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Fennel-Brown Sugar Pork Ribs (Rosticciana)

4 Servings

3½ hours 15 minutes active

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In Tuscany, rosticciana is cooked on a grill and served with other meats, such and steak and sausage. We chose to focus on just the ribs and brought the recipe indoors so we could use the oven to create just the right dry, yet moist environment for yielding super-tender and perfectly browned ribs. The seasonings are simple, so for the fullest, richest flavor, it's best to pulverize your own fennel seeds in a spice grinder. If convenience is key and you can find ground fennel seed at the grocery store, use the same amount of ground fennel (1 tablespoon). The start-to-finish time for this recipe may be long, but the hands-on cooking is minimal and the reward is delicious.




Don't substitute baby back ribs for the St. Louis spareribs. Baby backs are smaller and leaner and will end up overdone. St. Louis–style ribs are spareribs that are trimmed of excess meat and cartilage, so the racks have a neat rectangular shape. Try to choose racks that are similar in size so they cook at the same rate.

3½ hours

15 minutes active


  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons packed light brown sugar


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Andrew V.
February 13, 2023
Great flavor, little effort needed
Great flavor and little effort needed.
Diana L.
October 10, 2022
Great rub
I made this rub so many times. I have even gifted it as people constantly ask me for the recipe. It is delicious. We cook our ribs outside on the traeger at 230 for 7-8 hours.
Chris H.

I found that 2 tablespoons of kosher salt is waaaay too salty. 1.5 tablespoons of kosher is even a bit much but was still good. Despite the saltiness, this was truly delicious!

Sally J.

I have a steam oven and would like to know how to regulate settings to accommodate this recipe. Thanks very much!

Janelle C.

Hi Sally,

This is a great question. Would you post it in our Q&A Forum?

The Milk Street Team

Mark J.

Two tablespoons of salt seemed like waaaay too much. I reduced it to two teaspoons, which I did with the black pepper too. The rest of the run quantities I used as directed. These turned out fantastic with those adjustments.

My other innovation was to lay down a bed of red cabbage with one sliced onion and two peeled and sliced apples. Tossed it all in oil and salt and spread it out in the pan. I reduced the liquid to two cups water plus a half cup apple cider vinegar. Put The wire rack on top of the veggies with the ribs on that. The veggies came out delicious - slow braised in the liquid and pork fat.

John C.

Followed the advice to lower the salt to 1.5 tablespoons salt. This was so good!