Pork Rib Ragù with Lemon & Butter

By • March 9, 2015 1 Comments

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Author Notes: During Superstorm Sandy, when my classes were cancelled and the power was out, I remember making and eating an impeccable pork shoulder stew with lemon and tomato. The recipe was found in a friend's cookbook, and I never got to copy it down. When I picked up some spare ribs at the grocery store, I decided to try and replicate the dish from memory. The result was pretty spectacular.andrewfm

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Serves 6-8

  • 3-4 pounds country-style spare ribs (about 6)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons majoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 14 oz. can of peeled plum tomatoes
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half a stick), chopped into 1/2" chunks, plus a bit extra
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 pound robust pasta, like pappardelle or rigatoni
  1. Pat the ribs dry and rub with salt.
  2. Coarsely chop the onions, carrots, and celery.
  3. Heat olive oil in large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Pat the meat dry once again and season with pepper.
  4. Brown the ribs on all sides, taking care not to crowd the pan.
  5. Remove the ribs to a plate and add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté for about 4-5 minutes, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the majoram, garlic, and cayenne and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the white wine, lemon juice, zest, butter, and tomatoes, making sure to break them up with the side of a spoon. Return the ribs and whatever juices have collected on the plate to the pot.
  8. Add just enough water to ensure everything is covered (err on the side of less liquid), then bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover it.
  9. Braise on low for at least 2 and a half hours.
  10. Once the ribs are nice and tender, remove them from the pot with tongs and put them in a bowl. They'll probably fall apart- make sure to fish out as much of the meat as you can.
  11. Increase the heat to high and let the liquid boil down a little. Using two forks, break up the pork ribs and remove any bones or gristle.
  12. Turn off the heat, return the meat to the pot, and then add half the parsley. Add salt to taste– you shouldn't need too much. Cover the pot.
  13. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions, cooking it until al dente, then drain it.
  14. Just before serving the ragù, stir in the last bit of butter until it has melted.
  15. Serve the pasta in a large, shallow bowl and garnish with the remaining parsley.

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