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
- Serves 6-8
country-style spare ribs (about 6)
salt & pepper
14 oz. can of peeled plum tomatoes
juice and zest of one lemon
unsalted butter (half a stick), chopped into 1/2" chunks, plus a bit extra
freshly chopped parsley
robust pasta, like pappardelle or rigatoni
- Pat the ribs dry and rub with salt.
- Coarsely chop the onions, carrots, and celery.
- 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.
- Brown the ribs on all sides, taking care not to crowd the pan.
- 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.
- Add the majoram, garlic, and cayenne and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Braise on low for at least 2 and a half hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prepare the pasta according to package instructions, cooking it until al dente, then drain it.
- Just before serving the ragù, stir in the last bit of butter until it has melted.
- Serve the pasta in a large, shallow bowl and garnish with the remaining parsley.