Category Archives: PORK

SAN MARZANO COCKTAIL MEATBALLS…

007Time to discuss one of my favorite food subjects…the MEATBALL.  Let’s start out with this tidbit, there’s no such thing as the “ITALIAN MEATBALL”. Why you ask?  Because I said so.  And here’s why…there are meatballs of all shapes and sizes and ingredients made all over Italy.  Most likely you’re assuming the meatball in the big pot of sauce is the “Italian Meatball”.  Well that’s certainly one of many. Meatballs as a cocktail party or party food are fantastic since they are small.  They work well at a party and are generally a one bite affair.  For parties one of the meatball recipes I’ve developed is the SAN MARZANO COCKTAIL MEATBALL.  What is that all about? Scenario, you’re at a party…you’re dressed up..nice suit, shirt, dress, whatever.  You pick up the meatball out of the pan or platter and it’s dripping with sauce.  YIKES! Big sauce stain on your tie…or your chest and the shirt.  Down your blouse or onto the front of your dress or skirt.  Now you’ve done it!!  But you really want that delicious sauce flavor with the meatballs right?  Let’s mix this up a bit…for a cocktail party…or any party..add the sauce TO the meatball mix, then make the meatballs and simply serve on a tray, platter or bowl with toothpicks.  This recipe is made in two parts. first the sauce, then the meatballs.  To start:

THE SAUCE (which becomes one of the ingredients in the meatballs)

1 28oz Can SAN MARZANO DOP Tomatoes, or any good variety of Imported Italian Plums or Domestic Plum Tomatoes

2 TBS OLIVE OIL

1 SMALL FINE DICED ONION

SEA SALT

PEPERONCINO

3 FRESH BASIL LEAVES

In a sauce pan heat the olive oil and then add the onion, season with salt and peperoncino.  Let this cook until the onions are translucent and soft.  TIP: if you get impatient the onions will never really soften in the tomato sauce and you’ll have crunchy onions in the mix.  Be patient.  Take your time.  No rush.  Once your onions are soft add the tomatoes which you will crush with your hands first in a bowl, then add them to the pot.  Add one basil leaf and bring this to a boil, stir, then to a simmer and let this reduce for 1 hour, stirring frequently, until it’s reduced by about 1/2.  Add the remaining 2 basil leaves, taste for seasoning and let it sit off the flame to cool completely.  Should take about 2 hours.

MEATBALLS  (makes about 30 ish)

3/4 lb GROUND CHUCK

1/4 lb GROUND VEAL

1/4 lb LOOSE SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE MEAT

1 JUMBO EGG, beaten

handful of chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup dry italian breadcrumbs

1/4 cup of the Sauce you made (that recipe above ^^^^)

3/4 cup freshly grated PECORINO ROMANO

2 FINELY (stressing the FINELY) MINCED GARLIC CLOVES

2 TBS OLIVE OIL

1/2 CUP ITALIAN WHITE WINE

In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley, S & P, Sauce, Garlic together.  Let this sit for 20 minutes. Why? we want the sauce to hydrate those breadcrumbs.  Your Panada (write it down, it’s the Italian word for a breadcrumb/bread mix moistened with eggs, herbs, oil,liquids like milk or water, etc. which forms the binding for the meatballs.  See, we are learning…I love teaching and sharing my food with you!!)  Since there’s a significant amount of liquid in the sauce (which is why we reduced it) you want those breadcrumbs to suck up all that moisture which in turn doesn’t steal moisture from the meats and balances the end product…dry crumbs on their own suck moisture from the meat and other sources.

