This dish is based on an Italian classic from the Bologna region.
- 1 (5-lb.) pork rib roast
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. butter
- Leaves from 1 bunch fresh sage
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Wide strips of zest from 1 lemon
Remove and separate ribs from roast and set aside (or ask your butcher to do this for you). Tie roast with kitchen twine, then generously season with salt and pepper. Heat oil and 1 tbsp. of the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed casserole over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add pork, fat side down, and ribs and cook until browned on all sides, 2–3 minutes per side.
Pour off fat from casserole, reduce heat to medium, and add the remaining 2 tbsp. of the butter. When butter melts, add half the sage leaves and fry for a few seconds. Slowly add milk and cream; then add lemon zest, season to taste with salt, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover casserole, and gently simmer for 1 hour, turning pork after 30 minutes.
Coarsely chop remaining sage leaves and add to casserole. Continue simmering, partially covered, for 1 hour more, turning meat after 30 minutes. Uncover casserole and continue simmering, turning every 30 minutes, until meat is very tender and milk mixture is pale golden and thick, about 1 1⁄2 hours more.
Transfer meat to a warm serving platter and remove twine, then slice meat. Discard ribs and spoon sauce over meat.