When Kate tossed the proverbial bone- RIBS as our Franco-Italo challenge for pork this week, I immediately remembered a rich luscious sauce I had in Naples last year at the bread festival I attended.
Strangely enough the sauce is called Ragu Genovese- Genova-style sauce. The recipe is not from Genova, but it is rather frugal- as are the Genovese, using equal weight of onions to meat in the sauce. The ragu is a classic for the traditional Sunday lunch or holidays and evokes images of mamma up early at the stove with the large pot simmering away all morning filling the air with the profume of love!
It is a long, slow cooked sauce which develops a deep rich flavor lost in todays fast food world.
Not only is the sauce fabulous, but the technique of cooking whole pieces of meat in a tomato sauce, creates two meals from one pot of cooking.
I chose the meatier thicker ribs for this recipe, leaving them in large pieces, which can be then cut for serving.
Salsa alla Genovese
inspired by Favurite- Renato Rutigliano
The traditional recipe often uses a whole piece of beef, a potroast.
I have found many families use various cuts of pork, ribs, sausages and or necks to enrich this sauce.
2 pound/ 1 kg pork ribs
1 celery stalk
3 pounds of onions ( I used the local red onions)
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tbs butter
4 tbs lard
2 ounces pancetta or salami chopped into tiny strips or cubes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce ( optional)
-Finely mince the carrot, onions and celery together and place in a pan large enough to hold the meat and vegetables.
-Also add the olive oil, lard and butter. Add the chopped pancetta or salami.
-Season with salt and pepper.
-Place the meat on top and start to cook over a low heat.
-Stir the pot occassionally to prevent sticking, the vegetables will give off a lot of liquid.
-Cook for at least one hour. The onions should start to caramelize.
-Add the wine, 1/2 cup additions at a time, letting it absorb into the sauce.
-Add the tomato paste dissolved in the hot water and the tomato sauce. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
-Cover and let cook for another two hours at least.
In Naples they say "pippare"- s tiny bubbling like the hot lava from Vesuvius!!!My friends actually cook the meat for at least 6 hours, you can immagine Grandmother getting up at 6am to have lunch ready at noon!!!
I cooked my ribs for two hours and then cooked the sauce for another hour. The sauce should glimmer when done and be very thick. Some people do not add any tomato sauce at all and more traditionally only tomato paste.
-Remove the meat from the sauce and keep warm.
-Serve the pasta with the sauce, a traditional pasta are Paccheri, a huge oversized hollow rigatoni.
The meat is served as a main course, mashed potatoes would be great to absorb the extra sauce!
I immagine this is where the idea of spaghetti and meatballs came from and Pollo alla cacciatore.Where meats are cooked in sauce and in America, the meatballs were left on the pasta! Chicken cacciatore is the same, often served with huge amounts of sauce, immagine how much nicer it would be to use that sauce on pasta and serve the infused chicken on its own.