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Pasta with “Rib Sauce”

09-Nov-2006
 
I’m a saver and I hate wasting anything that’s still "good".  Especially if it’s food!  Especially if it’s good.  I like to braise meats, especially ribs, and once the braising is done there is all kinds of good stuff left in the bottom of the pan. 
 
There’s all the ingredients that went into the braising liquid:  broth or stock; wine; tomatoes are all examples.  This liquid is now fortified with the marrow that has been cooked from the bones, making a thick, almost gravy-like sauce.  When possible I incorporate this into the meal but it’s not always possible.  For instance, a week ago, I had braised ribs as an appetizer for a party.  The last thing I needed was extra sauce on the ribs!
 
So instead I saved that liquid.  Once cooled and in the refrigerator, all the fat will come to the top and solidify so it’s really easy to remove.  Underneath the fat is a layer of rich, thick gel.  The photo shows just a little scoop of it. 
 
 
 
I sometimes use this as the base of a soup – add a bit more stock and some vegetables and you have a hearty lunch.  But one of my favorite ways to use it is even easier than that!  I often use this reduction as a sauce for pasta. 
 
You simply cook your pasta (I like to use something with ridges), drain it and then return it to the pan.  Next scoop some of the gel onto the hot pasta and stir over low heat until the pasta is coated – add more of the reduction until you get the amount of "sauce" you’d like.  I also sometimes add, as in this case, some of the leftover vegetables from the braise.  In the following photos you can see a couple of mushrooms and may be able to pick out some onions. 
 
This easy idea makes such a wonderful warming hearty meal.  And best of all, I haven’t wasted a thing!   
 
 
 
 
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