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pork and fennel pasta - no tomatoes...

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I'm thinking of cooking up a sauce for pasta by sweating chopped shallots, carrot and fennel then adding minced pork, browning, throwing in a bottle of white wine and leaving it to simmer for an ungodly length of time. I was thinking I'd serve with pappardelle type pasta and toss some toasted fennel seeds over the top.

Any tweaks anyone can suggest before I do this?

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  1. Sounds great, and like you're almost there. If anything, you might want to balance what will probably be a sweetish and potentially one-dimensional taste with something sharp/salty/more savoury--if only pecorino romano liberally tossed on at the end. Or try melting an anchovy in at the start, or mixing just a bit of saffron into the reducing sauce.

    1. There is a recipe for Pasta with Ginger and Garlic in an old NYT Cookbook that I have made in the past that is truly different. And excellent. It, I think, would be similar to what you are trying to concoct. Ingredients are Olive oil, carrot, garlic ginger, scallion, dried oregano, crushed red pepper, dry vermouth, butter and Parmesan cheese. The vermouth adds Anise flavor so as far as Fennel, I'd use one or the other.

      1. maybe a little cream?

        1. Gosh, that doesn't sound the least bit appetizing to me. Pork swimming in wine? I would definitely add some tomato sauce just to add a layer of flavor and cut the taste of the wine.

          1. I think a lot of that will reduce/get absorbed by the veggies and meat - it won't be as soupy as you think

            1. Ali Patts, I admire your willingness to experiment, and I think your instinct to add something is well-founded. I fear that the fennel and carrot will not, of themselves, rescue the pork from blandness, especially over pasta. I, too, prefer shallots to onion, but for this I think you need garlic, a stronger flavor. Pecorino romano would work, maybe even a little pancetta (?) to add some bite...not sure. Chicken broth, too? Well, you've got me thinking....

              1. My thanks to all for their thoughts.
                500g pork to, 1 (very large carrot), 1 medium onion and 1 fennel bulb. (sage thyme and a bottle of white)
                Was good, I used really good pork so it had 'pig' flavour (as was to be expected), the fennel didn't really come through as much as I had hoped so will have to use more next time or try and get my hands on some tops to throw in at the end.
                The toasted fennel seeds did really give some zing which was good (and a use for the damn things that I bought in Sicily as one should) and coarse grated pecorino romano was a good addition. Thanks again, this is definitely going on the good (freezable) cook-ups list!