Costina Tuscan Pork Spare Ribs

Costina, a Recipe by Curemaster and Chef Cesare Casella

While Cesare may be known for his prosciutto these days, we met him as a chef back when he was on the forefront of New York’s burgeoning regional Italian cuisine scene. With a shared connection to Slow Food and Carlo Petrini, we soon realized we were kindred spirits. Having left the kitchen for the curehouse, Cesare remains a chef at heart, and his recipes live on forever.

Cesare marinates our meaty heritage breed spare ribs in a medley of familiar Italian ingredients, as well as spezie forte, a complex, often secret spice blend, that is unique to each Italian butcher. He roasts the ribs before marrying them with wine and tomato. They simmer away lazily until melt-in-your-mouth tender. This dish leaves us satisified and sleepy, soon to be dreaming of Tuscan hillsides. Pair it with a Chianti Classico.

Costina Tuscan Pork Spare Ribs


For the Rub

  • 30 grams chopped garlic
  • 15 grams chopped sage
  • 15 grams chopped rosemary
  • 50 grams salt
  • 10 grams black pepper
  • 5 grams spezie forte (can sub garam masala or see below recipe)
  • 5 grams crushed red pepper
  • 1 rack of spare ribs split in half

For the Sauce

  • extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
  • 10 grams sliced garlic
  • 5 grams crushed red pepper
  • Two 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 quart of water
  • 45 milliliters Worcestershire sauce
  • 45 milliliters hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or your favorite)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250ml white wine

For the Spezie forte, yields approx 1 pint of spice

  • 15 grams ground coriander
  • 15 grams ground cloves
  • 15 grams ground star anise or ground aniseed
  • 15 grams paprika 
  • 15 grams freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 grams ground allspice
  • 15 grams nutmeg
  • 15 grams cinnamon
  • 15 grams mace
  • 15 grams juniper berries


  1. Combine the ingredients for the rub: garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, black and red peppers, and spezie forte. Rub over the ribs. Drizzle the ribs with a little olive oil. Wrap in plastic and let marinate overnight in the fridge.
  2. For the sauce, place the oil and garlic in a large saucepan and cook slowly until the garlic is soft and just beginning to color. Add the red pepper flakes, tomato, water, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer. Crush the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon as you stir. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Reserve sauce on the side.
  3. Place the ribs in a roasting pan and roast at 350ºF until well browned, about 50 minutes, turning every 20 minutes. Remove ribs from pan and drain off the fat.
  4. Deglaze the roasting pan with wine and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until wine is reduced by half, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan to lift up the fond on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  5. Return ribs to the roasting pan, pour the sauce over the ribs, and return the roasting pan to the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  6. Cover and continue cooking until the ribs are very tender, another 40-60 minutes.
  7. Skim off as much fat as possible. Serve the ribs with as much sauce as you like.