Sorry for the irregularity in posting; between the travelling and the start of the semester, we’re having a rough time keeping to a regular schedule. We’re trying, though!
The first time we made this recipe was because I bought pork spare ribs at H Mart. I was visiting northern Virginia, and I always try to swing by H Mart when I’m there, to pick up things we can’t easily get (or cheaply get) in Blacksburg. Now, H Mart is a great Asian grocery store: it’s huge, basically a supermarket, and unfortunately they’re not everywhere. Such a large and thorough store only exists in places with large Asian populations. But the Falls Church H Mart on Lee Highway really isn’t that great for green, leafy vegetables (which is how I prefer my veggies). What it is really great for is meat. When I walked by the endless rows of meat fridges, I couldn’t help but salivate.
When I saw the pork spareribs, I had to get them. They were so red, so beautiful, obviously ready to become juicy, tasty meat. Once I brought them home, we had to decide what to do with it. We wanted to do something worthy of this rare meat, this meat that we can only get when we take a 4.5 hour trip to civilization.
Hide did a little looking, and he found a Mario Batali recipe for pork spareribs in tomato sauce. Although I have never seen Mario Batali on television, Hide thinks he’s the bomb dot com, and if Hide thinks he’s da bomb, then he must be pretty legit. Plus, the recipe sounded pretty win all on its own.
Instead of pancetta, we use Smithfield pork jowls. That’s one of the things I really enjoy about living in southwest Virginia — the Krogers here have these cute Smithfield stands where you can get everything from huge hams to cured pork jowls. We love the pork jowls as a substitute for bacon and pancetta; they’re incredibly tasty and fatty (boy, does that fat render), and they come with a bit of skin, so they’re really chewy and satisfying when you get a piece.
As for tomato sauce, we use our own. One day I’ll post about how we make our own tomato sauce. It’s not really a big deal, but everybody has their own secret ingredients, right?
We don’t make our own pasta though. We’ve tried, and it’s just too much time and work. Once we get a KitchenAid stand mixer, though, we’re totally going to make our own pasta all the time!
I highly recommend this Mario Batali recipe. Hide and I have made it a couple of times now, and it’s incredibly satisfying each time. The carrots and wine really add a depth to the tomato sauce that makes it difficult to put down.
Here’s a short summary (with our own take), in case ABC News ever stops hosting the recipe:
- Over medium heat, cook finely chopped pancetta/bacon/cured pork jowls until fat renders.
- Season the pork spareribs with salt and pepper, then turn up the heat to brown them.
- Once the spareribs have good colour, add peeled and diced onion, carrot and celery.
- Once the onion has gone translucent, add a glass of white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add a good amount of tomato sauce, almost enough to cover everything, and bring to a boil.
- Add a bunch of julienned basil.
- Simmer for an hour, covered.
- Toss with or serve over pasta with grated parm.