04 October 2014

Oh, Nigel - Rib Ragout with Pappardelle

Mmmm! See all those little bits of carrot and mushroom? They're swimming in a nice sauce with leeks and celery too. They're soaking into those wide pasta noodles and keeping those baby back ribs all moist and delicious.
It seems a crime that I am dining alone this evening, but leftovers will definitely warm up SB when he returns from a weekend of trail work in the White Mountains. Poor guy. He was hoping to have a nice weekend to get some work done on the AMC hiking trails, but it's been a wash-out here in New England and I don't think AMC provide beers for lounging around in the huts when the weather sucks. Oh well.

I woke up this morning and looked out my window; it was pretty and all, but it was wet and clammy and all I could think about was putting a slow cooking dinner in the Dutch oven, watching some old episodes of 'Castle',working on my hexagon quilt project, and getting some laundry done. Good old Nigel Slater came through for me with a wonderful slow cooking recipe for a short rack of pork ribs, a classic combo of stewing veg, and some al dente pasta for sopping up the juices.

What a guy!

I took Nigel's recipe and thickened the sauces a bit with more beef broth, cornstarch and a bit of browning sauce added to bump up the body on the sauce. Otherwise, this is classic Nigel Slater - right out of his Notes From the Larder. It was stellar!  Make this dish when you want an easy, braised supper that will fill you up and leave you sucking on the bones and wishing for more. Crack a nice bottle of Zinfandel and you'll be a happy soul.

Smack your lips and smile! Life is good.

 Rib Ragout with Pappardelle for Two
slightly adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe


1 leek, white and light green sections, washed and chopped, small dice
2 carrots, peeled and chopped, small dice
2 stalks celery, washed and chopped, small dice
3 tbsp. butter, divided
3 c. Crimini mushrooms, chopped, small dice
1 short rack of pork baby back ribs, washed, dried, rubbed with salt and black pepper (about ten ribs total)
3 ½ c. beef broth, divided
1 ½ tbsp. cornstarch
A few drops of browning sauce

6 oz. dried pappardelle pasta
Olive oil for drizzling
Black pepper

1 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. chopped garlic cloves
A spritz of lemon juice

Making the Dish:

  1. Prep the onion, celery, and carrots and set aside.
  2. Melt half the butter in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the butter is sizzling, cut the rib rack into sections of three ribs each and add to the pot meat side down. Sear the ribs, turning when they are browned.
  3. Lower the heat slightly and add the onions, celery, and carrots. Sweat the vegetables for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the second half of the butter measure and the mushrooms and continue cooking for another five minutes.
  5. Pour 3 cups of the beef broth measure over all and bring the broth to a boil, scraping the pot to release the cracklings and sticky vegetable bits.
  6. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, put a heat diffuser beneath the Dutch oven, cover it, and simmer the pot gently for about three hours.
  7. Mix the cornstarch and browning sauce in with the last of the beef broth measure.
  8. In the last half hour of cooking time, remove the lid of the Dutch oven, stir in the broth slurry, and stir to thicken the sauce a bit. Let it bubble gently while you boil water and cook the pappardelle pasta.
  9. While the pasta cooks, make a gremolata by mixing the prepped parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the gremolata and set aside.
  10. Drain the al dente pasta and toss with a bit of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.
  11. To serve, spoon some of the sauce onto a plate. Top with some pasta. Lay a rib section atop. Add some more sauce and vegetables. Sprinkle on some gremolata. Serve piping hot.
shared with the I Heart Cooking Club as it honors Nigel Slater and his take on food


  1. This is a dreamy post, especially since the thermometer read 106 today in California! I can't wait to make this meal, it sounds divine!

  2. Oh life is good indeed. You pain the perfect picture and cook the perfect meal. Good old Nigel eh?

  3. Your papparadelle looks so delicious! With the baby back ribs, I am smacking my lips! Life is good indeed! :)

  4. This does look like a meal that would make you happy and very satisfied.
    Life is good! ;-)

  5. The picture of your view outside is beautiful. Your leaves are already changing into a beautiful shade of red. Here in Kentucky ours are just barely starting to turn. There is lots and lots of pasta in this round of Nigel recipes and I am oh so very hungry for a bowl of this good comfort! I love that you thickened the sauce with some cornstarch. We like our sauces thick as well and I often do the same:)

  6. Pasta, I love everything with pasta. It was nice to cook with you and Nigel

  7. So.. I just noticed the my daugther-in-law Jess, was signed in and I was commenting under her name. LOL But I still think the dish looks great as does your view.

  8. Looks wonderful, Susan. Although we are enjoying lovely spring days here now, the evenings are still cool enough that I could happily enjoy a big bowl of these ribs and pasta. Lovely photos too.

  9. The weather has been quite mild here so the leaves are just starting to turn and that dish looks perfect for the cooler weather.


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