Bourbon Braised Pork Cavatelli

Bourbon Pork Cavatelli

When it first starts getting cold around here, my dinner plan of action is to throw some meat in the oven and figure out what to do with it later. This time around I poured bourbon and cider into the pot with the pork and let it do it’s thing while I ran out and grabbed some fresh cavatelli from the Italian market. While I was there some really nice ricotta caught my eye (ri-caught-a my eye?) and I decided that would go on top.

Onion, carrot, garlic, sage, and rosemary in the pot.
Bourbon next.
After a couple hours it’s lookin gooood.
I stirred in the kale and let it cook another half hour.
Strain the pasta and add it right to the pot with the pork.
The creamy ricotta really took this dish to the next level.
Sometimes its hard mixing pulled meat with pasta because it doesn’t really blend in that well, but with the large cavatelli it actually was perfect.
Everything about this pasta was earthy, warming, and comforting.

Bourbon Braised Pork Cavatelli

Pork slow cooked in bourbon and cider and tossed with cavatelli and kale. Served with lots of parm and fresh ricotta.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: pasta
Servings: 3 people


  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 10 leaves sage chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary leaves removed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 cups apple cider plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1.5 pounds pork shoulder cut into chunks
  • 1 pound cavatelli
  • 4 cups packed chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup grated parm
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta


  • Preheat oven to 325.
  • Saute the onion and carrot for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, rosemary, and sage and cook 2 minutes.
  • Add in the bourbon, cider, vinegar, soy, paprika, red pepper, coriander, and pork. Stir well and season with salt and pepper Place into the oven with no lid.
  • After an hour and a half, stir the pork and add more cider if needed. Pork chunks should not be submerged.
  • After another hour and a half, stir again and add the kale. Break up the pork as you stir. Add more cider again if needed. Back to the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Boil water and cook the cavatelli. Right as it is about done, pull the pot of pork from the oven. Strain the cavatelli and put them right into the pork mixture. Stir well to combine. Add in the parm.
  • Serve the pasta and top with more parm and a few spoonfuls of ricotta.


  1. My husband hates carrots with a passion. Do you have any suggestions for substitutions? Or if it will be a substantial base without carrots? As far as substitutions, thinking maybe a bell pepper or brussel sprouts?

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