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Rosemary and Fennel 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 as 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 moist environment for yielding ultratender 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 as called for (1 tablespoon). The start-to-finish time for this recipe may be long, but the hands-on cooking is minimal. These ribs are delicious as is, or drizzle with lemon juice and fruity olive oil, if desired.




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. And don't be tempted to open the oven during the cooking time; leaving the oven closed traps steam, keeping the ribs moist and tender.

3½ hours

15 minutes active


  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons packed light brown sugar


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Jeffrey O.
May 2, 2023
Always a favorite alternative to Texas BBQ
When the family wants a change from Central Texas style BBQ pork ribs, this is their favorite alternative. Very easy to do and tasty
Chris H.
January 20, 2023
Turns Ribs Elegant
Ribs were always something associated with bikers, backyards, and corn syrup sauce for me. This is not that. MAKE SURE you tightly line the pan with thick foil to make cleanup easier as there is a significant amount of fat and carbonization that can occur. Thin foil will tear and make you sad. As others have said, the lemon juice and olive oil is magical. Have eaten these several times with forgetting that step and it was still great, but the garnish pushes it so much further.
Susan S.
December 30, 2022
New favorite ribs
This recipe is a keeper. The flavor is exceptional and they couldn't be easier to prepare. Be sure to plan at least a day ahead so the rub can fully season the racks for the best results.
Bill O.
October 6, 2022
Came out great
As good as any I've smoked, and 4-5 hours less time
Bill M.
September 5, 2022
I didn’t cook as directed because I have no idea how to get three cups of water into a baking sheet. I cooked at a low heat for a couple of hours and then finished them on a grill.
Brad W.

This is very good. I will cut the salt in half next time. Also, make sure to remove the membrane from the backside. It didn't get as brown as the picture, but very tender and tasty.

Bill P.

Are you perhaps using table salt instead of Kosher salt? Kosher salt has larger, fluffier crystals, and the Kosher salt many prefer (Diamond Crystal) is about 1/2 the amount of salt per teaspoon as plain old table salt. Morton's Kosher salt is in between Diamond Crystal and table salt; instead of doubling the amount, you use 150%, which isn't nearly as convenient to compute or measure.

Samantha O.

Excellent and relatively easy rib recipe. We all loved every bite - flavorful and tender meat, with a bit of crispiness. Just delightful.

Courtney C.

This was a huge hit in my house -- the family agreed these were the best ribs I've made yet. The only thing I eliminated was the red pepper since the weaklings in my house don't enjoy hot pepper. The rack I bought was closer to 3 1/2 lbs, so I cooked them just a bit more than 2 1/2 hours. We had a couple of ribs leftover, and they were just as yummy the next day. This is our new go-to for ribs. Thanks!

Gayle P.

These ribs were outstanding and everyone enjoyed them. The flavor was awesome and will definitely prepare again!

Mark J.

This recipe was delicious. I cut back significantly on the salt - 2 tablespoons seemed waaay too much for both the salt and black pepper. Other than that I used the quantities specified in the recipe. I also put down a bed of red cabbage, sliced apple (2) and 1 thinly sliced onion in the sheet pan under the wire rack. I cut back on the liquid a bit and used 2 cups water and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Then cooked as directed. The ribs and veggies came out delicious.

Daniel R.

I've done these 4 times now, always perfect.

Removing the silverskin on the back makes a difference. I don't think they need much additional salt nor the pepper at all.


Simply the best ribs I have ever made. This recipe will be making a regular appearance in our house.

Janeth O.

Fantastic recipe but I did reduce the salt to one table spoon the second time I made them. I even tried them on the grill to give a bit of smokiness and they were awesome (still used a pan of water in the grill). They’re so flavorful that no BBQ sauce is necessary for these ribs.

Diana L.

I made this tonight for dinner. This was absolutely delicious. The meat came off the bone. I baked it for 2.5 hours. I had a hard time with the rub sticking to the meat so I took a bit of Avacado oil and rub it all over it and that helped the rub stick to the meat. Also, I have followed what others have recommended about the salt. I have added only 1 tablespoon of salt. I will be making this again for sure. Thank you for another delicious recipe.

Jovanna K.

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Bill P.

Made it tonight with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Amount of salt was just right. If you are using table salt, yes, you need to cut the amounts in half, but the recipe calls for kosher salt, which is about half as much salt per volume measure as table salt if you use Diamond Crystal. Morton's kosher salt is somewhat saltier, but not as salty as table salt.

Paul W.

These are very tasty ribs and the cooking technique works as promised. I too removed the silver skin and substituted fennel pollen for the fennel seed and Lior Sercarz Pierre Poivre no 7 for the black pepper in the rub. The rub was applied about 6 hours earlier and the ribs were wrapped in clear wrap and stored refrigerated. I used the times the recipe specified as guidepost but also monitored the meat shrinking on the end of the bone as a visual indicator of doneness. This allowed me to just look through the oven window without opening the door to monitor the ribs. The EVOO and lemon juice added at service were perfect. We’ll definitely be making these again.