All growing up I was asked if I was Italian. My maiden name, Larrinaga, has a European sound, so many just thought by my looks and by my name that I was Italian! Actually, my maiden name is Spanish in origin, but fairly close! ;) Either way, my dad was and still is an incredible cook, and makes some of the most delicious Italian food around. I think for him, growing up in New Jersey with the heavy Italian influence, really shaped his cooking and the food he gravitates towards.
When I think of my favorite meals growing up I think of my dad's (famous, none the less) spaghetti sauce, shrimp scampi, baked raviolis, and starting off any dinner party with antipasto.
With that influence in my own life, I have always had a deep affection for Italian food, and even got to spend a summer in Bologna, Italy a few years ago...definitely a dream come true.
If you're like me, you have definitely used Ragú pasta sauce plenty of times. Ragú's founder, Assunta, made the voyage from Italy to America with her family’s recipe for tomato sauce – a secret combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, fennel, garlic and ground pepper, meticulously writing down every detail and hiding it for safe passage. She must have known she was onto something when the neighbor’s raved about it. Then the neighbor’s neighbors, and the word spread. I kid you not, this is how my dad's sauce has been! Although he doesn't have a famour company now from it, ha!
Assunta grew up during the Great Depression, just like my dad, and struggled immensely for it. Even through her trials, she shared something deep in her heart that she loved with the world - her sauce. This is so inspiring to me because it reminds me of my own family and how my dad has lovingly passed on his recipes and traditions surrounding cooking to me. We loved using Ragú as a family all growing up, and I love that the company's roots are something I can stand behind.
In the spirit of this tradition, I've created a super easy, 3 ingredient, pork shoulder ragu that is simply delicious. This makes a TON, so lots for freezing for leftovers! I hope you love it!
- 3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
- 1 large white onion
- 1 (24 ounce) traditional Ragu sauce
Put all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Use a wooden spoon to "shred" pork and remove bones if there are any. Serve over spaghetti, veggie noodles, grits (yum!) or sauteed vegetables.