Penne with accidental pork sauce

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How I made a mistake take really good

“What I would do now,” my chef buddy said, “is take those ribs out of the pot, cook the sauce down, and serve it with tagliatelle.” They were baby back ribs, braised long enough to get soft, the meat falling off the bone. We did what he said. It was the right thing to do.

Later I thought, of course. Some years back I had tagliatelle in a rabbit sauce in Siena. Same idea. Long cook the rabbit alla cacciatore, extract the pieces, use the sauce with a pasta for primo piatto. Then serve the rabbit as secondo.

This morning I goofed my way to such a sauce. Yesterday the local market had a sale on pork. What I wanted was a roast—a shoulder or a butt. What I got was lean loin. So foolish—because I was going to braise the meat.

Seasoned and seered, the meat cooked in my gorgeous crock , seen above (the Italians call it coccio).

We’re talking stew, in minimalist terms, with lots with onion, garlic, rosemary, and a generous splash of leftover prosecco or whatever white wine you have in the fridge. Long cook, covered, in the oven at 195 F for about seven hours.

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Well I foolishly had my hopes up that the meat would be okay.These were dashed. Lacking the fat, the meat was kind of dry and chewy. It was good. It just wasn’t stuff-yourself-until-you-hurt great. Still, I got an excellent sauce. What Gianni said: Lift the pieces of meat out of the pot, cook the sauce down, serve it with a pasta.

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It became penne with accidental pork sauce.

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You cooks out there—what do you do with a pile of pork, besides continue making mind-blowing pasta sauce? The leftover meat—what do you do with a pile of pork?

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