My father has a very competitive spirit.  Which is why last year, when it began to dawn on him that I might in fact be able to out-cook him with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back (yes, I have mastered the art of telepathic cooking.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.), he decided to abandon the decade-long lasagna Christmas dinner tradition.  And declared that he was going to be making manicotti.

There was an outcry, of course.  But he stood his ground and insisted that tradition be thrown to the wayside just so that he could one up me.  He really is just full of Christmas spirit.

But manicotti? you say.  Really?

Yes.  Really.  You see, real traditional manicotti is made not with pasta noodles but with super thin crepe-like pancakes.  That you have to make.  By hand.  One at a time.

Which he did.  For many hours.

I’m not sure that he truly realized what he was getting himself into that first year.  But he soldiered on, crepe by crepe, exclaiming all the while that every joint in his body ached and that his knees would never be the same again and that really, he only did these things because he loved us so much.  Each time, turning to give me the evil eye.  As if I had somehow brought this upon him.

Nope, dad.  This was all on you.


So this year. When he declared that he was going to take on manicotti again.

I realized I had to retaliate somehow.  (Especially after the stuffing debacle of 2010.  My heart, it still aches.)

I called my mother and told her in unequivocal terms that I would be cooking the meat.

Did I hear someone call for a throwdown?


When my father heard that, especially after he was informed that rainbow cookies would be involved (and is not bribery the sincerest form of flattery?).  Well, to say that he was shaking in his boots. Is an understatement.

He was ridden with so much anxiety he took the entire week before Christmas off from work.  Sure, he said that it was because he had to use up his vacation days before the new year.  But I think we both know what was really going on.

Dad. I’m onto you.


So I walked into the house on Christmas morning.  Guns ablazin’.

Organic, grass fed standing rib roast in tow.

Prepared to cook like I’ve never cooked before.  (Ummm.  Literally. I’ve never cooked a standing rib roast before.)

I roasted. I simmered.

And, in the end.  I conquered.

When I tasted the first tender succulent melt-in-your-mouth slice of beef.  I walked into the dining room where everyone was waiting to be served.  And I said.  I deliver unto you a Christmas miracle.

And after years and years of being served dry, flavorless roasts with the consistency of shoe leather.  A miracle, it was.

Even my father conceded that it was possibly the best beef he’d ever eaten.  (Although he was a bit miffed that my mother kept praising the meat instead of his manicotti.  What can I say?  All’s fair in love and war.)

Although I did hear him grumbling something about attempting to make his own ricotta next year.

To which I reply.  You’re on.


Standing Rib Roast with Porcini and Bacon Sauce
Serves 12, adapted from Bon Appetit 

6 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh thyme
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 9 lb beef rib roast

1. DO AHEAD: Puree the garlic cloves, thyme, olive oil, salt and black pepper in a food processor until it forms a paste.  Pat the roast dry.  Place roast, bone side down. in a roasting pan.  Cut several shallow slits in the fat.  Press some garlic paste into the slits.  Rub the remaining garlic paste over the roast.  Let sit, covered, in the fridge overnight.  (Or up to 3 days ahead.)

2. DAY OF: Remove roast from fridge at least 2 hours before you want to cook it, letting it come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 450, positioning a rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven.  Roast the beef at 450 for 20 minutes.  Then, lower the temperature to 350 and roast until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1 hour 50 minutes.  Transfer to a platter, reserving the juices in the pan for the porcini and bacon sauce.

3. Let roast stand at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.

Porcini and Bacon Sauce
Makes about 2 1/4 cups, adapted from Bon Appetit 

2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
1/4 lb sliced bacon, chopped
9 garlic cloves, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
3 cups dry red wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
Reserved roasting pan juices
1/4 cup chilled butter, diced

1. Place porcini mushrooms in a small bowl.  Add the 2 cups of boiling water.  Stir. Let soak until mushrooms soften, 30 minutes to 2 hours.

2. Saute bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until golden.  Add garlic and shallots and cook for 3 minutes.  Add fresh button mushrooms and saute for 8 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to the pan, RESERVING the porcini liquid.  Add the red wine.  Boil 15 minutes.  Mix in the broth.  Add the porcini liquid, leaving the sediment at the bottom behind.  Return mixture to a boil and simmer until it is reduced to 5 cups (about 1 hour 30 minutes).  Skim fat from the top.  Add rosemary.  Simmer 3 minutes.  Discard rosemary.

4. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into the sauce, scraping the bottom to get all of the browned bits as well.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer over medium heat until reduced to two cups.  Whisk in the butter.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale
Serves 8, adapted from Giada’s Kitchen 

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 lb green beans, trimmed
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 cup white wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
freshly grated parmesan, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, 6-8 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes and the kale, cooking until kale has wilted.  Add the parmesan cheese (I used about 3 handfuls of it), tossing, until desired taste is reached.

This is my submission to I Heart Cooking Clubs and to Chaya’s Meatless Mondays!

Also, head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen as she counts down the days to 2011 with a lot of great foodie round-ups!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
Share →

75 Responses to Standing Rib Roast with Porcini and Bacon Sauce; Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

  1. Lea Ann says:

    Beautiful. I’ve really got to get my courage up to make a standing rib roast one of these days. So many good mouthwatering recipes for sauces/seasonings. Great post Joanne, you’re a great writer.

  2. Nelly says:

    You tell the best stories, Joanne. And as a newly non-vegetarian foodie, I can also say that pile of dead animal flesh looks…pretty damn good 😀

  3. monicajane says:

    another one I will at some point try…we get our meat bulk at a local farm…I’m out of roasts at the moment

    I imagine your family reads this blog?

    another great story.

  4. Tasha says:

    While I probably won’t ever find myself needing to make a rib roast as we are not beef eaters, I’m sure it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post nonetheless. Your stories regarding your family are always hilarious! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  5. Any leftovers? I’m thinking roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo. Oh, and a side of manicotti!


  6. Victoria says:

    Your family cracks me up, Joanne! Merry Christmas! I’m glad you were able to out-do your dad’s manicotti. This rib roast looks delicious 🙂 Yay red meat!!

  7. Katerina says:

    I am sure everyone was really impressed with this meal. It seems like you are the talented cook in the family. I’d sure want you in my family as well with such cooking skills.

  8. What a great food throwdown! So, how was the manicotti? I wish my mother was alive so that she could see how far her own daughter has come with her culinary skills. She’d love it! I was looking forward to your family gathering stories; they always make me smile.

  9. Too funny! You know he’s already planning next year! Meanwhile, the rest of the family is REALLY enjoying the feasts upon feasts each year I suppose.

    Hope you have leftovers as I hear you’re in for a blizzard?

  10. Lady, you amaze me, but now that I understand the depth of the competitiveness in your family, it all makes a bit more sense. Um, and please pass the porcini and bacon sauce, but don’t expect to get it back.

  11. sra says:

    Glad you triumphed at Christmas and I’m sure you had a happy one! Happy New Year!

  12. Monet says:

    Adorable! Your family sounds just about as competitive as mine. My family almost convinced me to not make dessert this year (they thought i needed a baking break) but I couldn’t stand to see my sisters’ pies receiving all the glory! So I made a killer apple pie that stole the show…I know, I have a problem 🙂 I hope you have a blessed Sunday. Thank you for sharing this deliciousness with me!

  13. Big Dude says:

    Great Christmas story and standing rib roast is hard to beat. We had it as well (tomorrows blog), and I wish I’d had someone to bring a dish of homemade manicotti. Your sauce sounds outstanding.

  14. That Girl says:

    Your Christmas dinner sounds 1 million times better than mine was! Can we come next year?

  15. Bravo, Joanne, BRAVO!!

    This sounds a lot like my first pot roast adventure which did not disappoint at all. Glad you showed your dad who’s boss (something about making that statement sounds slightly evil to me but we’ll just go with it). Hope you had/have a wonderful holiday! MISS YOUUUUUU!

  16. This sounds sublime! Both the competition and the meat! Love it, can’t wait to try it on my own (Luckily I don’t have any competition, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!)

  17. This is the first time I see it in print! We always had manicottis at home growing up, and they were always made with thin crêpes; so when I moved to the US and saw them boxed and hard, I did not like them. What a relief! I don’t feel so strange anymore now. I like the little rivalry you describe with your dad, it is funny; I also love that splendid meal you concocted, wow! Perfect for a celebration!

  18. Beth says:

    Please invite to your Christmas dinner sometime, and I promise to heap praise on all the cooks. I can’t imagine what next year’s meal will look like!

  19. so funny about your dad! at least everyone got a delicious dinner out of the competition:-) by the way, if my husband ever starts reading your blog i am in trouble…

  20. wow … I wish I was invited to your Christmas dinner :-)) or maybe leftover. The rib roast looks out of the world delicious!

  21. Karen says:

    Looks wonderful, and I bet the manicotti was great, too!

  22. Chris says:

    Shame on you, kicking dad’s arse…..with no hands even. Shame!

