Rigatoni with Ragout of BBQ Ribs

01 Mar

(serves 4)
This recipe uses pre-cooked southern style BBQ pork ribs and as the meat is already saturated with flavour and tenderized during the BBQ process, this makes for a fast and convenient ragout pasta. It’s delicious but probably the last thing you’d find on the menu in an Italian restaurant, given that its main ingredient is from the US of A. The other key ingredient is mascarpone, which has the effect of transforming the tangy BBQ sauce into a hearty ragout sauce.
  1. Rigatoni Pasta (350g)
  2. BBQ Pork Ribs (half slab)
  3. Mascarpone (250g)
  4. BBQ Sauce (0.5 cup)
  5. Bourbon (2 T)
  6. Chicken Stock Cube (0.5)
  7. Coriander Seed Powder (1t)
  8. Chopped Basil (1T)


  1. Put a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. 
  2. Next, debone you ribs. Without paying too much attention to appearance, cut the meat into smaller bits. You should end up with about 3 cups of meat. 
  3. Using half a cup of hot water, dissolve your chicken cube. Add to it 1t of sugar and 1t of coriander seed powder. If you have (salted) chicken stock available, you can use that instead of the cube.  
  4. In a pot (or frying pan if you have a big one), fry the meat in 2T of olive oil, doing your best to smash the pieces into shreds (with a wooden spatula). This should take a minute or so once the oil is hot. – By now your water should be boiling and you can put your rigatoni into the water.
  5. With the fire still going, add the mascarpone, BBQ sauce (I like hickory smoked myself) and 2T of bourbon. Cook for another minute and then remove from heat.
  6. You should cook your pasta until it is still hard but no longer powdery when bitten. Rigatoni takes longer to cook than most other pasta so this should take about 7 minutes, but will depend on each particular brand.
  7. When the pasta is ‘done’ , drain it and then add it to the sauce in the pot. Pour in the chiken stock and continue to cook the pasta in the pot until it is al dente, or as soft as you like. Stir gently all the way. You are supposed to reduce the water content by heating but if it looks like the sauce is drying up to much, add a bit of water. Add salt to taste if neccessary at the end. 
  8. Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with some chopped basil after you have placed the individual servings on their plates.


  • The Italian term ‘ragu’ is usually used when you have a meat and veggie bolognaise style sauce. ‘Ragout’ is the French term and is interpreted more loosely to include any kind of slow cooked meat sauce. 
  • When using ragout or any other sauces with chunks of meat, you have to stick to the large pasta so the meat has a surface to cling to. If you don’t have any rigatoni handy, you can also try parpadelle or hand torn lasagne.
  • One of the key secrets in making pasta dishes is to undercook and do the final softening in the sauce itself. This allows the pasta to capture flavour from the sauce and also keeps the temperature from falling before you serve.
  • The whole idea is to not have to BBQ the ribs yourself. You can buy pre-cooked BBQ ribs at the supermarket, order home delivery, or as I often do: over-order at the restaurant and doggie-bag half a slab. However, if you want to BBQ the ribs yourself, I have a recipe for BBQ ribs as well.
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Posted by on March 1, 2010 in Main Courses, Pasta, Recipe


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