Pasta alla buttera or Cowboy Pasta

Pasta is the heart and soul of Fat Ox so I’m really excited about this pasta. I had it when I traveled to Italy last fall. It comes from the Maremma region that straddles Tuscany and Lazio where Italian cowboys or butteri still work the land. Those cowboys don’t get to eat the livestock they tend—it’s far too valuable—so they use the scraps of the dried meats or salumi which gives this amazing density of flavor to the sugo or meat sauce. If you don’t want to try making this pasta at home, I invite you to enjoy our radiatori alla buttera at Fat Ox.

Pasta Alla Buttera

4-6 servings


15oz pasteurized egg yolk

550g 00 Flour (I use Caputo’s)

Method: On a clean surface place flour down and make a well in the center of your flour. Add egg to your well and using two fingers start incorporating your egg mix into flour by going in a circular motion. When fully incorporated knead dough until the dough is smooth, about ten minutes. Cut dough into three balls, and wrap with plastic wrap. Let rest in refrigeration minimum of 2 hours, best overnight.

Take one of the three balls of dough, keep the rest wrapped to prevent drying. Roll out, evenly, to a thickness of one millimeter. Cut into linguine or fettuccini.  

Bolognese Sauce:

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, plus more freshly ground

2 cloves Sicilian oregano

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 oz. chicken livers

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more

1 c. large onion, small dice chopped


½ small bunch thyme

¼ cup Calabrian chilies in oil

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine

1 pound pork shoulder (Boston butt), ground

4 oz. prosciutto scrap grind with pork shoulder

4 oz. pancetta scrap or ends grind with shoulder

2 oz. finiochionna

2 oz. calabrese

Finished Sauce:

1 tbl. shaved raw garlic

2 tbl. white wine

2-4 tbl. butter

2 tbl. lemon juice

2 tbl. chopped parsley


2-4 tbl. shaved ricotta salata

salsa verde

Bolognese Sauce Method:

Toast bay leaves, cloves, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and whole peppercorns in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool; transfer to a spice mill (or mortar and pestle) and finely grind.

Preheat oven to 250°. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof pot over medium-high. Add livers and stir to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook livers until highly carmelized, 5-6 minuntes. Add half of the wine and deglaze, scrapping bottom and sides.

 In a second pot add pork, prosciutto and pancetta, render for 4-5 min. Remove pork products and strain. Add onion, thyme, and Calabrian chiles; stir to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and cook, stirring as needed, until onion is golden brown and soft, 5–8 minutes. Add garlic (adding garlic after onion has been going for a while will keep it from burning) and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and 1½ tsp. salt (this will toast the spices one more time, deepening their flavor).

Add tomatoes and rest of the wine, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Mix in pork (mixture will be fairly stiff, but will soften and loosen as it cooks). Add the livers. Mix well and cover pot and braise in oven 2-3 hours.

Remove pan from oven. As the sauce cooks, it will firm up (looking somewhat like meatloaf); stir sauce to loosen. At this point we prefer to refrigerate overnight. Next day bring base up to a simmer, remove thyme and, using an immersion blender, puree sauce until half smooth.

Finish Sauce Method: This is a quick pan sauce so it is easy to make this as the pasta is cooking. First, boil water with enough salt to taste it. Once boiling drop heat to a smooth simmer (only small bubbles). Cook pasta until al dente, approximately four minutes total.In a small sauté pan slowly cook garlic until soft on low heat. It is best not to get any color, add white wine. Add bolognese sauce and turn up heat. Finish with butter, and add cooked pasta. Using a continual rotating motion with your wrist, mix the pasta in with the sauce. The “marriage” of the pasta and the sauce is important because the sauce needs to saturate and coat the pasta. Adjust with pasta water if needed. Add parsley and adjust with lemon juice and salt.

Karen Claytonpork, pastaComment