Sunday Supper: Pasta with Pork Ribs

If after a summer of barbecue you’re looking for something else to do with those spare ribs, this pasta will do them justice (and then some).  Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 11/2hours

One of my favorite pasta recipes, a Neapolitan specialty—taught to me by my old friend Andrea—that can make just a few ribs go a long way.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small dried hot red chiles (optional)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 to 8 meaty spareribs, separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with the juice

1 pound ziti, penne, or other cut pasta

Freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

1. Put the oil in a deep, broad saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chiles if you’re using them and the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the ribs and raise the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs have browned and given off some of their fat, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands, and add them to the pot.

2. Turn the heat to medium or medium-low—enough to maintain a nice steady bubbling, but nothing violent. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs are very tender, nearly falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Remove the chiles from the sauce if you used them. (You can make the dish ahead to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Gently reheat before proceeding.)

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. Drain it and sauce it; serve a rib or two to each diner along with the pasta.Pass the grated cheese at the table if you like.


Posted in Italian, Recipes

Sunday Supper: Pasta with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Bread Crumbs

A great pasta dish to make during tomato season (now). Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Pasta with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Bread Crumbs

Makes: About 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

The trick here is incorporating crisp-cooked bread crumbs at the last minute. You must use fresh bread crumbs, most pieces about the size of a pea.


1 /4cup extra virgin olive oil (1/2cup if you’re omitting the pancetta)

1 /4cup chopped pancetta or bacon (optional)

1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs

Freshly ground black pepper

2 small to medium eggplant (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

6 small or 3 medium tomatoes (about 12 ounces), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

1 to 2 teaspoons thinly sliced garlic, to taste

1 pound spaghetti, linguine, or other long pasta

Chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat if you’re using it, stirring occasionally, until just about crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring almost constantly, until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes; sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper as they cook. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the remaining oil.

2. Add the eggplant, stirring occasionally and sprinkling with salt and pepper, until browned and tender, about 15 minutes. When it’s done, begin cooking the pasta in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the eggplant; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

3. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss with the eggplant mixture, the bread crumbs, and the meat if you used it. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with basil, and serve.


Posted in Italian, Recipes

Leftover Dueling Pork


By Edward Schneider

When we had our dueling pork meal, even with eight people around the table there were leftovers, of course. The first round I mentioned in the post, but there were plenty more. So one evening Jackie and I had patties, or kotlety, or rissoles – or, as my mother used to call them, coquettes (how racy, had she but known). To make them, I chopped up the rest of the Ibérico pork and some of the Flying Pigs roast, mixed it with cooked (and cooled) onion, eggs, breadcrumbs and chopped dill, formed patties, breaded them and got them crisp and hot in clarified butter. Mushroom sauce (sautéed mushrooms, milk and cream, pureed then finished with lemon juice) on the side. They were deliciously porky. 

But wait, there were still more leftovers. And these became a stuffing for not-entirely-classic tortellini. The traditional Emilia-Romagna filling is made of some variation on cooked pork and capon or turkey, prosciutto, mortadella and parmesan, seasoned with nutmeg. It is quite a dry mixture, which makes it easy to form and keep the tortellini. For my variation, I used the remaining Flying Pigs roast pork loin (including all its fat), a chunk of prosciutto and some parmesan, all run through the food processor along with a little rosemary, and seasoned with ground fennel seed and black pepper. These flavors echoed the original seasoning of the roast; there was no point in fighting flavors that were already there in the name of some notion of authenticity that was already out the window.  

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Posted in Italian

Pasta with Grilled Corn and Roasted Garlic


by David Latt 

Recently my wife and I spent a week in Sonoma County exploring restaurants, inns, and wineries, and came across a dish of grilled corn with a roasted garlic and butter puree at Jackson’s Bar and Oven in Santa Rosa.  It occurred to me that the combination would be great with pasta; here’s my adaptation:  

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Posted in Italian, Recipes

Ravioli Del Plin


by Edward Schneider

Could filled pasta be the best thing in the world? No: there’s music that has it beat, and some would argue that Leonardo’s Ginevra de’Benci is better than pierogi. But come dinnertime, I’ll take cappelletti over Mozart almost any day. 

