At some point I picked up Marcella Hazan’s book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and decided I was going to show it who’s boss. Cover to cover, more or less; I was gonna be a priestess of pasta, goddess of gelato, archduchess of anchovies. Like Julie and Julia — except I’m not Amy Adams and the Danguole and Marcella story is moving at a glacial pace. I’m probably three recipes in.
It’s not that I don’t love the idea of doing exactly that, but my style and goals have changed. Plus, it is far more enjoyable for me these days to flip open that big fat tome before bed and browse for a recipe that inspires me. It’s exciting to have to choose just one, for the time being. Last week, I found myself in the glorious “Pork” section. There was a red-wine braised “Drunken Pork” recipe, but a quick Google search turned me away from it because evidently, not too many people have found it workable. I am not delusional, friends: if the whole Internet is having trouble with something, I will be unsuccessful and probably hurt myself somehow.
So, I settled on a promising pan-roasted ribs recipe. Wine is a common theme, yes. But besides that, simple, hearty, porky was exactly what I was after, and they did not disappoint. Not even the one that dropped out of high school to pursue an acting career.
I paired it with a celery root puree, because that’s new to me, and anything new to me is automatically my jam. Celeriac, as it’s also called, has a delicate flavor reminiscent of celery (obviously) and herbs, namely parsley. The texture is silky and perfect, which means it’s a great way to mix up your starchy sides game.
Back to the meat: It’s not a cook-forever-until-they-fall-off-the-bone kind of ribs recipe — but sometimes I prefer that. Impatience, hangriness… These are all things we have to deal with. The ribs are by no means tough, but they do require you to work a little. And working a little never hurt anybody, especially a hungry anybody.
I think all of my photo shoots end with “and then I destroyed it” shots. Probably the opposite of glamour shots, but obviously my favorite ones. For personal reasons.
P.S. As I type this, I’m practically running out the door for Christmas Funsies Recipe Ingredients. Stay tuned — it might be a disaster only safe for Instagram, or I might get more festive than usual on the blog this year. I hope it doesn’t feel too strange and uncomfortable, like that one weird uncle who hates everybody showing up at the family reunion and acting all sweet. At the very least, I won’t ask you to spot me a $20 when all is said and done. Ten bucks will do. xoxo!
- 3-pound rack of ribs (I used half this amount, which was plenty for four servings in my opinion), membrane removed, divided into single ribs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 large celery roots (about 2 pounds total), peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 small waxy yellow potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/2 large yellow onion, peeled, quartered
- 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 5 pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large sauté pan, heat up the oil on medium-high heat. Add the ribs and cook, turning occasionally as they begin to brown deeply, for about 10 minutes. (Note: the recipe calls for 3 lbs of ribs, which I halved; if you use the whole 3 lbs, you may need to brown the ribs in two batches.)
- Add the garlic and sage and cook, stirring and turning the ribs, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and turn down the heat. Cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook for about 40 minutes, turning the ribs occasionally, until tender. Add water, a couple tablespoons at a time, if the pan becomes dry (I had no issues with this with just 1.5 lbs of ribs). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Bring milk, water, and salt to boil over high heat in a large pot. Add celery root, potato, and onion, and return to boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked through and tender, 30 minutes or so (potatoes will take the longest). Drain and discard the cooking liquid.
- Process vegetables and butter in a food processor or blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.