Aired February 11, 2008
1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 garlic cloves, grated
1 large onion, chopped
3 cubanelle peppers, cut into small dice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock, depending on how sloppy you like it!
4 individual ciabatta rolls
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup basil, chopped
In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat two turns of the pan of EVOO, about two tablespoons. Add the ground pork and brown, breaking it up with a potato masher as it cooks, about 5-6 minutes.
Add the fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic, onion and cubanelle peppers. Cook until the veggies soften, about 4-5 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Mix in the parsley, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and chicken stock. Let the mixture come up to a bubble then reduce heat and simmer, about 10 minutes.
While the filling is simmering, split the rolls in half and toast them. Once they are golden, remove them from under the broiler and sprinkle each with about a palmful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Place them back under the broiler to melt the cheese.
To serve, ladle the mixture onto the bottom half of the ciabatta rolls. Garnish each sammy with basil and serve with a salad alongside.