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Skip's Spuntature e Fagioli - Spare Ribs with Beans

This recipe has been contributed by Skip Lombardi who has started collecting his grandmother's recipes into a collection. This particular recipe was inspired by one he originally had in a little trattoria in Florence, somewhere over near the Mercato Centrale.

The spare ribs and beans is a one-dish meal, but it produces a rich tomato sauce that lends itself well to a small first course of Penne or Rigatoni.

Makes:4 servings


    For the Spare Ribs
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs "country-style" pork spare ribs
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste dissolved in 2 Tbs. water (or red wine)
  • 1 28 oz. can, Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • Salt & freshly-ground black pepper
    For the Beans:
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, washed, and roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 cup dried cannellini, great northern or navy Beans (Note: soak overnight day before)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & freshly-ground black pepper
  • flat-leaf Italian parsley (for garnish)
  1. Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold the spare ribs over medium-high heat, then add enough olive oil to film the bottom. Carefully add the ribs, and cook until they've browned well on both sides; approximately seven minutes per side.
  2. Drain the rendered fat from the sauté pan, then add the garlic, shaking the pan constantly, to avoid burning. Turn the heat to high, then add the wine. When the alcohol has boiled off, about two minutes, add the tomato paste and the plum tomatoes, stirring well as they go in.
  3. Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for two hours, stirring occasionally. It may be necessary to add water from time to time to maintain a reasonable consistency.

  4. When you have the spare ribs simmering, turn your attention to the beans:

  5. Place the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse ten times for about one second each pulse.
  6. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil. Add the chopped vegetables to the oil, lower the heat slightly, and cook for eight to ten minutes; until they're well blended, softened, and slightly caramelized.
  7. Add the beans and enough water to cover by about one inch. Add the rosemary and sage, then season with the salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower to simmer and cook for one to one and a half hours, until tender. Drain in a colander and reserve.
  8. If you are serving a pasta course, remove approximately one cup of sauce from the spare ribs to serve over the pasta. If not, add the beans to the spare ribs and cook at a low simmer for about thirty minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and add to your taste if necessary.
  9. To serve, place one spare rib in each of four plates, then spoon some beans to the side, then spoon about a quarter cup of sauce over the beans. Finally, garnish each plate with a sprinkling of the flat-leaf Italian parsley.

Buon appetito!

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