Stewed pig cheeks with pasta

Stewed pig cheeks with pasta

Ragu de carrilleras con pasta

Spanish Made Simple

Pasta has been used in Spanish cooking for centuries due to the close links the east coast of Spain and the Balearic Islands had with Italy’s west coast, Corsica and Sardinia. From Roman times we have always had a great cultural and trading relationship and good things, as good habits, spread fast. This pasta stew is rich and intense with so many layers of flavour that blend very well with the plain pasta.


Quantity Ingredient
500g pig cheeks, trimmed
75ml extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced small
1/2 celery stick, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tomatoes, Quartered
150ml red wine
2 litres chicken stock
300g pasta shells
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Lightly season the pig cheeks with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat and seal the cheeks on both sides. Remove the meat and set aside.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic and carrot to the pan, adding more oil if necessary. Fry until dark golden and caramelized, about 8–10 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf and tomatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes, then add the pig cheeks and red wine. Cook for 2 minutes to reduce the liquid, then pour in the stock, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat again and leave to simmer for at least 2 hours, or longer, until the meat is tender.
  3. Remove the pig cheeks from the pan and shred using a masher or fork. Return the shredded meat to the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes. You will need enough liquid in the pan to cook the pasta with enough left for sauce. Add more water if necessary and add the pasta to the pan. Give it a good stir and cook over a low heat according to the packet instructions, until the pasta is al dente. The gluten released by the pasta should thicken the stew, giving it a great body and consistency. If it looks too dry, add more water halfway through cooking the pasta.
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