Blend all the meats together.  Then add to the Panada after it’s sat for a while.  If it’s still too loose, add more breadcrumbs, but only a little at a time. Mix gently with lightly moistened hands (lightly, or you’re adding more water to the balls).  When fully mixed let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.  NOW start rolling walnut sized meatballs and line them on a parchment or waxed paper lined tray.  Chill for 10 minutes.  In a heavy skillet add 2 tbs. olive oil and heat.  Fry the meatballs for at least 5 minutes on each side without overcrowding.  Fry in batches.. Add more Olive oil as needed letting the oil get hot before adding more balls in the pan.  (why? the balls will soak in the oil..frying actually prevents that from happening).  When finished frying all the meatballs, deglaze the pan with the White Wine and gently add the meatballs back and simmer until the wine has evaporated.  Done.  Now serve with toothpicks to hungry guests OR let them cool…wrap them in pans and you can reheat them on trays in the oven for serving at your event/ party/dinner.  Meatballs and sauce all together  No drip. No stains.  No mess.    It was great cooking with you…hope to come into your kitchens again real soon!!!

 

 

 

 

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SAGE AND CRANBERRY ITALIAN SAUSAGE PATTIES…

003The Fall Season seems to turn even our foods in to rust, red, orange and muted green colored fantasies.  Seasons also affect my recipe development as was the case on a blustery autumn day when there was Italian Sweet Fennel Sausage, Calabrian N’duja(a chile spike Calabrian spreadable salami), fresh sage sitting in my fridge.  Grey and chilly outside meant something warm and fall-ish needed to be cooked in the kitchen and I came up with making sausage patties with the ingredients plus some pantry items like a bag of Dried Cranberries.  The pairing of savory minced meats with sweet dried fruits is a gift from the Arab countries and was brought to the Western Mediterranean during their conquests of those areas.  Raisins, currants, pignoli, almonds and so forth show up in ground meat and fish dishes quite often in places like Italy and Spain.  I pooled those resources to develop this VERY tasty SAGE AND CRANBERRY SAUSAGE PATTY.  There’s flavors from Southern and Central Italy here but I’m modifying the recipe for the blog since N’djua is a ridiculously tough food to find for most people.  Instead I’m going to use Spanish Pimenton (Smoked Paprika) and Peperoncino (Italian dried hot pepper) to replicate the flavors in the Calabrian N’duja.  A little finishing of the cooked patties with Marsala or Sherry nicely rounds it all out.I’m such a fan of the sweet /savory foods.  This is one of them.  Serve with bread, or a vegetable or even rice.

TIME: 35 MINUTES                                     SERVES: 2-3

2 lbs. the BEST ITALIAN PORK SAUSAGE MEAT YOU CAN GET (simply slit the casings and remove the meat)  you can use ITALIAN TURKEY SAUSAGE as an alternative.

2 TBS DRIED CRANBERRIES

1 MINCED SHALLOT

3 FRESH SAGE LEAVES, FINELY CHOPPED, plus some whole leaves for garnish

4 TBS MARSALA OR SHERRY

1 TSP. GROUND RED CHILES (or PEPERONCINO)

1 TSP. SPANISH PIMENTON (SPANISH SMOKED PAPRIKA)

(if you want less “heat” from the chiles, go with 1/2 Tsp and replace with 1 tsp of sweet paprika..but use the Pimenton as well.  Paprika is simply an Eastern European word for red peppers)

OLIVE OIL

Mix everything except the olive oil and only use 1 tbs of Marsala or Sherry in a bowl.  Combine till well blended. Let sit for 10 minutes. 401674_3107550370100_1304531591_32244544_484452443_nNow form into 4-6 patties. In a pan, add 2 tbs of olive oil and place on medium heat, and cook the patties until crusty and golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes per side.  Remove the finished patties to a platter and lightly cover with aluminum foil.  Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and deglaze it with the remaining Marsala or Sherry. Add  a little more olive oil and then return the patties to the pan and simply heat them up in the pan sauce, about 2 minutes.  Done.  Garnish with dried cranberries and, although I didn’t when I made them in the picture, I’ve toasted almond pieces and garnished with them too. Sweet, savory, hot, porky, Mediterranean, herby, and with the almonds, crunchy.  This is when food talks back to you and you response, GRAZIE or Thank you.  Happy Cooking!!

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note:  no salt added, why? Sausage is well salted.  Adding salt to these patties would make them way too salty.

