Tuscan-Style Pork Spareribs

Amanda Hesser


This recipe, from NYC chef Cesare Casella, appeared several years ago in an article by JBF Award–winning authors Matt Lee and Ted Lee and was reprinted in The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century. In the book, Hesser suggests serving the ribs and sauce in large shallow bowls, with beer and plenty of napkins on the side.


3 tablespoons minced garlic, plus 2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tablespoons finely chopped sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
7 pounds pork spareribs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
Two 28-ounce cans tomatoes, with their juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry white wine


Combine the minced garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Put the spareribs on a baking sheet and rub well with the spice mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 375ºF. Arrange the ribs in a 12 x 16-inch roasting pan (use 2 pans if necessary) and roast uncovered for 1 hour, or until browned.

Turn the ribs over and roast for another hour. If drippings in the bottom of the pan begin to burn, add a small amount of water or olive oil.

Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a large saucepan, add the sliced garlic and remaining tablespoon of crushed red pepper, and sauté over medium heat until the garlic begins to color. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and 1 1/2 cups water; season with salt, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. As the tomatoes soften, break them up with a whisk and stir. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, and remove from the heat.

When the ribs have browned on both sides, pour the wine, remaining 1 cup water, and the tomato sauce over them. (If you’ve used 2 pans to roast the ribs, combine them all in one pan now.) Cover the pan with foil and roast for 40 minutes.

Remove the foil, skim off the excess fat, and roast uncovered for 20 minutes more. Cut into 4-rib sections.


6 servings