 7 minutes, turning and moving the steak often to prevent burning. Add 4 tablespoons of butter, melting and spooning the butter over the steak as it finishes cooking, about 7 more minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and cover with foil. Allow the steak to rest for 8-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the orzo pasta and brown a bit. Transfer the orzo to a bowl.
  • Heat the olive oil in the skillet, when hot add onions and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Add in the garlic and oregano sauté for until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the orzo back to the skillet along with the chicken stock and half-and-half, stir to combine.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat until the pasta is cooked al dente, about 8 -10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cheese to melt.
  • Spoon the orzo onto a serving plate, slice the steak and serve over the orzo. Garnish with fresh oregano.
Keyword Beef, Pasta