Red wine braised pork ribs

These pork ribs are easy to make, melt-in-your-mouth good and also economic. What’s not to love? The recipe is from Casa Pappagallo

prep time 5 min     cook time 1h 30min
ingredients for 4
  •  1 -1,2 kg pork ribs
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 30 g tomato paste
  • sprig of rosemary
  • a few leaves of fresh sage
  • salt
  • extra virgin olive oil

 the glass of red wine in the pic is not enough, you need a whole bottle 🙂

    1. In a dutch oven or a cast iron pot heat 2-3 Tbls of oil and add the garlic cloves.
    2. After a few minutes add the ribs and let them brown on all sides. Do not overcrowd the pot. If need be, brown the ribs in two sets.
    3. When the ribs are nicely browned, season with salt, add the red wine, rosemary sprig, sage, peppercorns and tomato paste.
    4, Cook at low heat with a lid on for an hour or until the meat almost falls off the bone.
    5. Pair this with mashed  or oven potatoes or oven veggies.


Pork chops in the oven

These are the best and most succulent pork chops I’ve ever tasted. I have tried pork chops numerous times, made by me or others, and I’ve found them almost always too dry. With this easy recipe your pork chops will never be dry again.

prep time  5 min     cook time  5 min + 25-30 min in the oven
ingreients for 3-4
  • 4 thick pork chops
  • flour to coat the chops
  • knob of butter
  • lug of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (or dry), needles chopped
  • half a glass of white wine
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Pat dry the pork chops, rub salt and pepper on them and let rest for 15min.

2. Heat a large pan, preferably one that goes also in the oven, add a knob of butter and a few Tbsp of oil. When hot add garlic and rosemary and flour coated pork chops. My pan wasn’t big enough to hold them all without crowding the pan, so I seared them two at a time.

3. Cook 2 minutes on both sides, add the wine and baste the chops with the wine and oil mixture. Remove from the pan to an oven proof pan. My cooking pan does not go in the oven. Repeat with the remaining 2 chops and then place them also in the oven pan pouring all the liquid on top.

4. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.

5. Serve hot with oven potatoes or a salad.


Sausage and lentil stew

Sausages and lentils are a combination made in heaven. This is a one-pot hearty stew to share with friends and family. You can make ahead and freeze it if you prefer.

prep time 15 min     cook time  35-45 min
ingredients for 6
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g good quality pork sausages
  • 125g cubed pancetta or bacon
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, picked
  • 400g lentils
  • 750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 (200g) can crushed tomatoes
  • small bunch of flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • peperoncino flakes/seeds (optional)

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole or pan. Add pancetta and sausages and sizzle for 10 minutes, turning the sausages a few times until nicely browned. Scoop the sausages onto a plate.

2. Add the remaining oil and stir in the onions, carrots, pepper and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onions start to soften. Add also the peperoncino at this time if using.

3. Return sausages to the pan and add lentils, stock, tomatoes and picked rosemary. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and let simmer for 30 min or until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Check the cooking time for your lentils as it varies a lot depending on the type of lentils you use.

4. Leave covered for 5 minutes before seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Scatter over the parsley and serve from the pan.


Italian sausage and veggie soup

This sausage and veggie soup is definitely  a main course and not a starter. It is hearty, healthy and full of flavour. You get all in one: protein, grain and veggies.

prep time  10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage, cut into thumb size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon peperoncino flakes or seeds
  • 1,5-2l vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch chopped kale
  • 150-200g rice, barley or small pasta
  • handful of chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper
2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the red peppers, zucchini, broccoli florets, bay leaf, and peperoncino. Cook about 3-4 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and rice and cook 12-15 minutes, then add the kale and keep cooking for a few minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the sausage pieces and heat until warm. Remove the bay leaf and serve. If using barley or pasta, check the cooking time.

tip: you can make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omitting the sausage.

tip: grated Parmesan cheese adds yumminess to this soup.

FOR A GLUTEN FREE ALTERNATIVE:  use appropriate pasta


Spetsofai aka Greek sausage stew

Spetsofai is a rustic spicy dish made with thick country sausages and peppers in a rich tomato sauce. You can find this Greek dish in many variations. The famous spetsofai from Pelion contains aubergines, while in most areas, it is prepared with green or multicoloured mild bell peppers. If using mild sausages, spice it up with peperoncino or red hot chili peppers and hot paprika.

prep time 15 min     cook time 35 min

ingredients for 4
  • 4 country sausages, sliced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • a glass (cup) of water
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oli
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • peperoncino
  • 2-3 teaspoons paprika
  • salt and pepper

1. Place a saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the sausage until nicely coloured. Don’t crowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Into the same pan add the rest of the oil, the chopped onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato puree and cook for another minute. Add the peppers and continue to cook.

3. Deglaze with red wine scraping the bottom of the pan with all the yummy parts and wait the wine to evaporate. Add crushed tomatoes, water, herbs and spices, turn the heat to medium and cook for 15 min with the lid on.

