Sugo con Costolette (koh-stoh-LEHT-tah) di manzo is Italian for Sauce with Beef Ribs, a popular Sunday comfort food in Italy. Many people refer to it as simply Sunday Gravy. We like our sugo served over pasta or Goat Cheese Gnocchi. If there happen to be any leftovers, we gently reheat the sauce in a covered saucepan on the stove. Comfort food, indeed!
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||Sugo: Rub ribs with salt and pepper; set aside. In a 5-quart terra cotta or 6-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat, bring oil to a shimmer. Place the ribs, fat side down, in a circle around the edges with the guanciale in the middle. While the guanciale is browning, brown ribs on 2 sides, turning once with tongs (~6 minutes total). Transfer to a 3-quart bowl, leaving the guanciale and fat behind.||Terra cotta is traditional cookware in Italy. Enameled cast iron is nonreactive and will not release undesirable flavors during deglazing. Heat destroys and wastes the subtle flavors of expensive extra-virgin olive oil.|
||Pulse vegetables and garlic together in a food processor to mince. Do not purée! Add all to the pan; stir to deglaze. Sweat, occasionally turning with a bamboo spatula until tender (10-12 minutes).||Onion, carrot, and celery are the Holy Trinity of Italian cuisine, foundational to many dishes. Deglazing uses liquid to release tasty bits. Sweating concentrates vegetable flavor without browning. Bamboo is gentle on cookware.|
||Add wine and broth; reduce by half (15-18 minutes). Meanwhile, place an oven rack just below the center; preheat to 350°F Convection (verify with an oven thermometer).||As the wine simmers, it becomes a rich brown color. Internal oven thermostats are often improperly calibrated. Italian Calabrian peppers have a spicy, fruity flavor profile.|
||Add all to the pan, stirring to combine: return meat to the pan. Cover (crack the lid slightly if using enameled cast iron); simmer in the oven until sauce reduces by half, the fat has risen to the top, and the meat is tender, pulling away from the bone (3-3 1/2 hours). Remove the meat; discard the fat and bones (or save for stock). Tear meat into bite-sized pieces and return to the sauce. In the final 20 minutes, start the pasta or Goat Cheese Gnocchi.||Tomato acidity tenderizes the meat. Cast-iron lids fit tightly, which inhibits sauce reduction. Slow cooking allows the heat to break down the connective tissue in meat.|
||Pasta: In a covered 5-quart tri-ply stockpot, bring water to a rolling boil (10-12 minutes) over high heat. Add pasta and salt and give a big stir with a fork to separate the strands. When boiling resumes, reduce the heat to hold at a low rolling boil. When pasta is al dente (as per package), ladle ~1 cup of hot pasta water into each serving dish to prewarm. Drain pasta thoroughly in a mesh strainer, giving vigorous shakes; return to pan; cover with a lint-free dishcloth until the meat is shredded and returned to the sauce. Uncover the pasta and ladle a spoonful of sauce over the top; toss with two forks to evenly coat. Discard pasta water from the serving dishes, serve pasta topped with remaining sauce. Serve immediately.||Turbulent water helps prevent gummy pasta. Adding salt after water is hot reduces metal pitting. A cloth keeps pasta warm without holding in excess steam.|
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