Beans and Pork Ribs (Fagioli e Costine di Maiale)
By Lana Granfors
Photos by Kara Stewart
This recipe was inspired by a dish I enjoyed in a little trattoria in Florence, Italy. I like to imagine it as a recipe handed down by a sweet nonna, through the generations. The food of Italy is some of the best I have eaten, so I continue to try new dishes, reliving our amazing time there.
The ribs and beans in this one-dish meal, offer up a wonderful sauce. Eat as a stand-alone dish or dish over a serving of pasta. My choice? Either penne or rigatoni! I hope you and your family enjoy this one… mine sure does!
2 lbs. country-style pork ribs
1 T kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 T minced garlic
1 cup dry red wine or beef broth
2 T tomato paste dissolved in 2 T water
1- 28 oz can, Italian plum tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup diced celery
2 T minced garlic
½ lb. dried Cannellini or Great Northern Beans (Soak overnight, day before. Drain before using)
8 cup chicken stock
Leaves of a sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
¼ c chopped fresh Italian parsley
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hour – 2 ½ hours
Total Time: 2 ½ hour – 3 hours
STEP 1: Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Season the ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Carefully add the ribs, in batches, and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, until browned on both sides. When the ribs are caramelized on both sides, set them out on a sheet pan. Repeat the process with the remaining ribs.
STEP 2: Drain most of the oil from the pan. Add the garlic, stirring to avoid burning. Turn the heat to high, add the wine or beef broth and bring to a boil. Add the tomato paste and the plum tomatoes, stirring well. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Add ribs back to pan and cook for two hours, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add water to keep consistency of a thick sauce. Simmer the ribs for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
STEP 3: Heat another large pot over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the chopped vegetables to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the celery and carrots are lightly caramelized, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic during the last couple of minutes of cooking time. Add the beans and enough broth to cover by about one inch. Add the rosemary and bay leaves and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, and then lower to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hr, until tender.
STEP 4: Ribs and beans will be tender. If not, continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. To serve, place a rib on each plate or bowl, and then spoon some beans to the side. Top both with about a quarter cup of sauce. Finally, garnish each plate with a sprinkling of the Italian parsley.