Our supplier in Calabria Tonino Sansone lives in Cervicati. Go there in August and many old women from the village are out in the streets sat around wide, shallow saucepans that are balanced precariously on big gas burners. The pans are full of tomatoes (growing tomatoes seems to be mandatory for all southern Italians) and, after a day gently simmering, the tomatoes are bottled, boiled and stored for use over the winter.
The passata they make is so full of sweetness and Italian sunshine that very little has to be done with it in the kitchen. Lorena, Tonino’s wife, makes a sauce by browning ribs from their black Calabrian pigs then adding passata and simmering the whole thing on a low light for 2 hours. The pasta she uses is long, handmade maccheroni but before tossing the pasta with the sauce she takes the ribs out and serves them on a separate plate. The long slow cooking has made them deliciously tender and given body and flavour to the sauce with their rich, glossy fat.
If you don’t have any handy bottles of homemade Calabrian passata use tinned tomatoes but add a chopped onion when you’re browning the meat.
Ingredients for 4
2 tins of Italian plum tomatoes
500g pork ribs
Fry the onion and the ribs together for 25-30 minutes until the onion is soft and the meat is browned all over. Then add the passata or tinned tomatoes and simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours adding water when the sauce looks like it is getting too dry. Cook the linguini then remove the ribs from the sauce and toss it with the pasta. Pile the ribs on a plate and serve them alongside.