 

MOM’S PARTY BAKED BEANS

Memories make foods taste better, that’s a fact.  Case in point are these simple baked beans that my late mom used to parade out for BBQ’s in the Summer and special occasions where she was the “caterer”.  Now before you go getting food snob on me I must tell you that these are made with canned beans.  If that offends you..this is not your recipe.  HOWEVER I will tell you that they are fantastic and unless your tastebuds just do not care for American baked bean dishes, you HAVE to make a tray of these.  Delicious and addictive.  Now truth be told it’s not EXACT to my Mom’s.  It’s close.  My Food Snobbery actually embellishes the dish without recipe OVERKILL.  I think Mom would be proud, happy, and like them. Basically I don’t add anything different then she did, but I add more of a few things.  Now keep reading and you’ll find out.  Back in May for Memorial Day my sister Liza made them.  I saw the pan and of course got a lump in my throat wishing my Mom was in the kitchen with us.  “These are Mommy’s party and BBQ in the back yard cabana (it was a screened in porch deal) Baked Beans aren’t they?” My sister replied, yes they are.  They had that deep rich color with the bacon top that Mom’s did. Unmistakably these were Mom’s.  For some reason, you don’t make these for just a  nightly dinner.  Instead they are festive…party buffet food…Summer BBQ in the backyard food.  I’m sure there are foods/dishes that you all love that remind you of a now gone loved one and memories of good times.  In my very ItalianAmerican home this version of American Baked Beans meant a good time or big party was happening.  Oh, I also changed the brand of beans, Mom used Campbells..most available, most popular.  This was in the pre Bush’s Beans days… B & M was the most expensive competition. My wife LOVES B & M so for a family party last week I made a tray using the B & M beans.  So I’m not straying from her formula..too much.  AND here’s the proof..my sisters saw them and said …”AHHH MOM’S!!”  Then confirm too (as if my own tastebuds are not the last word  LOL), my 46 year old nephew PROCLAIMED, “Wow, Grandma’s Baked Beans..it’s been too long..Spot on Uncle Pete”.. Just an FYI, when Mom made REAL BAKED BEANS, not for parties or BBQ, she’d soak the dry beans and layer them with salt pork and other ingrdients and in a New England Bean Pot, covered into the oven they’d go for hours.  That’s a different dish of hers.    OK, let’s cook.

 

MOM’S “PARTY” OR BBQ BAKED BEANS

TIME: 2 hours                   SERVES: 8-10

12 STRIPS OF BACON

1 MEDIUM VIDALIA ONION (SWEET) DICED

2 28 oz CANS B & M BAKED BEANS (no, i’m not getting sponsored here, it’s what I use, so….if you like use any other 28 oz cans of beans)

2 TBS BROWN MUSTARD

1/4 cup KETCHUP

1/8 CUP BROWN SUGAR

1 TBS MOLASSES

1/2 TSP TABASCO SAUCE

1 TSP WORCHESTERSHIRE SAUCE

2 TSP REAL MAPLE SYRUP

Start by pre heating your oven to 300 degrees F.   Dice 5 slices of the bacon and in a cast iron or heavy pan, saute’ the bacon on medium heat.  When you see bacon grease rendering into the pan then add the onions.  Stir well to make sure the bacon grease is on all the onion.  Let this slowly cook until the bacon is just about to the crisp stage and the onions are soft. Takes at least 15 minutes, more or less.

Remove from the heat when it looks like that picture above and drain off all that residual bacon fat.  Let it rest.  In a bowl or simply the baking pan you’re going to use add everything else except the remaining bacon strips and blend well.  THEN fold in the bacon/onion mixture.  Top with the bacon strips.    

Now into the oven for 1 1/2 hours.  TIP: place the pan on a sheet pan.  JUST in case there’s bubbling and spillage, this tomato and sugar and bacon blend will make a nasty mess if it hits the bottom of your oven. The sheet pan is insurance.  Pay your premium!!

When the pan looks like the picture below, you are done.  Resist the urge to move it along with a higher oven temp. Your BAKING the beans. They will taste and feel different than if you simple heat them up out of the can.

