- 1 pound dry gnochetti or cavatelli pasta or 1 pound fresh
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, 3 pinches
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 pound coarsely ground pork
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
- A few leaves basil, torn
- Grated pecorino, for passing at table
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. For dry pasta, cook to al dente, for fresh, wait until sugo is ready before you cook the pasta as it only takes 2 to 3 minutes. Salt the boiling water liberally before cooking either form of pasta.
Heat the stock and saffron over medium heat in a sauce pot and reduce by about half, about 15 minutes.
While the stock infuses and water comes to boil, heat a large deep skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, a couple turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and toast for 1 minute. Add the meat, raise the heat to medium-high and season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the sage, red pepper flakes and paprika. When the meat is brown, add the garlic and the onions and cook together a few minutes more to soften the onions. Add tomatoes and crush, then bring the sauce to a bubble, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in a few leaves of torn basil.
When the pasta of choice is ready, add the infused stock to the sauce. Toss in the drained pasta and serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread and lots of pecorino cheese.