When you think of ribs, does your mind automatically think barbeque? While cooking them low and slow and slathering them with dry rub and BBQ sauce is a traditional way of preparing them, I like to enjoy them in my own traditional way... Italian style, that is!

Braising not only allows the ribs to soak up tons of flavor, it makes them tender enough to fall off the bone, too! They are mouth-watering.

I decided to pair them with a traditional Southern side: collard greens with bacon! Although the ribs aren't barbeque, at least the side dish has some southern roots, right? The crisp, tangy and slightly spicy collard greens are a wonderful contrast to these savory ribs, resulting in a meal that will make your tummy very happy.

Now, on to the recipe!

Ingredients:

For the Ribs
  • 3 lbs country style ribs (about 6)
  • 4 oz bacon or pancetta if you're feeling fancy
  • Olive oil
  • 28 oz can crushed peeled tomatoes 
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 large peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 4 tbsp cooking wine (I used Marsala, but you can use any wine you prefer)
Spices:
Salt & pepper to taste, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp parsley,  2 tsp basil, 2 tsp rosemary,  2 tsp thyme, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp crushed red pepper

For the Collards
  • 16 oz bag collard greens, cut and trimmed
  • 4-6 slices of bacon, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
Spices:
Salt & pepper to taste

How to Prepare:

Pork Ribs
Preheat oven to 350°F. 

In a sauteing pan, fry up the diced bacon or pancetta over medium-high heat until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel.

Season ribs with salt & pepper to taste and brown them in the rendered fat over medium-high heat. Once the ribs get a nice golden brown color on each side, remove them from the pan and place in a large baking dish in the oven, uncovered for 1-1 1/2 hrs. 

Use the glorious fat left in the pan (and a drizzle of olive oil) again to saute the diced peppers, onions and minced garlic, stirring occasionally. Once onions are soft and translucent, add the cooking wine. Saute a little longer, then stir in the crushed peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme and garlic powder, creating a nice, flavorful red sauce.

Add even more flavor, stirring in the bacon/pancetta last.

Once an hour or so has passed, take ribs out of the oven. Pour the tomato sauce over the ribs, cover and bake in the oven for another 1-1 1/2 hrs.

While the ribs are cooking, rinse your saute pan and get ready to use it again (unless you want to dirty another dish)!

Collard Greens
In your sauteing pan (I suggest using a very large pan with a lid) over medium-high heat, fry the diced bacon until slightly crispy. Set aside on a paper towel.

Saute the collard greens in the bacon fat over medium heat, stirring vigorously. The greens will begin to wilt and cook down. Add in the minced garlic and continue to stir. Then, add salt and pepper to taste.

After a few more minutes, add the lemon juice, water and hot sauce. Stir again and let them steam a little longer, until they are done to your liking. Throw in the bacon last, just long enough to heat it up.

Collard greens are hearty, so it takes a lot of cooking to get them to be tender. I actually like to eat them while the leaves still have a little crispiness left, so I only cook them about 20-30 minutes, total.

Finally, take the ribs out of the oven. Serve with the collard greens and enjoy!

You can even save the leftover sauce for another dish. Cooking the pork with the tomato sauce results in a savory flavor that can be paired with a multitude of other dishes.

Hope you enjoyed. I look forward to sharing more recipes in the future!