The Recipes

Night at home treat for one!

Tonight is the perfect example of what I am trying to do:  save money and stay at home and cook... and feel as decadent and indulgent as Samantha from 'Sex and the City' in the process.

Sensuous Slow-Cooked Spare Ribs with soft polenta and broccolini


- Two spare ribs
- 1/2 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
- 1 c. dry white wine
- 2 c. chicken stock (vegetable would also work)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 thyme bundle
- 1/4 c. polenta grits or quick-cooking polenta
- 1 T. butter
- One bundle broccolini
- Salt
- Pepper
- Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Put the fennel, garlic, onion, carrot and celery in a food processor with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Puree.  In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil; it should be about three turns of the pan or enough to lightly coat the bottom.  Season the spare ribs with salt and pepper and sear on each side to get a nice, brown crust.  Remove the spare ribs from the pan.  Put the blended vegetable mixture into the dutch oven and allow to brown for 3-4 minutes.  Add the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Add the bay leaf and thyme bundle, then nestle the ribs into the liquid.  Add the stock.  Cover the pot and put it into the oven.  Cook for approximately two hours.  Check the pot at least twice to ensure you still have liquid in the bottom of the pot.

As you near the end of the cooking time, prepare the polenta according to package instructions.  Salt the water regardless of what kind of polenta you use; finish the polenta with the butter.

Meanwhile, cook the broccolini for 2-3 minutes in salted boiling water.  Plate the polenta, nestling the broccolini on top, followed by the ribs.  Ladle a bit of the sauce from the pot over the broccolini and ribs, taking care to remove the bay leaf and thyme bundle.

Wait a minute.  This is my sexy night at home.  Something's missing.  There it is!!