Tonight I made an original dish. It’s one I developed after much experimenting with ingredients and cooking methods. In fact, I’m still experimenting with it. Tonight, for example, I used a beefsteak instead of my usual pork steak as the meat because it’s what was on sale at the grocery store. Other nights, I’ve left out the meat completely and made it vegetarian. I’ve tried other apple types (granny smiths are the best for any sauteing; other varieties are like to turn to mush). I’ve tried different methods of cooking the meat (oven, stove top, slow and low, fast and high; slow and low on the stove top proved to be the winner).
Every time it’s a little bit different, but always so delicious that I can’t help but lick my bowl. If I ever become an executive chef with some control over a restaurant menu, this dish would be on it, so to prevent plagiarism, I won’t disclose every ingredient. I will, however, describe it’s flavor: rich in tomato, smokey, sweet, and tangy, like barbecue sauce only lighter and less sweet.
It started with a pappardelle dish I ordered at Pastaria, one of my favorite St. Louis-area restaurants owned by one the chefs I most admire, Gerard Craft. The dish has a bit of a barbecue flavor, mixes tender pulled pork with apple of all things (a great combination, I discovered), and of course is topped off with plenty of cheese. I searched for an online recipe similar to it, but found nothing quite the same, so I ended up making my own dish, an expanded version of the closest recipe I could find. What resulted is something I make regularly, whenever I buy more fresh pappardelle from Pastaria and I have pork shoulder on hand (I usually make extra and freeze the rest). The secret is the sauce. Otherwise, it’s got a ordinary base of carrots, onion, celery, garlic, granny smith apples, and a garnish of minced parsley and fresh Parmesan cheese. The rest is a secret 😉