My kids went crazy for it to, my boys loved the fact that they got to sprinkle over a little chocolate on the sauce at the table, it made the meal perfect for them. My daughter preferred it without the chocolate. I loved it with or without the chocolate, it was amazing both ways, so use the chocolate or don't use it, it is up to you.
After a bit of initial preparation, you get to put the sauce into the oven and forget about it for 2 hours. It is so simple. The final hour requires you to bring it to the stove top to reduce it into the luscious sauce it will become.
If you do not have an ovenproof dish at home, you can cook the dish completely on the stove top, the first 1.5 hours simmer it over low heat covered, the remaining 1.5 hours, simmer it uncovered. You will need to keep an eye on it though this way, to ensure it does not burn.
Either way it takes three hours to make, but it really is worth it.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped pancetta
1kg beef spare ribs
1/4 cup plain flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled, diced
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small red chilli, chopped
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup red wine
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
400g tagliatelle or pasta of your choice, I liked Casarecce Siciliane
4-6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes until it is golden and crisp. While the pancetta is cooking, place the beef spare ribs and the flour in a snap lock bag, shake the beef about to ensure the flour coats it all over. Remove the pancetta from the dish with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Shake the excess flour off the ribs and add the ribs to the casserole dish, cook until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove the meat, and set aside.
To the casserole dish add the onion, carrot, parsley, garlic and chilli, sauté for 2-3 minutes or until onions have softened. Add in the tomato paste, stir through for 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and pancetta, stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, beef stock and wine. Season with salt and pepper, stir. Return the ribs back to the dish, ensuring it is covered by the liquid. Bring it to the boil with the lid on, then put it in your preheated oven to cook for 2 hours.
After the 2 hours, bring the casserole dish back to the stove top and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Using tongs, remove the ribs from the sauce. Shred or chop up the meat, discard the bones, then return the meat to the sauce. Taste for seasoning, continue to simmer over low heat for 15-20 or until your sauce has reduced enough to coat the pasta. Be careful in the last 20 minutes as it can burn if not stirred frequently.
For the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook as per packet directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water (if you choose option 1 below), then drain away the rest.
You can either do one of two things now,
Option 1: stir the pasta through the sauce, and if needed, add the reserved water 1/4 cup at a time to moisten the pasta. Doing it this way is only a problem if you have too much pasta for the sauce, then you don't get the richness of the sauce.
Option 2: Which is what I do. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, I add a 1-2 ladles full of the sauce to the pasta, and stir it through, this stops the pasta from sticking together. Then at the table, I put pasta into everyone's bowls, and top it with the luscious rib sauce. Whoever likes the chocolate adds only 1/2-1 teaspoon now, and stirs it through.
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