Lidia Bastianich’s Spicy Vinegar Ribs and Potatoes

Italian-style ribs and potatoes -- all cooked in one roasting pan in the oven.
Italian-style ribs and potatoes — all cooked in one roasting pan in the oven.

Whenever I found myself mindlessly channel surfing while growing up, I would immediately be transfixed whenever I hit channel 9 to find Lidia Matticchio Bastianich cooking up something — anything — in her kitchen.

She has a knack for making cooking seem so natural, so effortless, and so achievable. And her Italian warmth just makes you want to pull up a chair to her table and stay a long while.

Her newest cookbook embodies that spirit. “Lidia’s From Our Family Table to Yours” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2023), of which I received a review copy, was written by the incomparable Emmy Award-winning public television host, best-selling cookbook author, and restaurateur. With her son, Joe Bastianich and business partner Oscar Farinetti, she also opened Eataly, the famous Italian food-and-wine emporium in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto, San Jose, Dallas, and Sao Paulo.

She co-wrote the book with her daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who spearheads the production of her mother’s television series, and is a co-partner in the Italian sandwich shop, All’Antico Vinaio in New York City.

It’s a collection of more than 100 recipes, none of them overly fussy. Instead, you’ll find such gems as “Leek and Ricotta Tart,” “Shrimp and Tomato Risotto,” “Spicy Lobster Linguini,” “Turkey Stuffed Peppers,” and “Mimosa Cake.”

If you lack a backyard grill or the weather’s not conducive to outdoor cooking, then “Spicy Vinegar Ribs and Potatoes” is ideal because everything is cooked in the oven.

Make sure to line you pan with foil because some scorching may occur as the liquids cook off.
Make sure to line you pan with foil because some scorching may occur as the liquids cook off.

Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil, a suggestion I’m adding to the recipe below to make clean-up easier. Pork ribs go into the pan with aromatics of garlic, bay leaves and rosemary, along with chicken stock, and are roasted for 45 minutes, before adding in russset potato wedges. You’ll probably want to cut your wedges slightly smaller than I did (see photos) because I found they took a bit too long to cook. I also sprinkled a little salt over the potatoes, a step not included in the recipe, but one that I think is beneficial.

Finally, stir together white wine, red wine vinegar, honey, and cayenne, then pour the mixture over everything before placing the ribs and potatoes back in the oven to finish cooking.

In that time, the broth and the wine mixture will have pretty much evaporated, leaving the ribs and potatoes coated without any sauce per se.

The ribs end up tender, alongside creamy-textured potatoes. Despite the title of the recipe, the vinegar is not aggressive, but rather lends a subtle fruity tang. The cayenne is also surprisingly mild on the palate. If you like more heat, just increase the amount used.

There’s a wonderful hominess about this dish. After all, it’s meat and potatoes done the Lidia way.

Dinner is served!
Dinner is served!

Spicy Vinegar Ribs and Potatoes

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 rack pork spare ribs (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into individual ribs

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

4 fresh bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

4 medium russet potatoes, peel left on, cut into thick wedges (about 2 pounds)

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Pat the ribs very dry with paper towels, and season them with 1 teaspoon salt. Put the ribs in a large heavy-duty roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle with the olive oil, and add the garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary. Pour in the stock, and toss to combine everything. Roast, stirring once halfway through, until the ribs are browned and the stock is evaporated, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Add the potatoes, toss them well, and season them with a little salt. Continue to roast until the potatoes begin to take on a little color, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the wine, vinegar, honey, and cayenne in a spouted measuring cup. Drizzle this over the potatoes and ribs, and stir well.

Move the pan to the lowest part of the oven. Continue roasting, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the ribs and potatoes are tender and nicely glazed, about 18 to 20 minutes more. Tip the pan, spoon out excess fat, and discard the rosemary and bay leaves. Serve hot.

Adapted from “Lidia’s From Our Family Table to Yours” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

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  • Lidia is one of our favorite chefs and this is a recipe I know we would love.

  • Hi Karen: For sure! Lidia’s recipes always entice. Enjoy!

  • Of course LOVE LIDIA! I was wondering can you substitute beef ribs,in stead of pork for the Ribs & Potato Recipe?

  • Hi Lynn: Yes, you should be able to use beef ribs instead, though, the cooking time will probably be longer. As such, you might want to increase the amount of liquid in the pan to make sure it all doesn’t evaporate long before the ribs are fully cooked.

  • Hello, I had beef ribs in the freezer/refrig., so I’m trying this recipe. I’m using a lower temp and plan on considerably longer time. My question, do I cover the pan? Herb

  • Hi Herb: Because you’re using beef ribs and doing a longer cooking time, I might increase the amount of wine, vinegar, honey and cayenne that gets poured over the ribs because when I did it with the pork ribs using the time specified in the recipe, that sauce pretty much evaporated. So, with a longer baking time, you might want to have more liquid to start. You could also cover the ribs with foil at that point and continue cooking it in the oven, then remove the foil when you think the ribs are nearly done so that some of the excess liquid does eventually thicken/evaporate if need be. Hope that helps. Let me know how the ribs come out and what you think of them.

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