Veneto Out of the Ordinary: Pork Ribs & Sauerkraut with Polenta

My introductory post to our virtual exploration of the Veneto was running long, so I omitted the details of the first full wine and food pairing we tried.  Without further adieu, here it is!

The Veneto is more than just Venice. The town of Belluno lies a little further north in the region and you are close to Austria, so the foods pick up an Austrian influence.  When I saw that sauerkraut could show up in an Italian recipe, I knew I needed to try it.  The recipe also features polenta, so you know you’re still in Italy.

Italy is more than pasta!

Italy is more than pasta!

Since I haven’t been to the Veneto in person (yet!), I needed a bit of help.  Vino Italiano is a great reference for the wines of Italy, region by region.  Slow Wine has some additional information on wineries.  The best find for food has been Julia Della Croce‘s book “Veneto“.  It has information on the region, the foods, the wines, the traditions, and lots of local recipes.  Perfect!

The regional focus is very important

The regional focus is very important

Soave Classico Vigneti di Foscarino 2011 ($27 South Lyndale Liquors)
eye: Clear deep deep yellow, very rich color
nose: Ripe full lemons, perhaps some nuts in there for richness
mouth: Full body but excellent acidity.  Lovely wine, will definitely look for more single vineyard Soave Classico!

You can see how rich this Inama Soave is

You can see how rich this Inama Soave is

Tenuta Sant’Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella 2010 ($50 South Lyndale Liquors)
eye: Very dark, barely at the edge of translucent if you use a bright light.  Just a bit of warmth of the red at the edge
nose: A little hot.  Very dark fruit, figs, raisins but not pruny at all. Rich fruit, a bit of fresh earth
mouth: Ripe dark fruit, lively mouthfeel.  Smooth tannins in the finish and pretty strong.  Surprisingly nice at the dinner table, and also nice for enjoying on its’ own, preferably by a fire.

Tenuta Sant'Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella

Tenuta Sant’Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella

I was surprised by how the wines paired with the meal. This single vineyard Soave Classico was rich with a very full mouthfeel.  I often think whites pair better with pork and this Soave was very nice. The surprise was the Amarone. Rich and deep, I thought it would be too much for the pork, but it was so nice!  It was rich and ripe, but not sweet. Different from other big rich reds, it was still very nice with the meal.  Imagine that!

The wine pairing results were surprising

The wine pairing results were surprising

Pork Country Ribs with Sauerkraut and Grilled Polenta

Adapted from a recipe in the book “Veneto” by Julia Della Croce
Serve with either Soave Classico or Amarone della Valpolicella according to your white/red wine preference.
We made sides of grilled polenta and asparagus with hard boiled eggs


  • 3 lbs. Pork country ribs
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 handful of fresh sage
  • 1 cup dry white wine (inexpensive, but a wine you’d be willing to drink)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 slices of speck or prosciutto chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced


  • Preheat oven to 250° F
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat on the stovetop.
  • Brown the pork ribs on all sides, then remove from the dutch oven.
  • Add the garlic, rosemary, and sage to the dutch oven and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the wine to the dutch oven, and carefully place the ribs on top of the herbs. Put the oven cover on securely and put into the oven.
  • Check on the ribs regularly, they will finish in about 90 minutes.
  • About 15 minutes from serving time, saute the onions and prosciutto in the remaining 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, then add the sauerkraut and warm thoroughly
  • Once ready to serve, remove the ribs from the dutch oven and place on a bed of sauerkraut.
  • Reduce any remaining liquid in the dutch oven on the stovetop and pour over the ribs and sauerkraut before serving.

3 Responses to “Veneto Out of the Ordinary: Pork Ribs & Sauerkraut with Polenta”
  1. This post actually made me want to cook – outstanding – gorgeous shots of the food as well – I am assuming you are the photographer. Nice job! xo

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Inama – I’ve enjoyed Inama Soave Classico wines and posted on several occasions. I had fun reviewing my old tasting notes and they matched up well with my current experience! Here’s a tasting with bitter radicchio and Soave Classico & here’s a tasting of the single vineyard Vigneti di Foscarino […]

  2. […] brothers from the Castegnedi family in 1989. The Tenuta Sant’Antonio wines are traditional Valpolicella and Soave wines from their respective designated origin (PDO) regions. The brothers wanted to add a […]

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