August 02, 2009

2:1 - Lemon Arugula Pasta w/Herb Pork Chops

Ahhh…. Lazy weekends are always a good refresher. Had the luxury of waking up late, making some quality coffee and enjoying morning shows while lounging on the couch. Before I knew it, it was almost one and we hadn’t had any lunch! While Ross went out on a search for sandwiches, I remembered I had some thick pork chops in the freezer – there’s dinner!

Pork chops are tricky. Depending on the thickness you have, they can overcook in a blink of an eye and then who wants hard, chewy pork? Not me and certainly not Ross! During my last trip to the grocery store, I was surprised to see thick (roughly 1.5 inch) pork chops. They’re usually sliced thin, so I was extremely excited about getting something a little meatier and had high hopes to actually cook it perfectly.

How have I cooked pork chops in the past? Hrm….not well apparently. I typically season with salt and pepper and then pan cook them until they’re done – slice and had with veggies and rice. I’ve crusted them in bread crumbs mixed with seasoning and pan cook – these actually turn out pretty tasty. Or I’ve buttered, S&P and herbed them and popped in the oven, which are not as good since my oven can get testy and before you know it, it’s already overcooked before the allotted six minutes! The trick is trying to cook them but keep all the yummy juices inside the meat until right before you cut a piece to eat – hasn’t happened for me in a long time.

So, not surprisingly, the recipe I used was from Giada. She had a recipe for a dry herb rub pork chops topped with onion marmaletta. I know I was cooking for Ross too but really, I can’t make something I know I don’t like so the onion marmaletta went out the door. Sorry Ross! The only thing I did differently (simply because I didn’t have it) was omit the rosemary but I substituted for dry oregano instead. The pork chops turned out beautifully! They had a ton of flavor, were juicy and complemented the citrusy pasta I made as well.

Well, pasta goes well with almost any meat in my opinion. I had lemons and arugula/spinach I needed to use so why not a recipe with all of it? Simple and from my other favorite Food Network cook – Ina Garten. You can really taste the citrus in this pasta - gives it a little zang! which I loved.

Herb Crusted Pork Chops
Original recipe by Giada
Serves four
Since I didn’t change a good portion of her recipe, I’m not posting the ingredients. You can check it out
here but I’ll walk through what I did below. I cooked it a little differently but the ingredients were almost the same – minus the rosemary.

Combine dry oregano (recipe called for rosemary but I didn’t have), fresh thyme lightly chopped, garlic and S&P. Make sure your pork is cleaned, rinsed and dry. Rub the herb mixture all over the pork, both sides. I let it sit for roughly 15 minutes (you should probably do longer but Ross and I were getting hungry!).
Heat your grill. With a paper towel, pour a little bit of oil and then rub paper towel over the grill.
Grill the pork chops for seven minutes on each side. Since I used my inside grill, I actually put a bowl over the pork chops while they were cooking to help trap the heat and cook a little better – like a real grill! I like to let it sit for just a few minutes to let it cool slightly and to keep the juices locked in. I put them on a plate and covered again with a bowl to keep the heat in.

I didn’t have parsley so didn’t use that. I made a balsamic reduction – just heat on low, balsamic vinegar until thick. Pour just a little bit on top of pork. Or not. The pork chops were actually really tasty that it didn’t need anything else. Pairs well with citrus pasta.
Citrus Pasta
Original recipe by Ina Garten with my adaption

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pint heavy cream
2 lemons (zest and juice)
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
½ lb angel hair
1/2 pound baby arugula & spinach mix
1 bunch of fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. In pan, heat olive oil, add garlic and cook until you smell it and right before it gets really brown.
2. Add the cream, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, S&P (as much as you’d like so taste test while cooking).
3. Let it come to a small boil and then reduce for 10 minutes. Heat up the butter in microwave and then add the flour. Mix until paste. Add this to the cream mixture to make sure it is incorporated completely.
Bring pot of water to boil to cook the pasta – I did this a tad too early so had to let it sit while I made the cream sauce. Recommend that you start cooking right when you leave the cream mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. 5. When cream is thick, add pasta, arugula, spinach and basil to pasta and then the cheese. Mix thoroughly and then eat!

1 comment:

  1. This was an absoloutely delicious and yummy dish, cooked perfectly. Everyone should try to make it!