4. Add sausages and cook for another 15-20 min until the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning.

5. Pair it with lots of crusty bread to wipe up all the delicious sauce or serve as a main dish with basmati rice.


Spicy pork and sausage stew with chickpeas

This is one of those dishes that leaves you begging for more. That’s what happened with my son and godson who both told me beforehand that they do not eat chickpeas. Well, they did and helped themselves to another portion and maybe even to a third one.

prep time 20 min     cook time 3 hrs

ingredients for 8-10
  • 1.2 kg pork neck (or shoulder) cut into 3-4cm chunks
  • 400 g Italian sausage, cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 6-8  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 l water (2-3 cans)
  • peperoncino
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • salt
  • 2 (400g) cans chickpeas
  • 1 bunch loose leaf parsley, chopped

1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the pieces of pork shoulder and the sausages in batches. If there is a fatty side, put that side down on the pan to help render out the fat. Sprinkle some salt over the pork while it cooks. Once cooked, set the pieces aside.

2. Sauté onions and carrots in the pan making sure to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and peperoncino seeds and skin and cook for another minute. The quantity of peperoncino is up to you, start with a few seeds and add more to your taste.  If you prefer, you can use hot Italian sausage and leave out the peperoncino.

3. Add the pork, sausage, crushed tomatoes and water, then stir to combine. Stir in the various paprikas. Add salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook at low for at least 2 hrs or until the pork is melt-in-your-mouth tender.

4. Add the chickpeas and parsley, stir well and adjust the salt. Cook for 5 more minutes. Excellent served with crusty bread and red wine. This dish also freezes well.


Pumpkin, sausage and mushroom risotto

Pumpkin risotto is one of the many variations on the classic Italian slow-cooked rice dish, which is made with a type of rice that releases some of its starch into the cooking liquid, creating its own sauce. In order for this risotto, or any risotto for that matter, to cook, you must use short, roundish and chubby grains of rice with copious amounts of starch.  Carnaroli or  vialone nano are the best options, arborio will do if you can’t find the first two. Stirring is key, so be prepared to stand and stir, looking, smelling, and tasting — you can’t do anything else at the same time.

prep time 15 min     cook time 40 min
ingredients for 4
  • 360 g carnaroli rice
  • 1,5 l vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 g pumpkin, cubed
  • 300 g sausage
  • 300 g mushrooms (button or portobello)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 2 knobs butter, cold
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bayleaf
  • handful of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring the broth to a boil and reduce the heat to steady simmer.

2. Clean the pumpkin and cut into fairly big cubes. Wipe the mushrooms and slice them. Remove casings from sausages and crumble them. Chop the onion.

3. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add onion. After a few minutes add crumbled sausages, stir and keep cooking for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and mushrooms, stir to coat and keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Add the bayleaf.

4. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated in fat and become translucent. Do not let them brown. Add the wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated. The grains must be heated through before you add the wine – “it should sizzle as it hits the pan”.

5. Start ladling broth on top and keep adding 1-2 ladles at a time stirring constantly after each addition and adding the next amount only after the previous one is fully absorbed by the rice.

6. Taste the rice. You are looking for al dente, with the grains just a bit toothsome (a little resistant to the bite) but cooked — not hard or powdery. Check the salt.

7. When the rice is done, which might take up to 30 minutes, turn off the heat. Add the butter and the cheese and cover, let rest for 2 minutes. Uncover and stir quickly. This is called mantecatura.

8. Serve immediately. Risotto is not a make-ahead dish. Even if you finish it 15 minutes before serving and simply allow it to sit, risotto turns into a paste.


Pork rib stew with carrots and potatoes

I love stews. They are usually easy to make and you have a one-pot dish at the end so less dishes to clean after the preparation. The only down size with the stews is the long cooking time, but not with this succulent pork rib stew.

Prep time 30 min      Cook time 1 hr – 1hr 30 min
  • 1,2kg pork ribs
  • 1 dl or 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 2 small
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2dl or 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3cm slices
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 0,5l chicken or beef stock (or water)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dried basil. oregano, thyme, rosemary

1. Toss the ribs in flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Place half of the ribs in an even layer in the Dutch oven. Do not overcrowd. Brown for two to three minutes. Turn each piece and brown for another two to three minutes. Transfer browned pork to a plate. Repeat with remaining pork.

3. Add the chopped onion and garlic to Dutch oven and sauté the onion about 5 minutes until it is translucent . Add wine and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove browned bits.

4. Add carrots, potatoes, chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, dried herbs, two teaspoons salt, and one teaspoon pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, mixing well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

5. Add pork to the stew, cover, and simmer on low for 45-50 minutes until the meat starts falling off the bone. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

tip: you can use other cuts of pork

tip: depending on the ribs or the cut you use, you may want to trim off some fat but NOT ALL. 😉

FOR A GLUTEN FREE OPTION: use appropriate flour