by Mike McDonnell | Posted in Food & Wine,Blog | No comments yet. | 2229

O Yes, La Dolce Vita…back from a wee trip to the Le Marche region of Italy, a little sun, a little wine and plenty of great tasting food. Never been there before and definitely heading back, whether its lunch in a town square watching the world pass by, or perched in a restaurant in the evening overlooking the undulating hills with the Adriatic in the background, it’s a place to visit and savour.

So to the food, its locally sourced, served traditionally, unpretentious and predominately meat based, official statistics claim that marchigiani eat more meat than any other Italians and it shows, our favourite on the trip was grigliata mista di carne (an enormous platter of charcoal grilled meats) with a side order of salad and patate rosta (roast potatoes). All great together, but it being Italy the challenge is getting it all to the table at the same time, we had varying degrees of success but never a complete touchdown.

The resulting restaurant theatre was always intense with arm gestures, expressions of amazement and highbrow exclamations from the waiters as they charged back to the kitchens no doubt to throttle the chef for slowness, or plea for forgiveness on bended knees for their mixed up orders. All in all it was great, but I strongly believe the slow food movement that originated in this region has very little to do with a scientific cooking process, it’s the Italians are just so laid back, as Ernest Hemingway once quoted “never mistake motion for action”.

Back to the Mista Carne, and the spare ribs we had in Sarnano, I tried this at the weekend and it was a taste of Italy back in Cork, so try it out and let us know how you get on.


3 racks of pork spareribs
2 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
2 tbsp. chopped thyme
2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 crushed garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sweet Paprika
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 orange juiced
juice of one orange.
4 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar

Firstly make up the marinade in a bowl, add the olive oil, thyme, rosemary, sage, paprika, garlic, pepper, salt and all spice. Mix well together.

Rub the marinade evenly over the ribs and leave to marinate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, Place the ribs in a roasting pan and cover the pan with foil, Leave in the oven for 1 ½ hours remove the cover and brush on the mixture of orange juice and balsamic vinegar, return to the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, check the ribs to make sure the bottom of the tray isn’t burning, if the ribs are getting to dark add a little water to separate them from the pan.

Wine match
The ribs were spot on with the Laila Rosso Piceno, the wine is slightly spicy medium-bodied with low acidity and is made in the La Marche.

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