About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.


Pork Archives

November 26, 2010

Pork Loin Braised in Milk, Bolognese Style

Some of my Pomodori e Vino recipes are best kept in the kitchen... by that, I mean it is probably best that Bill doesn't know what's happening until he gets to eat the finished product. Pork loin braised in Milk would be a good example of that.

"why are you going to ruin a perfectly good butt by putting milk in the pot?"

~Because Marcella said so!
Now...Southerners know how to handle a Boston butt.
I have always thought it ironic that in the south it is a Boston butt, in the north it is called a pork shoulder (those yankees missed a good chance there to rename it)
Marcella actually calls for a pork rib roast... which would make a beautiful presentation. This was a night for home cookin'... a butt it is.
The recipe is very simple. A beautiful cut of pork, a little fat to brown the roast, and milk. The pork and the milk slowly cook together, adding a cup full of milk at a time once it cooks down. This cooking process is slowly repeated over 3 hours. The result is a beautifully tender roast with a nutty brown sauce.

Bill pronounced it perfection.
So... maybe I didn't ruin that butt after all :-)
Ciao y'all~

November 27, 2010

Roast Pork with Vinegar and Bay Leaves


I have a wee announcement to make:

This is the best recipe in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking!

There. Cue the debate . . . .

Here we are on page 419 of Marcella's Italian cookery 'bible' and I do believe that I have found the 'best' recipe. Sure, I have some more to go but for whatever reason I think that this is the favourite thing I have cooked to date and I'm not sure that the sauteed lamb kidneys coming up are going to top it.

This was a surprise. One reads the title and thinks . . . 'Pork with vinegar and bay leaves? So what?'

The ingredients listed don't really provide an inkling of the culinary delights ahead should one pull this together. In fact, the only ingredients NOT listed in the title are butter, oil, salt, and peppercorns. You wouldn't think that culinary genius lurks amongst that short, simple, list.

You would be wrong. 7 ingredients can work wonders.

That is it campers. 7 ingredients. Done. 7 ingredients that I bet many of you have in your home right now.

Hint, hint, hint . . . MAKE THIS!

Essentially (pun sort of intended) you are directed to brown the pork all over in butter and oil and then slowly braise it in the vinegar with bay leaves and crushed peppercorns until the pork is cooked through to perfection. Like all slowly braised dishes, this is not on the table in 30 minutes. I think that I spent about 90 minutes working in the kitchen until this served up to rave reviews.

I believe the comment was 'this is the BEST ******* Pork I have ever had!' (edited for our family friendly audience but you get the picture.) Note to self . . . don't start pouring the wine for dinner companions until AFTER their feedback on the dishes has been received.

Of course, the wonderful thing about braised dishes is that once they are in the pot and slowly cooking away you can work on other things while resisting the temptation to peek under the lid every 5 seconds at whatever in that pot is filling the house with the most promising scents.

In this instance, I took the opportunity while the pork was cooking to make the sunchoke gratin and baked red beets that I'll chat with you about on January 1st (thank god I did this one ahead because you just know I'll be nursing a headache on New Year's Day!) and March 26th respectively. I also roasted some fingerling potatoes and dinner, as they say, was served.


November 28, 2010

Drunk Pork Roast

When I saw this recipe title I was intrigued. I have to admit that I often make beef pot roast with either beer or wine, but I have never made a pork roast with the same. This is another recipe with simple ingredients that ends up packed with flavor. I used a pork loin that I studded with pieces of carrots, floured, and then browned in butter and oil. Once it was browned on all sides I added some brandy. Then I almost covered the roast with Santa Christina wine. It is a Tuscan wine made with sangiovese grapes, which was one of Marcella’s recommendations for this dish. Then I added a couple of bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper. This cooked for around 3 hours.


When this was finished I sliced it and poured the pan juices over it. The slices on the ends with the carrot pieces were incredible. The carrots gave it a sweetness that complemented the flavor from the wine. I would have never thought to use the carrots for this purpose, but I will definitely try this again in the future. This is a great recipe to make when it is a cold day and you need something that will make the house smell great while it is cooking and then will make you feel all warm and toasty inside when you eat it. I have to apologize for the picture this week. I must have been delirious when I took it, because I could have sworn it looked better when I shot it!!