Let the hot beans sit for 15 minutes at least before serving.  Now, here’s one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE things to eat.  See those bacon strips?  They are ridiculously amazing…is that even proper grammar?  I don’t care.  It’s amazing. Make sure you sneak a few before the rest of the diners get to dig in.  You made it, you deserve it.  I can probably show you when my Mom used to slap my hand when she’d catch me lifting a strip before they were served.  My sister and I would always fight over them.  If you notice in the ingredient list there is no SALT or PEPPER  added.  Why? You are using canned beans in tomato sauce cooked with Pork, salt, seasonings, etc.  You are using bacon which releases salt into the baking beans.  Ketchup, mustard,Worchestershire all have salt so DO NOT ADD ANY MORE TO THIS DISH.  The sweet caramelizing of the dish balances the salty in it..IT’S FANTASTIC. Maybe because it’s a direct link to MOM? or simply because it just tastes that good?? I conclude, it’s both.  Happy Cooking.

 

 

 

PORK CHOPS WITH VINEGAR PEPPERS, COSTOLETTE DI MAIALE CON PAPACCELLE

12583652_10205563126459895_473867487_nSometimes your cravings take hold of you and nothing will get in the way of satisfying it.  That’s how most of my evening meals become a reality.  There are too many variables and speed bumps that create detours between the work day and getting home so I am not that cook who works off of a weekly planner.  I couldn’t survive on that type of grid.  The seeds are planted though with what  I already know is sitting in the fridge, like a pack of 1/4-1/2 thick PORK CHOPS.  Midday I started thinking about Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers, one of my favorite ways to prepare pork chops.  There are many ways to make this dish, stove top, or in the oven. Nice to have choices!  Marinate the chop, or not.  Up to you.  This dish is one of the most Popular in the Italian-American suite of recipes and it’s an actual dish that is part of Napoletana (from Naples) cuisine.  In Naples it’s a heritage dish called Costolette di Maiale con PAPACCELLE.  Don’t try to translate PAPACCELLE let me help you out.  As will all Italian regions there are languages within the region or province which exist nowhere else.  PAPACCELLE is a Napoletana word for a specific type of squat, round, small pepper, very close to a cherry pepper.  In Naples they are prized and are generally prepared “SOTT’ACETA or SOTT’OLIO..in Vinegar, or Olive Oil, or a combo of both. The basic Napoletana recipe is simply searing the pork loin chops on the bone (sidebar…please do not ask if you can make this off the bone..ok, you can, but this dish is an on the bone dish, so work with me here!!), add some olive oil, garlic, and a few sliced Vinegar peppers, let it cook till the pork is done.  That’s the most basic version and I’ll go out on Campanian limb and say…that’s probably the most authentic.  My version is slightly jacked up but I don’t use any wine like many other recipes out there do.  It turns the dish into a Scarpariello tasting dish..very good, but the wine sort of steals the thunder from the vinegar.  I try to preserve that tang in the dish without the winey boozy flavor Wine or Vermouth would add.   Time to come into my kitchen, ANDIAMO!

TIME: 1 HOUR                                        SERVES: 4

4  1/4-1/2 INCH THICK PORK CHOPS ON THE BONE  (Loin are great, Rib are better, more fat, more flavor, more interesting flavors on the meat)

2 VINEGAR PEPPERS PROCESSED WITH 1 TBS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, 1 SMALL CLOVE OF GARLIC, 1/8 TSP KOSHER SALT,  1/4 TSP PEPERONCINO (DRIED RED CHILE FLAKES) into a paste

2 TBS OLIVE OIL

2 WHOLE CLOVES OF GARLIC

6 VINEGAR PEPPERS, SEEDS AND CORE REMOVED, SLICED OR SIMPLY SLICED

1 CUP of the VINEGAR PEPPER JAR LIQUID OR 1/4 CUP RED WINE VINEGAR

(sidebar…PUT DOWN THAT BOTTLE OF BALSAMIC!! no, you cannot substitute it in this dish.  Why? not just because I say so, although in some cases that is good enough, right? But because this is a dish from Naples..not Modena.  The cooking styles and products are very different.  Balsamic is NOT a substitute for all over Vinegars, it’s it’s own ingredient and it will discolor this dish as well as add a sweetness to it.  Now is that a bad thing?  No, but then you are making another dish.  Let’s stick to this Maiale con Papaccelle  dish shall we?  Good.)

