When chef and Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli set out to write her third book, Cook with Me, she organized it around a simple idea: What are her favorite dishes to make at home when she’s off duty? That meant featuring some newer recipes (like her naturally colored red velvet cake) alongside dishes from her childhood, like pork pizzaiola. Alex’s mom, legendary cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, used to make the hearty Neapolitan dish the moment the temperature dipped even slightly. “It was such a strange, indulgent thing, this pot of meat,” Alex says, “but somehow it made sense.” To update the pizzaiola, Alex used pork shoulder, which is fattier and less expensive than the pork chops her mom favored, and she added fish sauce for an unexpected layer of flavor. The dish is delicious on its own or ladled over pasta, polenta or meatballs.
Cook the sausages: Heat a Dutch oven over high heat and add the olive oil. Use a pair of metal tongs to arrange the sausages in a single layer in the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium and brown the sausages on all sides until they are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate and set aside.
Cook the pork shoulder: Season the chunks of pork shoulder on all sides with salt. Add the pork to the Dutch oven in a single layer and brown it on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Stir in the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the white wine and cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid cooks out, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in both the canned and fresh tomatoes, along with the anchovy fillets and fish sauce. Cover the pot and place it in the center of the oven. Cook until the meat is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Finish the meat: Remove the pot from the oven and use a large spoon to skim off any excess fat or impurities from the surface. Let the sauce rest on the stovetop on low heat while you cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta: Fill a large pot with 4 quarts water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add 4 tablespoons salt and bring the water back to a boil. Taste the water. It should be salty like seawater. Add the pasta and cook, stirring it with a large slotted spoon to ensure it does not clump or stick to the pot, until it is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, place it in a large bowl and toss it with the butter and a pinch of salt.
Finish the dish: Stir the sausages into the sauce and then stir in the Parmesan, red wine vinegar and basil leaves. Taste for seasoning. Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve the sauce and meat ladled over it, or serve it in a large bowl family-style.