Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola

This light sauce cooks up in a hurry.  How could this sauce have so much flavor?  The pork chops here are browned and caramelized ahead and set aside.   Shallot and garlic is added to the pan along with some additional tablespoons of olive oil.   Tomatoes are cooked on a slow simmer until it begins to stick to the pan.   Pork chops are returned and the sauce spooned over the meat to finish off the cooking.  The lovely sauce is a nice addition to pasta.   I served the pasta ahead of the meat as a first course.   If you prefer to use beef, go right ahead.  My mother would make this with thin beef slices.   My father was never a fan of pork.  On occasion, I like to use thin rib eyes.  Fat adds flavor. Be sure and have your butcher not trim the meat to much.  Buon Appetito! 
Ingredients:  4 people
4 center cut pork chops about 1 inch thick
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots diced (about 1/2 cup) 
One clove of garlic diced
1 can of crushed tomatoes  14 ounce
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons milk 
One large skillet
About 12 ounces of pasta
Pasta pot with 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt brought to a boil
Method:  In a large skillet (enough to accommodating the meat and sauce),  heat your oil.
 Salt and pepper your meat on both sides.  Slip the meat into the hot skillet.   Brown for about 4 minutes on each side on medium high
When they are nice and browned, place in a plate to rest.   Do not worry that they are not cooked thoroughly, they will have a chance later.
Add some additional oil (about a tablespoon or so), and add your shallots.  Cook until fragrant.

Add your crushed tomatoes,  1/2 cup white wine, your milk and bring to a steady simmer.   Add a teaspoon of salt and black pepper and some fresh basil.  Keep cooking for 10 minutes on a slow simmer.  You will notice your tomato sauce reducing and almost sticking to the pan.   Add your meat to the pan, and cook for for an additional 5 minutes on each side.  Remember, your chops are thick and require extra cooking time.  If your meat begins to stick, add about 1/4 cup water and let reduce some again.  The addition of water is optional.  Just keep an eye on it while cooking.  Turn the heat off and set aside.  Remove the meat from the sauce and let it rest.  

 Look what I found in my sauce.   Made with love.   It's amazing what things can happen when you let your food rest. 
I decided to mix my sauce up with some pasta and serve it as a first course.  Add some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese if you like. 
 You will be surprised how much flavor your pasta will have. 
You may not have room for the meat, but you will have dinner for tomorrow.  We ate everything.
  Buon Appetito!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fagiolini Saltati in Padella (String beans,tossed, skillet style)

I love creating a stir on my Facebook page.  Who knew string beans would create such excitement?  We are always excited about String beans in my house.

This is what happens when you find a bag of blanched string beans in your freezer.   Don't worry, in my freezer, they haven't been there long.  I had a few grape tomatoes in my basket to use up and there is always garlic around en.this kitchen.    This dish is also called   "Saltati in padella" or tossed in the skillet, referring to a quick toss or two and they are ready.  It's the perfect side dish for any meat.  
Keep things as simple as possible.
3 tablespoons of good olive oil
large skillet to accommodate your beans
One pound Blanched string Beans (If they are coming out of your freezer, give them a quick rinse under cold running water, to restore them to room temperature).
One teaspoon or so of salt  (to taste)
3 or four cloves of smashed garlic (Use the end of spoon to smash it if you don't want to use the palm of your hand).
10 grape tomato's rinsed and split.  
1/2 cup  white wine (Pinot Grigio)
pepper (black and a pinch of red) Optional
Heat your oil in your skillet to medium heat.  Add your smashed garlic cloves and with a wooden spoon, move them about the pan.
When your garlic is fragrant, add your tomatoes.  Smash them some with the back of your spoon.   After about a minute or so, add your beans, salt and cook for about 5 minutes or so.  Add your wine and keep cooking 5 minutes more or until your liquid has evaporated.   This may take a little longer depending on your experience.  I like them to stick to the pan just a little bit.  Turn off the heat.

Place in a bowl  with some fresh Basil and serve.   Look for your green beans to lose some of their bright color and soften.  This is an indication that they are cooked.  The addition of basil and white wine turns a bland bean into a sweet dish.  Enjoy and as always,   Buon Appetito!