February Food: Pork Ragu on Polenta
I'm just gonna' say it.
I am officially tired of winter.
We have had so much snow in the NYC metro area this year, record amounts.
My back hurts from shoveling.
I am ready for spring and also for a weekend in Miami. :)
It seems like I have been stuck inside a lot this month with the bad weather.
We close our antiques shop some days because there is no foot traffic, so why bother.
The only good thing about being stuck inside is making a meal like this.
It is reserved for February only.
It's a stick to your ribs kind of deal, not low fat, not farm to fork, not a low carb thing......it's a perfect, rustic dinner and a gorgeous one at that.
The recipe is from one of my favorite books, Rustic Italian by Domenica Marchetti.
Everything I have made from this book and her Glorious Soup & Stews of Italy book have been a keeper.
I love this book.
Disclosure: I made this pork ragu for a Sunday pasta dinner, and froze the leftovers.
This was a second meal made from the recipe, and we liked this one even better than the first.
Of course, the butter and cheese makes the polenta EXTRA good.
Ragu di Maiale con Polenta (Pork Ragu on Polenta): adapted from Rustic Italian
3 lbs. of meaty pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
kosher salt & black pepper
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed and left whole
3/4 cup of dry red wine (I used a Nebbiolo.....and drank the rest)
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
To make the ragù: in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat some olive oil. Add as many pork ribs as will fit without crowding the pot and season with kosher salt and pepper. Brown the ribs 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter.
Leave about 2 Tbsp. of the fat in the pot. Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and stir to coat with the fat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the vegetables until softened, about 7 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and bay leaf.
Return the ribs to the pot along with any accumulated juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cover and cook very gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
Uncover and cook until the sauce has thickened, about another hour. Remove the garlic and bay leaf and discard. Transfer the ribs to a clean platter and let cool briefly. Cut the meat off the bones, shred it with your fingers and return the meat to the pot. Discard the bones.
For the polenta:
1 cup of polenta
4 cups of chicken stock or water
2 tbsp butter
sea salt & pepper
3 tbsp of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Bring the stock or water to a boil and add the polenta.
Keep the flame at medium-low, or it will spit and splatter you. Keep stirring and stirring until the polenta becomes thick.
Add in the butter and cheese and taste for seasoning. Add sea salt as needed.
Spoon polenta into bowls and ladle on that gravy. Sprinkle with some shredded Parm if you like and serve.
There will be a lot of food moans going on.
The perfect February Sunday Dinner.