Thursday, February 10, 2011
Braised pork with tomato gravy and pasta
Last night I threw together an amazing meal! I didn't have a recipe to go by, didn't even know what route I was going to go. But it was good!
Start with 1 large-ish pork loin (2-3 pounds). Slice into 1 inch slices. Season with salt, pepper and Pizza seasoning, from Penzeys. I wasn't sure if it would work, but the spices in the seasoning blend worked great. In a large, deep pan, over medium high heat, with olive oil, sear the pork slices on both sides. Remove to a plate and work in batches; don't overcrowd the pan.
When the pork is seared, toss in 1 medium onion, diced. Toss around until the onions start to soften and pick up some color from the pan. Add about 1 TB each of dried basil and oregano. A large-ish pinch of red pepper flake. Stir to cook for a short 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with 3/4 cup of red wine. A dry red is preferred. Scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
When the wine has reduced down by at least half, add 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 14 oz can of diced tomato and 1 8oz can of tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a simmer. I didn't have any fresh garlic, so at this point, I did a liberal sprinkle of garlic powder.
Return the pork slices to the pan and submerge in the sauce. Cover and place in a 300 degree oven for an hour. After an hour, remove the cover. Start a pot of water boiling for pasta. Once the pasta is added to the pot of water, remove the pork/sauce pot from the oven. Take the slices of pork out of the sauce and roughly chop the tender meat into bite size pieces. Return to the sauce. Optional, add a splash of cream to smooth out the sauce, mellow the flavors (I used a lot of black pepper) and add a richness.
When the pasta is done, drain and toss with the sauce. Reserve some cooking water, in case your sauce has reduced too much to dress the pasta. Serve hot and delicious!
For reasonable servings, you'd get at least 6 servings. I think we got five. I had enough sauce and meat to serve with 3/4 of a box of spiral pasta. 3 hefty servings for three hungry peeps, plus 2 good sized lunch portions. Not bad for a mostly pantry meal. I had the pork loin from the weekend shopping trip and everything else was in the cupboard or fridge!