Rigatoni with Rustic Pork Ragu Paired With Zinfandel

Those who’ve discovered Sonoma County wine tasting and food pairings are in on the secret: Zinfandel—California’s historic grape—is ready for its closeup. Once pigeonholed as the bold briary upstart beloved by burger and barbecue connoisseurs, zinfandel—versatile, rich—can be produced in a wide range of styles and with regional distinction.

At Limerick Lane, we let our unique microclimate speak. We produce full-bodied, beautifully balanced Zinfandels that elevate the finest foods, dishes traditionally paired with cabernet or pinot. We’d never turn down a great brisket. But we shine beside bourguignon.
In this and upcoming blog posts, we’ll share recipes our partner chefs love to pair with Limerick Lane Zinfandels.

Chef Shane McAnelly

Northern California native McAnelly began his culinary career at The Blackhawk Grille in Danville, California. As sous chef and then chef de cuisine at Garibaldi’s restaurant in Oakland, he expanded his relationships with local farmers and purveyors to include wine country producers. Following executive sous chef and executive chef positions at Zero Zero in San Francisco and Va de Vi in Walnut Creek, he moved north to wine country to open Chalkboard restaurant in Healdsburg. Under McAnelly’s direction, Chalkboard received a 3-star review from then San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer, as well as securing a coveted spot on Bauer’s list of Top 10 New Restaurants for 2013. While serving as executive chef at Chalkboard, McAnally and his team helped open The Brass Rabbit, a pasta house focusing on seasonal produce. In May 2018, McAnelly hosted his first dinner in the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, choosing the theme “It’s Always Sunny in California.

About the recipe: Rigatoni with Rustic Pork Ragu

“This is a dish I have prepared at Limerick Lane a number of times over the years. I would make my own pasta and put the black pepper into the pasta dough. The black pepper is a pivotal part of the pairing that ties this dish to the wine, so don’t be shy with it. The acidity and herbal notes of the wine for me really work well with the rich tomato and herbs in the ragu. If you cannot find the herbs listed, good alternatives would be fresh oregano or savory.”

Paired with:
2019 Rocky Knoll Zinfandel


  • 1 lb. high quality dry rigatoni
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 1 cup canned San Marzano tomato, crushed by hand
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup onion, diced small
  • ¼ cup carrot, grated
  • 1 sprig each thyme, rosemary and sage, leaves removed and rough chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt (more to finish if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season pork shoulder with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 ½ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Heat a large pot with the olive oil. Over medium heat, cook the bacon strips in the olive oil until crispy and the bacon has released its fat. Remove bacon from the pot but leave the oil and fat.
  4. Add the cubed pork shoulder to the pot and sear on all sides. Maintain medium to medium-high heat. Once the pork is browned on all sides (this should take 6-8 minutes), remove it from the pot.
  5. Add the onion, carrot and herbs to the pot and turn heat to low. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the onion becomes translucent and is not crunchy.
  6. Add tomato paste to the pot and stir until it becomes aromatic and starts to turn slightly more golden.
  7. Add the red wine and cook until it is almost completely evaporated.
  8. Add canned tomato and chicken broth.
  9. Chop the bacon and add it and the browned pork shoulder back to the pot.
  10. Turn the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Once it is simmering, cover the pot with lid or foil and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 2 ½ hours.
  11. Remove from the oven and uncover. Using a fork or large kitchen spoon smash the pork pieces to make it more of a homogenous sauce. Alternatively, you can let it cool for an hour and put on some gloves and shred the meat by hand.
  12. Bring a pot of water to a roaring boil and season it with salt until it tastes like the ocean. Add the pasta and cook 1 minutes less than the box instructs.
  13. Drain pasta and add to the pot with the pork ragu. Bring pot to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened and coats the pasta well.