Chicche di patate e melanzane con ragù (Potato and eggplant chicche with pork ragù)

You'll need

To serve: finely grated Ragusano (see note)   Pork ragù 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil 650 gm boneless pork shoulder, cut into 12cm pieces 100 gm mild pancetta, diced ½ onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 300 ml dry white wine 500 ml (2 cups) veal stock 1 tsp finely chopped sage leaves ½ tsp finely chopped thyme   Potato and eggplant chicche 1 eggplant (about 480gm), halved lengthways 1 extra-large Dutch cream potato (about 500gm), scrubbed 1 egg 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour


  • 01
  • For pork rag, preheat oven to 150C. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add pork and turn occasionally until browned (2 minutes each side). Transfer to a casserole. Add pancetta to pan, stir over medium heat until fat renders (1-2 minutes), then add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until very tender (20-30 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine and simmer until reduced by half (2-3 minutes). Transfer to casserole with remaining ingredients, cover and braise in oven until pork is meltingly tender (2½-3 hours). Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to 400ml (35-45 minutes). Meanwhile, coarsely shred pork. Season sauce to taste, return pork to sauce and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for potato and eggplant chicche, preheat oven to 200C. Score eggplant halves and roast skin-side down in a roasting pan until very tender (40-50 minutes). Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water until tender (40-50 minutes). Scoop flesh from eggplant (discard skin) and transfer to a bowl. Peel potatoes, pass through a potato ricer into bowl with eggplant, add egg, stir to combine, then turn onto a work surface. Scatter with flour and bring ingredients just together with your hands to form a soft dough. Roll into a 1cm-thick log, scattering with a little extra flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Cut into 5mm-thick pieces, then cook in batches in boiling salted water until chicche rise to the surface (2-3 minutes).
  • 03
  • Spoon ragù onto a platter. Drain chicche, scatter over ragù, top with Ragusano and serve.
Note Ragusano, a semi-hard Sicilian cow's milk cheese made from stretched curd, comes from the mountainous province of Ragusa. It's available from Formaggi Ocello and other specialist cheese shops; substitute parmesan or pecorino.

This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Chef Pieto D'Agostino, from La Capinera restaurant in the Sicilian coastal town of Taormina, has a reputation for being one of the island's most exciting chefs, mixing old and new and adding a modern touch to classic dishes. This recipe, using chicche, a rustic pasta akin to gnocchetti, is a take on one of his signature dishes.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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