1 SPRIG FRESH ROSEMARY  (not dried, it doesn’t cook long enough to soft those dried Rosemary needles up, and the flavor will be different)

1/2 TSP KOSHER SALT

To start, pat the chops down with a paper towel.  Discard (the paper towel…). Rub the chops down with the paste you made with the  Vinegar peppers.   Place on a plate and loosely cover in a cool dry area and let marinade for 1/2 hour.  In a heavy skillet,  heat the olive oil and sear the chops for 8 minutes, then turn, and sear for 3 minutes, add the garlic. Let it take on a little color (that little bit of garlic browning is the taste of most Italian American restaurants)) then add the sliced vinegar peppers.  Saute’ the peppers for 5 minutes, shaking the pan a few times.  Add the Vinegar or the Jar liquid along with the sprig of rosemary.  Taste this liquid after you bring it to a boil, then reduce it.  See if it needs any more salt.  If you are using the jarred liquid I’m going to say NO ADDITIONAL SALT.  If not add salt to taste. Let this simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated, maybe 10 minutes.  Let this sit in the pan for 5 minutes off the heat before you serve. 0002  Now if you cannot find the jarred peppers  here’s a solution…Find some sweet cherry peppers, or Cubanelle (Italian Frying Peppers),  Seed them and slice them (maybe 6) and boil in Red wine vinegar and a little water until tender.  Add a pinch of salt.  Let them sit in that hot brew for 2 hours.  Then use them as the recipe instructs you to as if you were using the jarred peppers.  Use that liquid as well, or if you want more Vinegar punch, go with the straight up 1/4 cup of Red Wine Vinegar.

Serve this with Roasted Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes. Not pasta.   A simple Escarole or other greens dressed with anchovies, capers, olive oil and garlic. Nice.  What a meal this is.

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SIDEBAR:  Feel free to adjust the thickness of the chops. Most Restaurants make this with monster chops, just adjust your cooking times as they will differ.

If you want to roast this, simply add all the ingredients to the pan and roast in a pre-heated oven for 1/2 hour or till pork it tender.

A BASIC MEATLOAF RECIPE WITH AMAZING FLAVOR

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Meatloaf has a love/hate relationship with many.  I find to many haytas and I know Haytas gotta hate but I’m going to try and change that.  Those same types generally love burgers and meatballs so, really, it’s not much of a stretch to jump to meatloafing from there.  Want to try this recipe out?  Good..and while I’m at it..this is not MY only meatloaf recipe.  Meatloaf is a “stretch” recipe..it allows the cook to use bits and pieces of what’s ever leftover or some less expensive ground meat (not so less expensive anymore) and stretch it into a filling tasty (TASTY I SAID!) meal.  Now the meatloaves I’ve not been to happy with simply are missing lots of ingredients.  For some reason this dish benefits from the use of many different condiments, vegetables and meats along with spices and aromatics to bring it to the table.  As with much of my cooking it’s past experience from where I start my constructing my own version and this has it’s roots in my Mom’s meatloaf of this type.  She made a few different ones, even the Polpettone (the Italian meatloaf) but this was her typical “American” one.  Ketchup, Mustard, Bacon, Onions, Worchestershire Sauce.  They turned it into something special.  Lots of Shredded cheddar and pecorino too.  Ok, Pecorino, NOT at all American, but work with me here, it becomes a flavor carrier.  That’s what you need.  Too many meatloaves are 3 or 4 ingredient ones with nothing to remember each bite by.  I need memorable.  I need flavors that intensify so the next day I can make a cold Meatloaf sandwich with or without Ketchup or BBQ Sauce. Up to you. Bacon is integral to this on the inside and the outside.  Like Meatloaf’s refined French cousin, the Terrine, larding with bacon (wrapping it) is beneficial in terms of moisture and flavor.  And who doesn’t like bacon????  OK, I know some of you don’t, you’ll just have to sit this one out.

 

SERVES: 6               TIME: 1 .75 hours

1 1/2 mixed ground BEEF, PORK, VEAL  (or if you prefer just Beef, use Chuck or up to 85% lean ground beef. Anything leaner the loaf is dry.)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 beaten eggs

1/8 cup rolled oats

3 torn slices of bread, white or whole wheat, soaked in a little milk, then gently squeeze the milk out

1 1/2 tbs. Worchestershire Sauce

1/8 cup Ketchup

2 tbs. Mustard, truthfully, I like Yellow for this, feel free to use Brown, Dijon is not the right family for this relative. Yes, it’s mustard and I love it, but not in this particular meatloaf.

1 tsp. Sriracha or Tabasco

2 tbs. chopped fresh thyme

1 fine diced onion, SAUTEED till soft with 4 chopped strips of Bacon (smoked USA style).  When the onions and bacon are done, takes about 15 minutes, remove from the flame and let rest for 10 minutes.

2 tsps. grated Pecorino Romano

1/8 cup shredded SHARP Yellow Cheddar cheese

6 additional strips of raw bacon

a glaze made out of 1/3 cup Ketchup, 2 tbs. mustard, 1 tbs. Maple Syrup (the real stuff, not Log Cabin)

1 tsp. Sriracha or Hot Sauce

Mix all the ingredients into a bowl except the bacon strips and glaze.  Blend Well.  Lightly grease a loaf pan and press the mix into the loaf.  Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the loaf pan on a sturdy baking sheet.  Coat the top with a layer of the glaze.  Top that with the bacon strips.  Bake for at least 45 minutes.  Insert a knife blade into the center, if it comes out clean you are done, if not, cook an additional 10-15 minutes.  LET THE MEATLOAF REST FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES AFTER IT’S COME OUT OF THE OVEN.  Then slice and serve with some of that glaze over the top.  TRY IT YOU’LL LIKE IT!!  only you will not need any Alka Seltzer after eating this.  Notice not much salt in the recipe..well there is, in the ketchup, Worchestershire, Mustard, cheese. So do not over salt this.

 

PASTA WITH RICOTTA, PROSCIUTTO AND ARUGULA..SIMPLE PASTA FOR A QUICK MEAL

001  One can never have too many PASTA recipes and ideas, it is just too easy to create a tremendous meal with a pot of water and some good pasta, fresh or dried.  Comforting and filling, PAPPARDELLE, a medium width long sheet of pasta from Tuscany is what today’s post is all about.  You may see this most commonly served with a long simmered Ragu’ of Wild Boar (Cinghiale) or Duck (Anatra) or Bolognese style sauces but let’s not limit ourselves.  Have a 1/2 hour to get dinner ready?  This may be of interest to you.  I know it will be.  I’m pairing it with wilted Arugula, Prosciutto and tossing it with a good ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano.  A hint of garlic and you are eating really well..where’s that crisp white wine or sparkling water???  Dinner is served!  A little about Pappardelle…I like to know all about whatever it is I’m eating.  Makes it taste better.  In Tuscan dialect the verb PAPPARE denotes eating with glee, having fun,  with the joy a child might have.  I’ll agree. Pappardelle make you happy and there’s an excitement at your plate.  Is that a little much?  I’m not thinking so, but maybe you are.  You’ll feel it when you eat this easy dish.

SERVES: 4                                                 TAKES: 40 minutes

1 LB. EGG PAPPARDELLE, FRESH IS BEST, BUT THERE ARE EXCELLENT EGG PAPPARDELLE THAT ARE DRIED

1 1/2 CUP RICOTTA

1/4 cup freshly grated PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

1/2 TSP. BLACK PEPPER or PEPERONCINO

1 clove sliced GARLIC

2 CUPS CHOPPED BABY ARUGULA

1/4 LB. CHOPPED PROSCIUTTO

2 TBS. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Pinch of SALT

Cook the Pappardelle according to the package instructions.  While you are waiting for the water to boil you can get the “sauce” completed.

