The best pork short ribs ever!
Italian braised pork ribs with pasta is a classic dish enjoyed throughout Italy. This particular pork short ribs recipe comes from Emilia-Romagna. The ribs are cooked in a tomato sauce until succulent and fall off the bone tender. Traditionally, this dish is served on Sundays and holidays as two courses. But, you can also make it into two meals or eat it as a one plate dish!
Elicoidali pasta con costine di maiale.
Like many nationalities, Italians love to eat grilled pork ribs. However, their favourite way to cook ribs is braised in a rich tomato sauce. In fact, you can find variations of this recipe throughout Italy. Traditionally, like other similar slow-cooked meat pasta recipes, this Italian braised pork ribs is served as 2 courses.
Cook once eat twice!
I say 2 courses because Italians usually eat pasta as a first course or ‘primo’ on Sundays, holidays and special occasions (sometimes 2 or 3 different pasta dishes!). The pasta is then followed by a main course of meat or fish.
In Central and Southern Italy in particular, there are many recipes in which cuts of meat are slow cooked in a sauce (usually tomato based). The sauce is then used as a pasta condiment and the meat eaten as the main course. This is actually how most Italians eat meatballs (not the pasta and meatballs together).
You can find links to other similar recipes at the end of this post. I often prefer to use this type of dish for 2 meals! I love these cook once eat twice recipes! You can use these recipes on 2 consecutive days or freeze the sauce for another day.
Different versions of Italian braised pork ribs.
This recipe for Italian braised pork ribs with pasta comes from Emilia- Romagna. However, there are very similar recipes in other parts of the country. In Tuscany, they use pork ribs called ‘rosticciana’. These have been grilled first.
In Calabria as well as Campania, you are more likely to find basil, garlic and/or peperoncino in the sauce rather than onions, celery and carrots. I also added peperoncino to satisfy my Sicilian hubby’s love for a bit of spice. But, it’s optional. Some people add pancetta or sausages to their braised pork ribs as well.
In Emilia-Romagna, the pasta for this braised pork ribs recipe is often garganelli, little pasta tubes made by rolling squares of egg pasta dough around a stick and over a ridged board. You can read more about this pasta in my garganelli post.
I used elicoidali, a medium sized pasta tube with spiraling ridges on the outside. Elicoidali are very similar to rigatoni or tortiglioni. Grooved pasta tubes are great for chunky sauces like in this braised pork ribs recipe. The sauce sticks to the grooved surface and even gets inside each piece of pasta! I bought elicoidali made by Rummo, a company in Campania. Their pasta is very good quality and widely available outside of Italy.
Making this Italian braised pork ribs with pasta.
This recipe takes between 2 and 2.5 hours to make, so not a week night option for most of us. However, The sauce actually tastes better made in advance so you can make it the day before or in the morning.
Like the Italians, you can remove most of the short ribs and a little sauce from the pot and serve them as a main course or the next day. These braised pork ribs are so delicious with mashed potato and a lot of Italians also eat them with polenta.
Whether you serve these Italian braised pork ribs with pasta or something else, I’m sure you are going to love this dish. The sauce is rich and full of flavour and the meat just falls off the bone. Despite the slightly long cooking time, this is a pretty easy recipe to make! It’s also the best pork short ribs recipe ever!
If you do try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
Your feedback means a lot to me!
Save this recipe for later?
If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.
Other traditional recipes that can be 2 courses or 2 meals.
- Orecchiette with braciole (beef rolls) recipe from Puglia
- Corzetti pasta with Genovese meat sauce recipe from Liguria
- Maltagliati pasta with braised veal and onions recipe from Sicily
Italian Braised Pork Ribs with Pasta
- 320 g elicoidali pasta tubes (11oz) or rigatoni, tortiglioni, penne etc
- 800 g pork ribs (28 oz) in or off bone
- 1-2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1-2 celery stalks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 chili pepper (peperoncino) optional
- 350 g tomato passata or chopped peeled tomatoes (11oz)
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 glass dry white wine (or red if you prefer)
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock if required
- salt for pasta and to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Trim some fat off the ribs and cut them in half. Most of mine didn’t have a hard bone. You can ask your butcher to do this or look for boneless ribs. Rub the ribs with some sea salt.
- Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash and finely chop the celery and carrots. Wash the cherry tomatoes. If using, chop the chili pepper into small pieces. Remove most the seeds so it’s less spicy!
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a deep pan and brown the ribs. Remove and set aside. You may need to do this in batches.
- Add the finely chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Don’t let them burn. Add more olive oil if necessary.
