Porky Pasta: Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs

14 Jul

When my friend Jen asked me a few months ago if I wanted to go in on a CSA share from the Piggery, a pork farm near Ithaca, NY, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Weekly deliveries of pork, charcuterie, bacon, cooking lard,* and who knows what else? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

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This week was my turn to take home our CSA box, and we got five country ribs. I don’t know much about country ribs, but these had a ton of meat (and a fair amount of fat), almost like a rib steak. I had nothing else to make for dinner, really, so it was rib night!

Thing is, most rib recipes involve a low and slow approach, calling for at least three hours in a low oven. It was already 7 when I got home, so that was out of the question. Luckily Bittman’s got a recipe in How to Cook Everything where you brown the ribs with some garlic, then add a big can of tomatoes and simmer them for about an hour. Make a pot of pasta and you’ve stretched four or five ribs much further than they would’ve otherwise gone. Everyone gets some pasta, sauce, and a rib to gnaw on.

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I may have had the heat too high, or maybe this recipe doesn’t work as well with country ribs, because the meat ended up a bit on the tough side. It wasn’t inedible, far from it: this meat we’re getting from the Piggery really is top notch, and it’d take a seriously misguided cook to mess it up that badly. The surprise star of this recipe was the tomato sauce that went on the pasta: after simmering for an hour with those ribs, it took on a luscious porky flavor that was so good, I found myself eating the excess sauce out of my brother’s bowl. Why waste it?

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In any case, how many pasta recipes do you know that end like this? This is one that I’ll definitely make again; it’s just barely harder than pasta with tomato sauce, but it’s way more special. On top of that, it’s a great way to get a lot of mileage out of not too many ribs.

*I feel weird having so much lard in the house. What do do with it? Will it kill me? Suggestions appreciated.

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