In a wide pan heat 1 tbs. of Olive oil.  Add the prosciutto and cook for about 5 minutes to melt the fat on it and lightly caramelize it.0002  Add the garlic and let it get fragrant (LOVE THAT TERM WITH FOOD, I’M STARVING AGAIN WHEN I HEAR THAT!!), this should only take about 1 to 2 minutes..do not let it burn.  Add the arugula and cook for no more than 2 minutes and pepper.           10965_1151469789308_1304531591_30356921_1242298_n  Remove from heat.  Season with salt if needed. Drain your Pappardelle retaining 2 tbs. of the water.004   Add the al dente pappardelle to the pan of prosciutto and arugula. Gently mix well.  Fold in 1 1/2 cups of ricotta and 1/8 cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano  Let it sit for 5 minutes then add the additional ricotta and DRIZZLE  with the remaining oliveoil. serve.  More Parmigiano and pepper if you like.  I like.20 Angelo-Brocato-New-Orleans  done.  Just a note here you may be thinking one clove of garlic is not enough.  I appeal to your senses of at least trying a dish in a more Italian fashion.  Too much garlic, in my opinion in this dish reduces it to a pile of garlic noodles.  Some Italian dishes do in fact have a real punch from garlic, others simply do not and are flavored with it, like this one.  Try it.

ROAST LOIN OF PORK WITH PANZETTA STUFFING, MEMORIES OF MOM

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Memories are a wonderful thing, yes, there are good ones and there are bad ones but the ones that I love the most are the ones that connect me to a time and place and people…my daughters’ coming to America, their birthdays, the day I met my wife, and that whole group of memories that connects me to my family that is no longer around.  Not in a morbid way but in a very healthy wonderful way foods that my mom, dad, or grandparents made will have them sitting at the table with us.  This dish I’m blogging for you is one of those that is a deep deep memory of my Mom’s cooking from when I was a kid.  It’s funny, as unique as one may think they are when I posted the pictures of the dinner on Facebook out of the woodwork came so many who basically all said the same thing, “My Mom made that!! I haven’t seen or had that in years”. So here I am now blogging it so that all may enjoy that memory and introduce this to those who have never heard or had it.  What is it other than a stuffed roast?  Here’s some background on the dish..it comes from Southern Italy and is called PANZETTA.  It’s a stuffed breast of veal with a filling very specific to this dish  made of eggs, bread, herbs, lots of pecorino, lots of black pepper,onions. That’s the basic more popular version. As with most Italian dishes there are variations from home to home.  My Mom’s (and btw, this was her favorite dish of all) was the recipe I just mentioned but many families added sausage, or cured Italian meats like Prosciutto or Pancetta, some added mushrooms, some added spinach and so on.  I decided I’d use my mom’s base and add some spinach, pancetta and onions realizing that maybe I’d compromise the taste of Mom’s but I’d take that chance.  The other change I made and this is why I cannot call the entire dish PANZETTA is that I used a Bone in Loin of Pork Roast.  Ever have breast of veal?  It’s unique and not well loved.  There’s about a 2 inch piece of meat running through it wiTH a boatload of bone and connective tissue.  Place it under the “acquired taste” file.  I happen to love it mostly because of it’s sentimental value but for feeding my family and sharing this with all of you, the pork is more universally loved.  The stuffing is just too good to be added to a breast of veal so here I present to you, LONZA DI MAIALE RIPIENE NELLO STILE DI PANZETTA… so there’s a mouthful…Bone in Loin of Pork Roasted Stuffed with Panzetta style stuffing.  I’ve done my research on this stuffing and I only see it inside of a Panzetta, it’s so unique.   Did I say unique already?  Sorry I guess I need to explain what I mean by unique.  It’s the taste and texture, very fluffy, eggy, cheesy, with the flavor of black pepper shining through.  Almost a mousse like rather then a dense stuffing.  Intrigued?  After you are done cooking it and eating it look across your table and my mother will be smiling at you.  We’ve made her very happy!

 

SERVES: up to 8                            TIME: about 2 1/2 hours

INGREDIENTS;

5LB BONE IN LOIN OF PORK WITH A NICE “CAP” OF FAT ON TOP, BUTTERFLIED OR OPENED UP SO YOU CAN STUFF THE ROAST, HAVE YOUR MEAT PERSON OR BUTCHER DO THIS FOR YOU.