    Your roast looks good. In fact so good that I need to go eat our leftovers!

    We made our standing rib roast yesterday and it was phenomenal. The rub was a Marx Foods creation (espresso salt, ground chilies, and coconut sugar) which was my favorite ever. Thanks to you:)

  23. What a wonderful meal! Every part, just amazing. You knocked it out of the park. ?

  24. Eden says:

    I wish my dad was that into cooking! I dont know anybody in my family that will challenge me, all they want is to eat well in the end and they dont care too much how it got that way. I think its tricky to make good italian food, you really gotta put in the effort and time. I had the best manicotti when I went to milan in ninth grade. I felt like I died and went to some mobster heaven!

  25. Swathi says:

    Looks delicious.I don’t know what else to say.

  26. Polwig says:

    Beautiful. At least your dad knows you can make the manicotti when his hands become to shaky.

  27. Amy says:

    My father doesn’t even know how to boil water, so I never have this problem. He knows his place, thank goodness.

    Is it just the lighting, or do you actually prefer your cow to be dead before eating? Your roast looks cooked!…unlike everyone else we know. Bravo.

  28. jenna laughs says:

    This looks so delicious!! I loved reading your story too – so funny! I’ve actually never tasted homemade manicotti, just the fake American way. I will have to research a recipe and attempt it someday. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  29. girlichef says:

    Um. Would you be offended if I said “Dod Gamn, that’s gorgeous!”? Cuz it is. A thing of beauty. I want a big, fat, slice.

  30. Raina says:

    That roast looks amazing. I love a good rib roast. That must have cost a pretty penny too…lol There is no way your dad can compete with this dish. Porcini and bacon sauce…wow! I think it is funny that you guys still do the pasta course too. To me it is way too much food, but many family members would go nuts if we left it out:

  31. beef. porcini. bacon. And someone else whose father is competitive beyond words…its like you know my tastes and my family and are in a parallel UNIVERSE! ps…SO making this! It looks incredible! Happy new year!!!

  32. Johanna GGG says:

    sounds like your dad needs to start a blog – I am disappointed there were no photos of his manicotti – never heard of it myself – hope there were no kitchen knives at dawn! Sounds like you had a great Christmas dinner – merry christmas

  33. Your roast sounds amazing! (So does your dad’s manicotti, btw.) Hope you had a fantastic Christmas!

  34. Good for you – that roast looks amazing and those are some of my favorite inredients of all time! Nothing like a little healthy competition to raise the culinary bar – congrats to you and your Dad on an amazing meal. Just FYI if you are interested in winning a pair of Waterford Crystal wine glasses I am doing a giveaway on my blog (my first one). I bet a big hearty Cab would be a perfect pairing for that fabulous roast – Cheers:)

  35. silly.. you are always silly Joanne! but mind you your family throwdown will make a good material for foodnetwork haha!

  36. So was there any Iron Chef kinda scenes in the kitchen or not with you and ur father battling out for Christmas dinner 🙂 I love the first picture of the whole meal.It looks scrumptious and very very delightful! Hope u braved the blizzard and had fun shopping at whole foods ..it so crazy out here in Vegas.. I am being brave n thinking of going tonite to check out decorations! Love the roast look of the ribs!

  37. vanillasugar says:

    bacon sauce. my eyes went right to the bacon sauce. like a kid in a candy store. hello!

  38. Shannon says:

    what a delicious challenge 🙂 that looks amazing, merry christmas joanne!!

  39. Fabulous comfort food, Joanne. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!


  40. looks nice,hope you had a wonderful xmas joanne..

  41. Mo 'Betta says:

    mmmmm, you had me at ‘bacon sauce’ 🙂 and those rainbow cookies look amazing! you and your dad are welcome to have a cook off at my house anytime! I’ll be more than happy to judge.

  42. Maria says:

    My goodness, that looks so juicy and delicious!

  43. Debinhawaii says:

    That beef looks amazing–the whole serving platter looks delicious–I like how you got some greens on there too. 😉

  44. Miriam says:

    I am all over those green beans and kale. I hope you’re having a great holiday weekend! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  45. Pam says:

    Oh my gosh, that meat looks amazing! Nothing like a little friendly competition to up the ante.

  46. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Love your Green bean and Kale salad, Joanne. Looks so refreshing and healthy.

  47. Barbara says:

    If your competitions with Dad keep coming up with one fabulous recipe after another, I’m certain your family is encouraging the “throw downs”!