- Add the bay leaf, chili pepper and cherry tomatoes mix together and cook for a minute. Then add the browned pork ribs. Pour in the wine and turn up the heat so the alcohol evaporates.
- Now pour in the tomato passata/chopped peeled tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together and reduce the heat.
- Cook the sauce covered over a lowish heat for about 2 hours or until the meat is very tender and easy to remove from the bone. Exact cooking time depends on the size of your ribs. Check them after 90 minutes. Add some water or stock if the sauce reduces too much. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes is the sauce is too liquidy.
- Put a pot of water onto boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.
- When the braised ribs are ready remove them from the sauce. Strip the meat from 3-4 and put back into the sauce. Keep the rest of the ribs with some sauce for another meal or course. You can serve them with potatoes or polenta.
- Alternatively you can strip the meat from all the ribs and eat with the pasta or serve the pasta and sauce with whole ribs!
- When the pasta is ready drain and add to the sauce. Mix together well and serve immediately. If you like, you can add chopped parsley or grated Parmigiano before serving!
Pin for Later
If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of my autumn/winter pasta recipes cookbook!?
What I don’t understand is why would there be comments and suggestions to use boneless pork ribs? The reason why the bones are a necessity is because the bones will give a sweet flavour to the sauce. In the spirit of keeping it authentic, these recipes are usually borne out of poverty and the creativity of those cooks to use all of the product to maximize taste. Only use pork meat on the bone for the sauce and for the whole cooking process.
Hi Danny, thanks for your comment. I agree that using bone-in ribs adds flavour and is more authentic. However, there are situations when someone might not want or be able to use them. Small ribs with bones may not be available. Or, some people find them messier to eat especially with all the tomato sauce.
Well, I think I shouldn’t break the tradition and make this pasta today. But I am certainly keen to get everything ready for the weekend and make these ribs with pasta then – can’t wait!
Finally I’ve stumbled upon a really good pork pasta. It’s been a while since I search for one, so I am happy it is time to cook!
The sauce cooked over slow heat and for so long would add so much flavour to the dish. This pasta and the braised pork ribs sounds absolutely delicious.
EA The Spicy RD says
Yum! And, what a comforting dish. This pasta looks amazing-perfect for a family dinner!
Absolutely delicious pasta dish! I love pork and I cannot wait to make this deliciousness. I have some pork ribs and I now know what I will be making. Thak you so much for the inspiration !
Leanne | Crumb Top Baking says
My hubby loves ribs and he loves pasta, so I’m not sure why I haven’t combined the two before! This recipe is totally inspiring me to do that!
I love everything about your recipe. I’ve had something similar to this in Campania while in Italy. The melt in your mouth texture and delicious flavor of the meat is soooo good with pasta. I can’t wait to try your version. Italians are the best cooks.
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
Love it when the meat falls off the bones!! I have only ever cooked chicken and ground beef (can you believe it????) so I definitely need to diversify my meat portfolio 🙂 This looks doable for me!
Jenni LeBaron says
I can’t decide if I’m more excited about those perfectly cooked pork ribs or the savory tomato sauce. I am a huge pasta fan, so this looks like a delicious hug in a bowl to me!
You had me at cook once eat twice! I not only love the simplicity of this recipe and all the fresh ingredients, I love the explanation of the Italian culture and how they eat meals. Thank you for sharing and I this is something I will be cooking for a Sunday meal very soon.
Cook once eat twice sounds good to me, especially when it comes to these delicious braised pork ribs! I love a good ribs recipe, so this is perfect for me. Thanks for sharing!
Happy you like this recipe Amanada! I love the cook once eat twice concept and this is the perfect dish for that!
Stine Mari says
I love cook once eat twice recipes! And this one looks soo good. I rarely cook with pork, but I have absolutely no good reason. I’ll start with this!
I’m sure you’ll love this braised pork ribs recipe and the fact that you can turn it into two dishes or meals makes it a real winner. Pork, not just ribs, is popular in Italy and often added to sauces for extra flavour.
Julie @ Running in a Skirt says
I bet the short ribs add so much flavor to this! You can never go wrong with a tasty pasta dish.
Yes Julie! It’s the ribs that real give this sauce a rich hearty flavour! Plus you can make this into two courses or meals.
Brian Jones says
What a lovely sounding recipe, I love ribs and this is a relatively new way of cooking them to me, definitely giving them a try.
Thanks for your comment Brian! I’m sure you’ll love this way of cooking pork ribs. The sauce is so flavourful and the meat just falls off the rib bones!