1/4 CUP WHITE WINE

3 TBS CHOPPED FRESH THYME

1 TSP. CRUMBLED DRIED OREGANO

KOSHER SALT, GROUND BLACK PEPPER

OLIVE OIL

2 CLOVES GARLIC

STUFFING:

1/8 LB. DICED PANCETTA

1 MEDIUM ONION, DICED

1 TBS. OLIVE OIL

2 1/2 CUPS STALE ITALIAN BREAD, CUBED, SOAKED IN WATER AND GENTLY SQUEEZED DRY

1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PECORINO ROMANO

2 TBS. CHOPPED PARSLEY

1 1/2 CUPS FINELY CHOPPED FRESH SPINACH, BABY SPINACH IS BEST, MORE TENDER

3/4 TSP FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER

4 CRUSHED FENNEL SEEDS

2 BEATEN EXTRA LARGE EGGS

3 TBS. GROUND ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS (MADE FROM ITALIAN BREAD, NOT THE FINE CANNED ONES)

Make sure your roast is patted dry and ready for stuffing.  Season the interior with a little salt and pepper.  While it is coming to room temperature, preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a pan, add 1 tbs olive oil, heat, then add the pancetta and let it render and get browned, almost but not quite crisp..takes about 8 minutes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Then add the onion and let this cook gently till the onions are translucent and soft, about another 10 minutes.  Add the fennel seeds and the wine.  Let this cook until the wine is evaporated.  You are now left with lots of flavor. Add the spinach and mix, it will gently wilt.  In a bowl beat together the eggs, black pepper and pecorino.  Add the soaked cubed bread. Mix. Now add the crumbs mix, gently.  Then add the pancetta and onion.  Mix till blended, and you are done.  Place this up against the bones and on the meat.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Easy.  don’t panic if some falls out you can press it back into the rolled roast when you are done. Roll this up and tie up the roast, or if you are not as lazy I as tend to be, just roll it and stand it up nicely in an oiled baking pan.  I couldn’t find my meat rack so it went right onto the bottom of the pan but a meat rack is better.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  It’s always better to tie up a roast like this as it helps with more even cooking, but I wasn’t having any of that the other night.  Truth be told it’s one of my not so good cooking skills so I avoid it whenever I think I can get away with it.  I don’t advise that though. Give the roast a nice salting, black pepper, rub it with a sliced clove of garlic all over, then pour the wine over it..then rub it with some olive oil.  Into the over it goes for 1/2 hour at 400 F.  Then lower the oven to 375 F and roast for another hour or until a thermometer reads 140 F when placed into the meat.  When it’s done big RULE here, LET THE MEAT REST!!!   Cover with foil and leave it for at least 15 minutes.  Then slice into chop size or just carve the meat from the bone.   Your call.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

after carving…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside the meat is moist, and the stuffing…well the stuffing…it’s a doorway into a my childhood home.  Such a different stuffing that really captures every Italian flavor , it’s a real winner.  After you’ve done the first 1/2 hour of roasting, add some cut Yukon Gold tossed with salt, pepper, garlic, chopped onion and celery and olive oil in the pan and let them cook for the balance of the roasting time. Just make sure to rotate the pan 1/2 way thru and move the potatoes around for even browning.  More deliciousness.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

There may be no better potato than one that’s cooked in a mix of Olive Oil and rendered pork fat, especially if some of that is cured pork.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Up in the left corner of this picutre notice the Applesauce.  Yes, Applesauce.  Pork and Applesauce are a Fall combo and a very American pairing.  I made the applesauce with sweet onions (for this savory dish), apples, apple cider, salt, and some brown sugar.  It complimented the pork wonderfully.  That’s my preference for roast pork over a gravy, again, your choice but with the rich stuffing the sweetness of the apple cuts through and balances the whole dish.  Well, that’s enough from me today.  Find a pork roast, or a veal one, and make this Panzetta styled stuffing.  Make my mom smile!