cooking melbourne

Discovering Melbourne's Artisan Foods and Produce

pork rib ragu

Pork Rib Ragu


Nothing beats a homey meat sauce for pasta but rather than the ubiquitous beef mince I find a meaty Italian style ragu made with finely cut oyster blade steak or the meat from slow cooked ox tail is a real pasta treat. Stewing cuts of veal or pork meat can also be used. If you prefer mince then I suggest mincing the beef or a mix of beef and pork yourself using the coarsest disc of the mincer or ask the butcher to  do it to order. You’ll find the freshly minced meat has a much nicer consistency, sweeter smell and flavour.  A handful of chopped chicken livers at the end of cooking is a traditional hearty addition to a ragu and creates a creaminess to the sauce.

I bought these lovely baby pork ribs from Bundarra Bershires at the Collingwood Childrens’ Farm farmers market. The meat closest to the bone is always the tastiest and these ribs are not only delicious for a meaty ragu but are quite economical at around $6 for 4 serves (not bad for a free range, heritage breed, happy pig product). You will notice that I cook the meat slowly in red wine and only add the tomatoes at the very end of cooking. I found this nicely contrasts the rich red wine reduction of the ragu with a tangy tomato overlay. You can of course add the tomatoes  at the same time as the wine if you wish. I served the ragu with fluffy potato gnocchi but short pasta, such as penne, would also be perfect.

Serves 4

  • 1 onion, dicedbaby pork ribs
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds, crushed
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 300 g baby back ribs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cups red wine
  • 400 g tin crushed tomatoes

Separate the pork ribs by cutting between each rib. Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion with a little salt until soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes and then remove the onion and garlic from the pan. Turn up the heat and brown the meat on all sides. Sieve the crushed fennel seeds to remove any course bits. Return the onion and garlic to the pan, add the bay and fennel and stir for a minute. Add the wine, stirring well to dislodge any meaty bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 2 hours, making sure the meat remains just covered with wine or water. The meat should fall off the bones after 2 hours. Pull the bones out with a pair of tongs and discard. Any largish pieces of meat can be prised apart at this stage. Add the tomatoes and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Serve with pasta or potato gnocchi and grated Parmesan cheese.

meatpasta and noodles

cooking melbourne • August 11, 2015

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