Sunday, February 10, 2013

Recipe: Braised Pork Ribs with Red Sauce

I enjoy cooking, a lot. I guess, my mom was an inspiration in that. She is an amazing cook and everything that comes from her kitchen is incredible. I have learned a lot from her over the years, but have since also added a few of my own tricks and twists.

For the past few years I have started to experiment more with food I cook, stepping away from the familiar fair into things that are new to my family’s table. I’ve been following various different food blogs and food magazines, and even picked up a few new cookbooks along the way. Inspiration comes in many different forms, and even though I don’t always follow the recipes to a tee, they often serve as a perfect base for some new creations in my kitchen. Whether it is learning of new ingredients and ways of using them, to new methods of cooking, or even new ways of presenting something (because we love our food with eyes first) the food blogs are the wealth of new ideas. I’ve been contemplating sharing my own cooking experiments on the web before, but have never quite gotten to it. Apparently, all one needs is a snow day and a bit of inspiration…

The inspiration for this dish came from a Pappardelle wide cut pasta, braised pork sugo from Tomasso Tratoria in Southborough, MA. It was an incredible, melt in your mouth braised meat in rich sauce, with a compliment of pasta. So, here’s my take on the dish – hubby and I approved!

Braised Pork Ribs with Red Sauce
Makes 6-8 servings

4-5 slices of bacon
2-2 ½ lbs of pork ribs
½ cup diced carrot
½ cup diced celery
1 large onion, diced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
2 garlic clove, cut in quarters
2 cups strained tomatoes (such as Pomi)
1 cup chicken stock

For serving:
Parsley for garnish
Pasta (such as pappardelle)
Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add diced bacon to the Dutch oven (or large oven-proof pot) over medium heat and cook until it begins to render fat and brown. Remove the bacon from the pot and reserve for later, leaving the fat. Season the ribs and begin to brown. Do this in batches, so the pot does not get crowded. Let the meat sear and develop a nice crust. You want to develop a layer of caramelized meat juices, but if it gets too dark it will tend to be bitter, so keep an eye on it. Once the ribs are browned, add your mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions; a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, let the vegetable get some color, then add wine and reduce by half. Add the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, garlic, tomatoes and chicken stock. Add reserved bacon and ribs back in the pot, give it a good stir, cover and slip it in the oven for about 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. Remove the bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. If the sauce seems fatty, let it rest a few minutes then spoon off some of the fat before serving.

You can pull the ribs from the pot, remove the bones, and gently pull the meat apart or serve them on the bone. Also, if you like a smooth sauce for serving, you can put the sauce through a food mill then add the meat back to the pot.

While the ribs are cooking in the oven (in the last 20 minutes or so), cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and serve with ribs and sauce, garnish with parsley and grated cheese.


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