Braised pork ribs with savoy cabbage is a traditional recipe from Lombardia, in the North of Italy. It is a typical confort food, perfect as main dish for a winter Sunday lunch with the family.
Braised pork ribs with savoy cabbage: the origins
The original area is considered to be between the cities of Brescia and Cremona, but it is widely spread in Pavia and in the whole region, so that you will find it in many traditional trattorias in Milan.
The braised pork ribs with savoy cabbage recipe I am sharing with you today is actually a lighter version of the famous cassoeula
The origins of casseoula is strictly linked to the end of the pig-slaughtering season. As a peasant tradition, the cheapest parts of meat were used to feed the family, mixed with season vegetables, while the most valuable parts were used to produce cured pork meat. The cheapest parts, including ribs, head, ears, rind, trotters, were put into a casserole (in Italian casseruola, hence the name casseoula) with carrota, celery, onion and savoy cabbage and slowly cooked.
This braised pork ribs with savoy cabbage is a fat (due to the pork meat) and slightly sweet (due to the cabbage) dish: the logical pairing will be with an acid, better if sparkling, wine.
If you want to be regional, the perfect pairing will be a Bonarda dell’Oltrepò pavese, a red sparkling wine quite similar to Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna.
But now let’s start cooking this incredibly tasty dish, I am sure you will love it! To better appreciate it, the tradition suggests to have it with a polenta, or with some slices of your own bread loaf.
Pro tip: if you like Italian sausage (who doesn’t??), you can add this piece of meat when you add the ribs. Taste won’t be bad either 😉
Braised pork ribs with savoy cabbage
- a knife
- a chopping board
- a pan with a lid (I use my dutch oven)
- 800 gr pork ribs cut into halves for easier cooking
- 1 savoy cabbage
- 1 onion
- 200 gr tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 glass vegetable broth
- q.s. salt (optional) I don't add any
- q.s. black pepper (optional) I add some
- Choose a large, blonde onion. Chop it roughly and start gently roasting it in a pan, with 2 tablespoons of EVO oil.
- After 10-15 minutes, the onion should change color and become slightly transparent. Time to add the pork ribs and roast each side of them. The heat now is less gentle, but not too much (pay attention not to burn the onion).
- After 15 minutes, the roasting should be completed. This is important since it will keep the meat juices inside during the long cooking phase.
- While the meat is roasting, wash and cut the savoy cabbage.
- Time for the King ingredient of this dish, the savoy cabbage! Add it to the pan and pour about 1 glass of vegetable broth. Cover with the lid and cook at low heat for about 30 minutes.
- After this time, add the tomato sauce, salt (optional, I prefer not to) and black pepper (optional, I do). Gently mix, add some more vegetable broth if you think it is too dry, and cover with the lid again. Gently cook it for about 2 hours.
- It will be ready when the meat effortless separates from the bone. Your dish is ready to be enjoyed with some good homemade bread!