Recipe: Rigatoni with Shredded Pork in Mustard Cream Sauce

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Yesterday we showed you a basic recipe for cooking and shredding a pork shoulder. It’s a great recipe on its own; there are plenty of soft carrots, tomatoes, and caramelized onions to make it a stand-alone meal. But we like to set aside some leftover meat, free from its braising sauce, and save it for other meals throughout the week. This is a good one that’s super easy and has a really unexpected flavor.

The idea of a mustard cream sauce came from a recipe in Food & Wine. The original calls for crumbled Italian sausage and basil. We made it without the basil, substituting thyme instead, and it was delicious; we highly recommend trying the original recipe (which is linked below).

The mustard is not overwhelming (although you should be a fan if you’re going to make this), but it adds a wonderful tangy, spicy flavor that we knew would go well with our pulled pork. We used thyme because we had it on hand, but we think sage would be good, too.

One note about serving this dish: Do it quickly, while it’s hot. Cream sauces don’t stay fluid and milky for long, and the pasta can get gummy if left sitting. It still tastes great, just not as pretty.

Rigatoni with Shredded Pork in Mustard Cream Sauce
adapted from this recipe in Food & Wine

serves four as a main dish

1 pound rigatoni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small to medium yellow onion, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked, shredded pork shoulder*
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil and salt generously. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and simmer for about 3 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the pork and cook until heated through. Add the cream, mustard, and thyme, and stir to combine. Pour in the drained pasta and toss until everything is coated in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

*If you want to make this recipe without leftover pork shoulder, you can use a pound of sweet Italian sausage. Brown and crumble it in the pan with the onions, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Passarella)