My best selling dish – Slow roasted pork and juniper ragu fazzoletti, by Nicholas Schizas

09 November 2012
My best selling dish – Slow roasted pork and juniper ragu fazzoletti, by Nicholas Schizas

WHAT IS IT? Main course
GP 73%

Fazzoletti, also known as handkerchief pasta, is typical to the North Central region of Italy and most popular in Liguria. I serve this pasta dish with slow-roasted pork shoulder and juniper berry ragu. The richness and mouth-melting ragu accompanied with a boost of aroma and flavour of the juniper make this dish fit nicely alongside the character of our rustic Italian restaurant, Antico.

Classically, fazzoletti are rolled down very fine, almost transparent, but because we serve it with a ragu sauce, we make it a bit thicker in order to be coated by the heavy ragu. The secrets behind this delicious dish are down to the slow-roasting of the meat, the ease of flavours to the palette, and the freshness of the delicate pasta.

We source our pork from Devon, our junipers from the USA, and our lovely San Marzano tomatoes from Campania. This dish is our most recent addition to the menu and can be served all year long, although it's most enjoyable during winter accompanied with a bottle of Fortebraccio Chianti.

Nicholas Schizas, Head chef, Antico, London

INGREDIENTS (Serves four)
300g pork shoulder
1 large red onion, chopped
15g juniper berries, crushed
500g San Marzano plum tomatoes, skinned and deseeded
2 cups red wine
Parmesan Reggiano
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
400g of fresh rolled fazzoletti


Cut the pork shoulders into large chunky pieces. In a saucepan with a bit of olive oil, gently colour the meat to golden brown. Add the chopped onions and juniper berries, and fry until the onions are sweated down.

Pour in the wine and let it reduce by half before adding the tomatoes. Then cover with baking paper and slow-bake in the oven at 180°C for about 2.5 hours. Add water about every half hour if required to keep moisture.

You will know the meat is ready when it is falling apart easily. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and gently with a whisk break the meat up.

Then boil the pasta for about 3-4 minutes until al dente. Drain. Mix with ragu in a saucepan, tossing it with a bit of Parmesan Reggiano and olive oil. Check the seasoning and serve in a bowl.

I would normally serve a rustic Italian Sangiovese-based wine, such as Chianti, with a hearty ragu but the addition of juniper adds an interesting and challenging dimension for a wine match.

The ideal wine needs to be fruity, full bodied and robust with sufficient oomph to handle the deep, unctuous nature of this ragu and I could think of no better partner than Ca La Bionda's Amarone "Ravazzol" from Italy's Veneto region. The Ravazzol vineyard is planted on limestone-rich soils, which provide a beautifully pure mineral and stone fruit element, which magically brings out the slow-roasted juniper character.

Richard Rotti, group wine buyer, Caprice Holdings

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