  48. Julie says:

    Next time you and your dad have a throwdown, please call me to judge! The rib roast sounds fantastic! Maybe someday I’ll get the nerve to try one too 🙂 Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

  49. Louanne says:

    Oh wow, Joanne, that looks amazing! I love the family competition – nothing like a throwdown to get the creative juices flowing!

  50. high low says:

    Too funny! The big winners of your throwdown have to be your lucky family! Oh that rib roast looks divine and I’m a sucker for anything with kale!

  51. Peggy says:

    Haha, I love the friendly family competition between you and your father! I’ve made the crepe version of manicotti, and I feel your father’s pain!

  52. Mary says:

    Joanne, this looks incredibly good. I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall in your Mother’s kitchen as the family competition got underway. You do know of course, that you’ll be responsible for the Christmas rib roast for the remainder of your natural life :-). Enjoy the remainder of the holiday. Blessings…Mary

  53. I cannot believe you have 53 comments over the Christmas holidays. My gosh! Most of my new posts are waiting in my bin until tomorrow, at least. However, you are special. 🙂 Prime rib is my favourite roast… it is THE best. Your recipe sounds fantastic. I love that you pleased your papa and there was a friendly rivalry over whose dish was best. It is also wonderful that he cooks, isn’t it? Now – to your rainbow cookies!
    Happy New Year!!!

  54. Ann says:

    Your father sounds really funny and competitive! That standing rib roast looks delicious. You are an overachiever. And a popular!

  55. RamblingTart says:

    What an absolutely GORGEOUS roast, Joanne! 🙂 I always feel so happy coming to your blog. You’re like the best sister who makes me laugh hard and feel so much better about life and the crazy things that happen. 🙂 Thanks for being so real and hilarious and honest. 🙂

  56. Ben says:

    The best meals are prepared when there’s confrontation in the kitchen, especially with a family member. Hehe. That looks like an amazing dinner.

  57. Wow, I’m impressed!! Awesome job! And your dad sounds like a total riot 🙂 Next year you need to film this throwdown!


  58. Kerstin says:

    I’m so impressed Joanne, it looks perfect – yay for culinary challenges! And Merry Christmas!

  59. Little Inbox says:

    Roast, roast and more roast, that’s Christmas… 🙂

  60. Martha (MM) says:

    Hi Joanne! I have missed you so much! I hold you and your family so close in my heart because yours reminds me so much of my own family. Holidays just aren’t the same now that both of my parents are gone.

    I don’t even have to ask if you have had a wonderful Christmas – but did want to pop in and wish you a Happy New Year! 🙂

  61. Maria says:

    Wow! What an amazing dinner! I love everything about it. Your story is too funny … I’ve got to admit that my dad doesn’t do any cooking but he is more than eager to bring me personally the standing rib roast to prepare for the family on many a special occasion. Hope you had a great Christmas … and here is to a happy and healthy New Year!

  62. Reeni says:

    This looks incredible Joanne! I can see why it was the star of the show! My Dad makes a mean grilled cheese and the most delicious eggs – but that’s about it – I think you’re Dad cooking is cute!

  63. Julie says:

    i’ll challenge you to a rainbow cookie eating throwdown. how bout it? winner gets well a belly full of rainbow cookies and a gold plated italian cookie tray thats empty haha

  64. You’ve outdone yourself yet again! What a meal! You spoil your father… in the best possible way.

  65. Joanne, this is the most droolworthy post I have ever seen.

    A perfect story, dish and photography

  66. Kristen says:

    Ah to be a fly on the wall of your family’s kitchen! You outdid yourself with that roast. It is wonderful. If only computers had smellovision. I bet the aroma in that kitchen was amazing with your beef and your father’s manicotti.

  67. grace says:

    all i needed to know was that bacon was involved and you’d have won the throwdown in my eyes. i like to hear about other families that are ultra-competitive–it makes me feel like mine’s less peculiar! 🙂

  68. gorgeous and yummy recipe as always
    thanks for sharing
    have a nice day and bises from France

  69. oooh, we had a standing rib roast for boxing day, and it was out of this world! definitely a roast beast to remember! happy holidays to you and yours! 🙂

  70. This looks like a wonderful holiday meal. The bacon-porcini sauce must be amazing with the roast! Great story 🙂 One day you’ll have to post your father’s manicotti recipe!

  71. Can I come for dinner the next time I’m in NY 🙂

  72. Stella says:

    Awe, your Dad sounds so cute and funny. My Mom is kind of competitive like that sometimes. Anyway, your roast looks absolutely wonderful, and I’m so glad you used organic, grass fed beef! That makes me feel better about the world (smile)…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *