Cozy Date Night In with Gnocchi with Easy Pork Ragù


Happy Valentine’s Day!

We’re not really ones for going out on Valentine’s around here and generally opt to celebrate with a cozy dinner in or take out. I recently made this dish for a date night in that was super easy, tasted like required a lot more work, and left us with warm fuzzy feelings.

A little leftover pork (or really whatever protein you prefer) goes a long way in a sauce and makes it taste like it’s been stewing away all day when in reality this all takes about 30 minutes. I served this over cauliflower gnocchi, so as to keep things a little lighter. No one wants to feel over-stuffed on a date night.

Wine Pairing

This is a delightful and easy dinner for just about any night, so to take things up a notch and make things feel special, open a nice bottle of wine. An earthy, bright Italian red works perfectly with this dish. I opted for a Barolo from the Piedmont region.

This Covalli Barolo 2014 was a perfect match. It also happened to be a great value (average price $25). It’s not the most complex Barolo, but it was bright and enjoyable from the first to the last drop after a short decanting and it was magic paired with the sauce. It showed lots of bright sour cherry and berry notes, licorice, white pepper, hints of baking spice, and herbs.


Jewel-like Glasses to Jazz up the Table

This recipe came out of a collaboration with Dragon Glassware. They sent me some of their Aura wine glasses to try out to review and also asked me to share some pairing options for a romantic dinner menu. Pork Ragù and gnocchi was on the menu, and I was inspired to try out the pairings at home. As I said, the pairing turned out fabulous.

The glasses are made of high-quality crystal glass with an iridescent coating that gives them a sparkly, jewel-like effect. I have to admit that when I accepted the glasses to try out, I was a little worried that they would look cheesy in real life, despite the fact that they look pretty in their pictures. Not at all. The iridescent effect is just enough to give them a little flare without feeling tacky. Speaking as a wine geek, they also didn’t detract from my ability to assess the wine’s color and the wine’s aromas also showed up beautifully in the glass. They’re perfect for dressing up the dinner table for a special night. 

 Since writing this post, I've partnered with Dragon Glassware as an ambassador. Click here to get the glasses for yourself and use the code "NICOLE10" for 10% off. (I might receive commission at no cost to you.)


ragu, leftover makeover
Servings: 4
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Easy Pork Ragù

Easy Pork Ragù

Prep Time: 10 MinCooking Time: 30 MinTotal Time: 40 Min
This ragù comes together really quickly but tastes like it was simmering away for much longer thanks to the fact it’s made using leftover pork. You can easily swap in whatever protein you’d like, or add mushrooms for a vegetarian version. It’s a great way to extend leftovers and make them taste completely new.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ glass red wine
  • 1 Tbsp, tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • oz can diced tomatoes
  • Generous pinch of red chili flakes
  • 3 sprigs of oregano (feel free to add other herbs like thyme well)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 to 2 cups of shredded pork (or swap in the protein of your choice)
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Heat a generous pour of olive oil in a medium-sized pot, then add onions and sweat over medium heat with a pinch of salt until they’re beginning to turn soft and translucent – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute.
  2. Once the onions are just starting to color, deglaze the pan with the red wine. Allow it to reduce down a bit, then add in the tomato paste and cook for another minute or two until the tomato paste has begun to deepen in color. Sprinkle the flour on the mixture and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, red chili flakes, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add in the shredded pork and continue to gently simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce a bit and for the flavors to combine. Taste and season again with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Serve over gnocchi or pasta and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional herbs if desired.
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