Jackie and I always yearn for filled pasta, and we sometimes take the time to make it ourselves. A little while ago, during our dill craze, we made some big ol’ tortelloni with this filling: a leek and a bunch of Swiss chard thoroughly cooked in olive oil, squeezed dry and finely chopped; a cup of fluffy, dry ricotta from Tonjes at the Union Square Greenmarket; a great deal of chopped dill; grated long-aged parmesan; one egg yolk; and salt and pepper. There was filling left over, and we froze it in a disposable plastic piping bag so that it would be ready for use. 

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Posted in Italian

Call it Pasta, Potatoes, and Chorizo


by Edward Schneider 

I’m not entirely sure what Jackie and I had for dinner on Friday night. I am sure that it was delicious, felt great in the mouth and was fun to eat (with a spoon – the best tool), and I’m pretty certain about what it was not: it wasn’t pasta cooked like a risotto, because I didn’t gradually add liquid and keep stirring; it wasn’t fideuà (the paella-like noodle dish of Catalunya), because I didn’t brown the pasta or use a sofrito or leave the pan uncovered. It was … well, let me tell you how I made it, and you can tell me what it was. 

It came together as I was cooking, and it started with a yen for pasta. In the house was a farmers’ market treasure: small, firm new-season potatoes. There are Ligurian dishes of pasta and potatoes, often with green beans and pesto, and these are delicious, but I didn’t feel like making pesto (even in a food processor, which is really the most sensible way to do it) and, anyway, there were no beans. There were juicy new onions, though, and little Spanish chorizos – the ounce-and-a-half ones that come four to a vacuum-sealed pack – and parsley and a bit of chicken stock. And of course many shapes of pasta from the drawer that Jackie refers to as our pastateca. Oh – and half a cup of pan gravy from a roast chicken. 

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Posted in Italian, Mexican

Risotto as Sauce

By Edward Schneider

Last year some time, Jackie and I had the most wonderful risotto assembly at our friend Angela Hartnett’s London restaurant Murano: a layer of shredded braised oxtail, sauce and all, topped with a delicate leek risotto. Cottage pie meets Milan, with the creamy risotto acting simultaneously as a second sauce and as an integral element of the dish. (With a bit of imagination, you can see an antecedent in the custom of serving osso buco with saffron-scented risotto.)

I thought of this a while ago, when we were just starting to get tired of the leftovers of a braised pork butt we’d been pecking away at for several days. Also in the refrigerator I had some cooked peppers – sweet red peppers and a poblano – julienned and slowly melted in olive oil until the flavor intensified. As I reheated the pork yet again, I used a half cup of this pepper mixture to start a risotto: not the typical elegant kind, but something gutsier – a kind of in-your-face risotto that is becoming a habit in our house. This one was flavored only with that pepper “sofrito,” white wine and chicken stock, with plenty of black pepper. Continue reading

Posted in Italian

Smokin’ Hot White Pizza


By Edward Schneider

Saturday was pizza night at our house. One regular Margherita (we even had basil in the house), and one not so regular, but delicious if you like smoky flavors. Onto a semi-baked crust (I find that this initial pre-baking is necessary in a regular oven with a maximum temperature of 500 or even 550 degrees F), I spread a mixture of about 1/4 nice fluffy, not watery, ricotta and 3/4 smoked mozzarella cut into little pieces, into which was mixed a generous ounce of chopped speck (smoked dry-cured ham, in this instance from Italy), a few slivered leaves of sage, some olive oil and salt and pepper. Watch out for the salt – there’s no predicting how much will be in your mozzarella.

The only danger with this – as, come to think of it, with any pizza – is that, for safety’s sake, it needs to cool a bit before the first bite. So pour a glass of wine, eat an olive or some of that mozzarella and be patient.

Posted in Italian, Recipes

Pasta in brodo


I’ve written a little over at the Times about my recent illness and comfort food. 

But one thing I didn’t mention was what must be among the most soothing dishes ever: pasta in brodo.

There’s some history here. In case you were wondering, I’m not – at least to my knowledge – Italian. (My family tree looks like a 3-month old shrub, so no one really knows.) Yet when I was young, my mother made me pastina – which is essentially couscous without the cachet – when I was sick. Pastina and butter. God, I can taste it now. Continue reading

Posted in American, Italian