What Did The Connollys Have For Dinner Last Night? Braised Baby Back Ribs In Tomato Sauce Over Radiatore.

Because "What's for dinner?" is the most important question most of us answer every day.

Braised baby back ribs in tomato sauce over radiatore

Left mortally embarrassed, and mildly hungry, by the overly eggy pork fiasco I wrote about last time, I decided I needed to do something to redeem myself. This was what I chose. This dish is ridiculous. It's pleasing to both the eye, the palate and the mind, and it cooks slowly so you have a good long time to get excited about it.

I've been making braised baby backs in a tangy tomato sauce for a few years now, and it's a really special dish. I mean, think about it: you're eating ribs... and a hearty bowl of pasta! I'll say that again: ribs and pasta! Not ribs and no pasta. Not pasta and no ribs. But both ribs and pasta. At the same time! Now who wouldn't get fired up about that?

I think technically this probably qualifies as a ragu. But whatever you call it, it rules. I don't really have a recipe, per se, for this dish. I started making it as an attempt to duplicate a Bobby Flay braised rib I once had at a showcase for up and coming New York chefs and it's sort of taken on a life of its own since then.

The basic steps if you wanted to recreate this in your home are as follows:

Cut a rack of baby backs into three sections. (You could also use spareribs for this, but I prefer the baby backs. While I think it's appetizing to slide a few bones out of the meat to underscore the mind-numbing tenderness of the braise, fishing out endless bones and little nubs of gristle gets kind of tiresome.) Season the meat, then powder it with flour and sear it off in a dutch oven or similar deep cooking vessle with a tight-fitting lid.

When you get a good sear on the ribs, remove them to a dish and brown garlic, minced (or grated) carrots, onions and your spices in the remaining fat. (You can really add whatever spices you want to this because, unlike spaghetti and meatballs, it doesn't so much need to taste like a classic Italian tomato sauce. Last night I decided to toss in a largeish heap of curry powder and a long squeeze of honey and it was a big hit.) When your aromatics and seasonings are nice and toasty, deglaze the pan with white wine then stir in a can of crushed tomatoes. Next, arrange the ribs, meat side down, so they're almost entirely covered in the sauce. It should look sort of like the log arrangement you'd use when building a fire. Bring the sauce to a bare boil, then cover the pot and slide it into a 300 degree oven for about two hours to finish. Serve each hunk of ribs over pasta and scattered with chopped fresh herbs.

Ribs. And pasta. It's magic.


Omar said...

Damn! That combo sounds incredibly delish! Never thought of lathering up ribs with anything but BBQ sauce. I wonder what you're having for Turkey Day...duck boiled in wine?


Anonymous said...

I clearly need to be having dinner with the Connollys?? That looks off the hook.