September 11, 2013 by Dewi
My adaptation of a wonderful Nigel Slater recipe: Pork and chunky vegetable ragout with spaghetti.
As we move into autumn and days of ever reducing sunlight, the colder weather calls for comfort food. Slow cooked stews and the like often do the trick. I was flipping through Nigel Slater’s second Kitchen Diaries volume recently and happened across a recipe for a pork rib ragout served with pappardelle. It looked and sounded wonderful, and I thought it would be the perfect dish to welcome, and indeed embrace, the colder months which now lay ahead.
Always the meddler, I decided to tinker with the recipe slightly, which was mainly down to what I had in the cupboards that needed using. Nigel Slater himself often advocates cooking with what you find in front of you, making me certain that he would not disapprove of my adjustments. My prediction was then confounded in a tweet he sent me, complimenting my tweaks. What a good guy.
This is such a brilliantly simple dish. And cheap, too! I’ve recently started back at university, so you’ll be reading more and more shoe-string recipes as I seek to eat well on a budget. So a cheap cut of meat like this rack of ribs (a couple of quid from my local butcher) fits the bill. I say with confidence that this dish is a complete joy. One of the most satisfying plates of food I’ve ever eaten.
So as I said, it’s really simple: just some rough chopping, leaving the stew to bubble away for a few hours, then therapeutically pulling apart the meat from the bone before serving. Please do give this one a go, it really is quite special.
- One rack of pork ribs (approx. 650g)
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- Small bunch of parsley – roughly chop the stalks and the leaves, but keep them separate
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 300g pasta (spaghetti or pappardelle)
Cut the rack of ribs into 3-4 sections.
Brown in a hot, deep sided casserole pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes each side.
Remove the ribs from the pan, set them to one side, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
Add the chopped carrots and onions to the pan and sweat with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes, until slightly softened.
Add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stir and cook out for a minute or so.
Now pour in the tinned tomatoes and the stock.
Add the bay, oregano and chopped parsley stalks.
Place the browned ribs back into the pan, along with their juices.
Now turn the heat right down, pop the lid on, and leave to blip away on the hob for a good 3 and a half hours.
Remove the lid, add the remaining parsley and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Now cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, in plenty of boiling salted water, until al dente.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, remove the ribs form the pan and place on a board.
Using two forks, pull the meat away from the bones (they should come out clean). This bit is so enjoyable.
Shred the meat a little more before stirring back into the stew.
Season to taste, remove the bay leaves, and serve with the pasta.
My goodness, what a gorgeous plate of food.