Rosticciana – Tuscan pork ribs with rosemary

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This rosticciana recipe offers a taste of Tuscany, with rosemary and fennel seeds used to create a dry rub for tender pork ribs that are brushed with red wine vinegar during cooking. Traditionally, the ribs would be cooked over a wood fire, but a regular oven will more than suffice. However, if the weather permits, finish cooking the ribs over charcoal for a wonderful smoky flavour.

First published in 2019

It may be basil which springs to mind when you think of herbs in Italian cuisine, but in the region of Tuscany, sage and rosemary reign supreme. This simple recipe is the perfect example of unfussy Tuscan cooking. Traditionally grilled over a wood fire, the ribs are coated with a rosemary-heavy dry rub before cooking to impart maximum flavour. If it's not barbecue weather, the ribs are just as delightful cooked in the oven.




  • 1 rack of pork ribs
  • 50ml of red wine vinegar

Rosemary dry rub

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp of flaky sea salt
  • 1 pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp of rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested


  • Spice grinder or pestle and mortar


At least 4 hours before you plan to cook the ribs, prepare the dry rub by grinding the peppercorns and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder
Add the ground spices to a bowl and stir in the salt, chilli, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest. Rub evenly over every surface of the pork ribs and set aside in the fridge for 4–12 hours
Remove the ribs from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature
Preheat an oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Brush the ribs with some of the red wine vinegar, then place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. Brush every half hour with more vinegar to prevent the ribs from drying out
After 2 hours, the ribs should be nice and tender. For a smoky flavour, finish off by placing on a barbecue or a very hot griddle pan until nicely charred
Rest for 10–15 minutes in a warm place or under foil before carving

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