In the traditional italian cooking you will find so many delicious recipes featuring these cuts. Here it has always been a natural way of cooking - nothing is wasted. Today this type of cooking has become a fashion - with St. John's restaurants in London leading the way in this new Nose to Tail philosophy.
In the roman kitchen you will find restaurants and even whole neighborhoods dedicated to what we call the "firth quarter" - quinto quarto. Here the old butcher neighborhood of Tesstaccio is most famous.
In the roman kitchen quinto quarto is the offal of butchered animals. The name makes sense on more than one level: because offal amounts to about a fourth of the weight of the carcass; because the importance of offal in Roman cooking is at least as great as any of the outer quarters, fore and hind; and because in the past slaughterhouse workers were partly paid in kind with a share of the offal.
Until modern time the division of the cattle in Rome was made following this simple scheme: the first "quarto" was dedicated to be sold to the Nobles, the second one was for the clergy, the third one for the Bourgeoisie and eventually the fourth "quarto" was for the soldiers. The proletariat could afford only the entrails.
Well today we are going to cook one of our favorite dishes from La Cucina Povera - it kind of goes into the category of "quinto quarto" - but it's more accessible.
Il Sugo di spuntature.
These ribs can be eaten in a number of ways - on their own with some good bread to soak up the juices, with polenta or the traditional way - the sauce with small bits and pieces of meat are served with pasta or gnocchi as a primo and then the meat is served as a secondo with some kind of greens - 2 servings in on pot.
extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp fennel seeds
pinch of dried chili
4 sticks of rosemary
6 bay leaves, fresh if you have them
2 tins of tinned tomatoes, 400 g
sea salt and black pepper
1,5 kg ribs
Start by making the tomato sauce. Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan with low sides, and saute garlic, fennel seeds, chili, rosemary and bay leaves for a few minutes. You don't want the garlic to brown, just to caramelize a bit and get a nice nutty flavor. Pour in the tomatoes and break them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the ribs into pieces, cut between the bones and chop each rib into 2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sear the ribs on all sides, do this in batches. You want a nice coloration on the meat - adds lots of flavor to the sauce. Set a side on a plate and brown the rest of the ribs.
When your sauce is ready add the ribs to the pan, making sure they are covered in the sauce. Pour in any juices, that's left on the plate. Cover the ribs with a piece of parchment and then with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and let the ribs simmer for about 2 hours or until fork tender. Keep an eye on the pan, if the sauce seems to dry out, add a little water as you go.
Now you have a feast for a king.....happy cooking.