I have a favorite cooking pan. It is the one I reach for when I am sauteing or braising meat. It is a very large pan – 13 inches across. You can brown a lot of meat at a time.
It is a very deep pan – 6 inches deep. The contents can sizzle and spit and everything stays IN the pan.
It is a very heavy pan – 10 pounds. But two handles make it easy to handle. The bottom of the pan is very flat. It cooks so evenly there are no hot spots to burn its contents.
It cleans beautifully – shiny as a new silver coin. Amazing when you realize this same pan had been used several thousand times in our little French restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro. I have great affection for this pan.
I use this perfect pan to make Southern Italy dish PORK RAGÙ with polenta. Pieces of boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt) browned in olive oil are slowly simmered in a robust rich wine tomato sauce fragrant with fresh thyme and rosemary. Then it’s served over the creamiest, most luxurious polenta you have ever tasted.
I also use my perfect pan to make polenta. Think of polenta rich with whole milk, unsalted butter seasoned with a little brown sugar and fine sea salt. Grate a little Parmigiano-Reggiano over it. Sprinkle the polenta with chopped fresh parsley and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and you have polenta that is the stuff dreams are made of. Polenta that compliments superbly your lovingly prepared Pork Ragù.
There is a secret to this type of cooking. The Pork Ragù tastes even BETTER after it dreams away in the refrigerator for a couple of days. This makes it the perfect dish for entertaining. You simply carefully reheat the Pork Ragù and whip up the polenta. Even the polenta benefits from a tiny rest before being plated. If you have any left over Pork Ragù it makes a gorgeous sauce over pasta. It also freezes beautifully.
Have an Italian for dinner – cook PORK RAGU.