Ultimate fried chicken, from Andrew Carmellini
RIGATONI WITH SUNDAY NIGHT RAGU
FOR THE RAGU
- 1 pound St. Louis ribs (spare ribs, trimmed, with the brisket bones removed)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder,
- cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced superfine
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Calabrian, dried on the branch)
- Two 28-ounce cans chopped plum tomatoes with their juice (I like Jersey Fresh)
FOR THE PASTA AND TO FINISH THE DISH
- 1 pound dried rigatoni
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
TO MAKE THE RAGU
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Sprinkle both sides of the pork ribs generously with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Lay the ribs on a rack in a roasting pan, put it on the middle oven rack, and roast for 30 minutes. When the ribs have been in the oven for 15 minutes or so, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the pork shoulder to the pot and let it cook for about 7 minutes, until it's well browned. Stir the meat every few minutes so nothing sticks. Stir in the onions, turn the flame down to medium, and keep cooking for about 3 minutes, until the onions have started to soften and color up a little.
Stir in the garlic and let everything cook for another minute or so, until the garlic has released its aroma. Make sure you keep stirring during this portion of the proceedings, so the garlic doesn't burn and wreck everything. Then stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the red pepper flakes, and the oregano.
When the ribs have started to brown and caramelize, pull them out of the oven and add them to the pot, along with the canned tomatoes and 2 cups of water. (Don't worry too much about how perfectly done the ribs may or may not be-this is just to give them a head start. They're going to cook in the ragu for another 31/2 hours, so they're definitely going to be done.)
Bring the sauce up to a simmer; then turn the flame down to low and let the ragu keep cooking for about 31/2 hours, checking it every so often and giving it a stir to make sure nothing's sticking or burning on the sides of the pot.
When the rib meat is falling off the bone and the pork shoulder is nice and tender, pull the pot off the flame and use a slotted spoon to pull the chunks of pork and the ribs from the pot. Pile them on a big plate and let them cool down on the countertop (or in the fridge, if you're in a hurry).
Use a ladle to skim the fat off the top of the sauce, so it doesn't get greasy.
When the meat is cool enough to handle, rip the pieces of shoulder apart, turning it into chunks, by digging in your thumbs and pulling. Do the same with the ribs, but be careful not to mush up the meat. Pile the pulled meat in a bowl; throw the bones away, but pour any sauce that's left on the plate over the pulled meat.
TO FINISH THE DISH
Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil for the pasta.
When the water boils, add the rigatoni to the pot and let it cook for the time specified on the box minus 1 minute. If the sauce has cooled, heat it up on the stove over a low flame.
Mix the meat back into the sauce. When the pasta is just al dente, drain it (but don't rinse it) and add it to the pot on the stove. Turn the heat to medium and cook the pasta in the sauce for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring it every few seconds. You want the pasta to soak up the flavors of the sauce. If the sauce seems dry, add a little bit of water.
Turn the flame off; then add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and the olive oil to the pot and mix everything together really well. The Italians call this process mantecare, which means "to make creamy." Scoop the ragu into individual bowls, sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan and the chopped parsley on top, and serve this right away.
COLLARD GREENS AC-STYLE
My mom taught me how to make great collard greens. When I was growing up, she used to buy collards at West Side Market, the great farmers' market in downtown Cleveland. I can pretty much guarantee she was the only Polish woman in town cooking up collards soul food-style, with bacon and onions, back in the 'seventies. My mom? She's got soul.
When I grew up and started eating collards in restaurants, I found that they were usually pretty bland and mushy. I wanted to pump them up a bit, so I added Franks' Red Hot (the classic Buffalo hot sauce), honey and vinegar to round it out and give the dish a great hot-sweet-sour taste. True collards should taste earthy, smoky, and vinegary--like these.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 medium onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
- 3 bunches collard greens (about 3 pounds), stems removed, sliced into pieces 1" wide.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot (or your favorite hot sauce)
When I'm working with collard greens, I like to lay each leaf flat on a cutting board and cut the stem out by running the point of a sharp knife along either side of the big inner stem--then I just slice it across the top to pull it out. When all the stems are removed, I pile the greens up and slice them at 1" intervals from top to bottom, right through the pile.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the bacon and let it fry up a little, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.
When some of the bacon fat has rendered and the meat has started to brown (about 3 minutes), add the onions and mix them in well, so they're coated in the fat. Keep cooking for another 2 minutes or so, until the onions have softened.
Add the collard greens, the salt and the pepper, and toss everything together as well as possible, so the leaves are really coated and shiny.
Add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a low boil, cover the pot, and let the greens cook for about 45 minutes, until they're really tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the honey, the vinegar and the Frank's Red Hot, and mix everything together well. Serve these right away, with the cider-glazed pork chop or fried chicken.
For even more of Andrew's recipes, go to Page 3.
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