This is one of those rare cases when the name of a dish sounds better in English than it does in the original Italian. Simona of Grembiule da Cucina always has wonderful Italian home cooking recipes from her region Emilia, the land of prosciutto di Parma, aceto balsamico, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Lambrusco. She wrote a wonderful story about the late feminist Rina, of whom she learned how to prepare pork ribs in umido a long time ago. A vital ingredient to this recipe, as it is for many recipes from the region, is concia, salt mixed with herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, and cloves. I’ve mentioned a similar aromatized salt from Emilia previously, but there it was called aglione and also included garlic. Other than that, the ribs are stewed with red wine (in Emilia that means Lambrusco) and the holy trinity of onion, celery, and carrot.
Simona stewed the ribs on the stovetop, which means you have to use very low heat and turn the ribs regularly to allow them to cook evenly. It won’t be a surprise that I opted to cook them sous-vide. In this case I chose to stick with the stewed texture, and so I cooked them sous-vide for 8 hours at 75C/167F. This will give the same result as an expert stew on the stovetop, but it is easier as you don’t have to watch the heat or turn the ribs while they are cooking. If you mess up the stovetop stewing, the ribs will end up dry. No such risk with the sous-vide preparation. But if you don’t have sous-vide equipment, please feel free to cook these ribs on the stovetop. If you do it well, the result will be the same. In any case, make these ribs because they are great. The sauce has a wonderful deep flavor. Simona, ti ringrazio per la ricetta!
For 2 servings
500 grams (1.1 lbs) of meaty pork ribs, cut into individual ribs
120 ml (1/2 cup) of red wine, preferably Lambrusco
1 carrot, minced
1 stick celery, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flour
120 ml (1/2 cup) of pork stock
1 tsp corn starch (optional)
For the concia
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground bay leaf (or 1 tsp minced bay leaf)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp minced rosemary
1/2 Tbsp minced sage
Mince the rosemary and sage very fine.
Make concia by combining 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, 1/8 tsp ground bay leaf (or 1 tsp minced bay leaf), 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 Tbsp minced rosemary, and 1/2 Tbsp minced sage.
If you are cooking the ribs on the stovetop, mix them with the concia and allow the concia to penetrate for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
When cooking sous-vide, this step can be skipped because the concia will have plenty of time to penetrate the ribs during those 8 hours of soaking in the sous-vide. Put the ribs in a ziplock bag with the concia and 2 tablespoons of flour.
Close the ziplock bag and shake until the ribs are covered all over with flour and concia.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat and add the ribs.
Brown the ribs on all sides, then take them out the pan and set aside. The concia will produce wonderful aromas.
Add minced carrot, onion, and celery to the frying pan.
Stir over medium heat until the vegetables are golden, about 10 minutes.
Add 120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine and 120 ml (1/2 cup) pork stock.
Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. (If not cooking sous-vide, add the ribs at this point, and stew them over low heat until they are tender, turning them often.)
Vacuum seal the ribs with the vegetables. A regular “clamp” style vacuum sealer cannot be used for this, unless you freeze the liquids first. Instead, there are two options.
If you use a chamber vacuum sealer, allow everything to cool down to room temperature (refrigerated temperature is even better) and vacuum seal. Otherwise the mixture may start to boil because of the low pressure.
Otherwise, use a ziplock bag and the water displacement method.
Cook sous-vide at 75C/167F for 6 to 12 hours. There is a pretty long window in which the ribs will be great and you can take advantage of that. For instance by putting them in the sous-vide before you leave for work, and then finding them ready to eat upon your return.
After cooking sous-vide, put everything but the ribs in a saucepan, and use an immersion blender to puree it until completely smooth.
If you cooked the ribs on the stovetop, the evaporation during the cooking will probably have reduced the sauce sufficiently. In sous-vide cooking there is no evaporation, so we still need to thicken the sauce. You should taste the sauce to decide which options is preferable. If the sauce already has a strong flavor, use a bit of corn starch dissolved in cold water to thicken it. Otherwise, simply reduce the sauce until its thickness and flavor are to your liking.
Don’t forget to keep the ribs warm while you are finishing the sauce, by wrapping them in aluminum foil.
Serve the ribs with plenty of the wonderful sauce.
Lambrusco has a bad reputation, and it is indeed hard to find good Lambrusco outside of Italy, but it certainly does exist and it is the perfect pairing for the ribs as it cuts through the grease.
Another light red such as Bardolino could work as well.
These orange muffins are really miniaturized versions of a bundt cake, and they are absolutely divine because after baking they have been soaked in fresh orange juice.