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Neapolitan Pork Ribs with Pasta (Costolette di Maiale Arriganata)

February 21, 2010

In Naples at Table, a cookbook highlighting the foods of Naples, Arthur Schwartz says that this is a very common recipe in the Campania region. (I really like this cookbook. It’s out of print, but still available used.) When pork is used, it’s often a cut very similar to our “country-style” spare ribs. Lamb, goat, or beef are also roasted in this manner. Arthur recommends a 400˚ for lamb chops or lamb steaks, and 350˚ for pork or beef chuck steak.

When the meat is done, a Neapolitan cook will not let the caramelized tomatoes, onions, herbs and juices go to waste. Typically, the excess fat is removed, the pan is deglazed with a bit of water, and then the juices are used to insaporire (flavor) pasta. In Italy the pasta would be served as a first course. I served it with the pork. You could also skip the pasta and just use the sauce on the meat.

I used canned San Marzano tomatoes, since the fresh ones are so sad this time of year. The canned ones were perfect!

It’s most convenient to use a pan that can be used in the oven and on the stove-top.

Costolette di Maiale Arriganata

(Neapolitan Pork Ribs with Pasta)

(printable recipe)

(Adapted from a recipe in Naples at Table)

Serves 4


3 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs



1 medium onion, cut in half through the root end and thinly sliced

1 rounded tablespoon dried oregano

4 – 5 sprigs of rosemary, each about 3 or 4 inches, leaves removed from the stems

5 fresh or canned plum tomatoes, cut into 6 or 8 pieces each

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 oz. pasta (optional – rice pasta can be used for gluten free)


1. Heat the oven to 350˚.

2. Put the meat in a pan (A large oven-proof  skillet is ideal, but you can use a baking pan.). Salt and pepper all sides of the meat.

3. Put the sliced onion on top of the meat. Sprinkle the oregano and rosemary over the onions and then top with the tomato slices. Drizzle the olive oil over everything.

4. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Turn the meat over. (Now the tomatoes and onions will be on the bottom.) Bake for another 30 minutes.

5. If using pasta, bring a large pot of water to boil just before the meat is done. Add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions (usually about 10 minutes).

6. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water.

7. Remove the meat from the pan. Spoon out the excess fat. (Transfer the sauce from the baking pan to a skillet that can be used on the stovetop, if necessary.)  Heat over medium heat, stirring to bring up all of the flavorful bits. Add the pasta and stir so it will absorb the flavors. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water if the pasta seems to dry.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carrie permalink
    January 31, 2011 5:18 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight! It was my first time ever cooking ribs… super delicious and easy 🙂

    • January 31, 2011 5:39 pm

      Glad you liked it, Carrie! It is good and a very easy way to make ribs. 🙂

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