November 29, 2010

Braised Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Cream, and Porcini Mushrooms


Thick cut pork chops are browned then slowly simmered in a sauce of tomatoes, white wine, porcini and white button mushrooms and cream.

This dish was a great dinner for the cold, rainy weather we had today in St. Louis. All the ingredients meld together for a sauce that is not too thick or rich but a nice compliment to the tender pork. I served this pork dish on top of a pile of smashed potatoes. It was a satisfying meal. Everyone asked for seconds. Once again we have simple techniques creating wonderful flavors.

Question: If Italians taught the French how to cook, why did the French make the process so complicated?

November 30, 2010

Braised Pork Chops with Sage and Tomatoes, Modena Style


Our family's traditional method for preparing pork chops has always been to oven broil them covered with thinly sliced lemons, dots of butter, and brown sugar. It is one of my earliest memories of my mother's special meals. It's the way I've always prepared them for my family, and it's the way my daughters prepare them to this day.

So here I am, on the eve of my 7th decade, braising pork chops for the first time in my life. The simple and straight-forward flavor profile is sage and tomatoes.


The nice thick 3/4" chops are lightly floured and then cooked in a saute pan with butter, oil, & sage until they are a deep rich brown on both sides.


Salt, pepper and tomatoes are added and the heat is turned to a slow simmer. The pan is covered with the lid slighty ajar and cooking continues for at least an hour, or until the meat feels tender to the fork.

The chops are then transferred to a warm platter and topped with the pan sauce.


We rounded out the meal with a fresh green salad and broiled sweet potatoes.


I enjoyed this novelty of preparing pork chops Modena style. They were very tasty and tender. I can find no fault with our enjoyment of the dish. But, I must admit that it won't replace my cherished family recipe. It is, after all, sometimes more about the memories that are attached to the dish than the merits of one method over another.

By the way, we had enough for a second meal. They held well for two days in the fridge and I warmed them on the stove with a little extra water.

December 2, 2010

Stewed Pork with Porcini Mushrooms and Juniper


Today's recipe is Stewed Pork with Porcinin Mushrooms and Juniper. I was really looking forward to making this recipe. I've had a jar of juniper berries in my spice cabinet that have only been used once, when making a rabbit dish. Time to make another recipe calling for them.

Marcella says that the fragrances from this dish - porcinin mushrooms, juniper berries, marjoram, and bay, are usually associated with furred game. She also recommends serving this with soft polenta.

To begin the recipe, you lightly crush the juniper berries to release their flavors. In a saute pan, the pork shoulder, which has been cut into cubes, is browned in hot olive oil. When all is browned, the meat is removed from the pan, and chopped onion is added and cooked until it turns golden brown. White wine and red wine vinegar are added, along with the juniper berries, chopped anchovies, porcini mushrooms and their soaking liquid, marjoram, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. The heat is turned down, and the stew simmers for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender.

I made this dish a couple of days in advance of serving it, so you see the photo of the meat by itself and not with the polenta. This meat was delicious. So tender. Make sure you have enough juice in the pan, because you want plenty of pan sauce. I kept tasting this, and it just doesn't taste like pork. But I never could figure out what I thought it tasted like, or what spices I was tasting. I think my juniper berries might be past their prime, as there wasn't much of that flavor I could distinguish. I will be making this recipe again, as I really liked the flavors. And it's easy to make, and it's nice to have a recipe you can make 2 or 3 days in advance.

December 3, 2010

Spareribs Pan-Roasted with Sage and White wine, Treviso style

Another keeper from Essentials!


I am coming to appreciate the proper browning of the meat to develop the fond and the flavor it gives you in the resulting pan juices.

The pork ribs are first browned in a large skillet. Mine just fit—I almost had to take one out.



After they are nice and brown you add white wine, fresh sage and garlic. Then you simply let them “pan-roast” on top of the stove.


I had more juice left in the pan during cooking and never had to add any water. At the end, I did add water to make a gravy/sauce which was perfect with the ribs over polenta.


Now I really want to go to Treviso!

December 4, 2010

Spareribs with Tomatoes and Vegetables for Polenta

I shall start with my confession: Bless me, Marcella, for I have sinned.

There was that big word, TOMATOES, in the title of the recipe, and I love spare ribs, but as I have mentioned, I do not eat tomatoes. Ok, no changes or substitutions, or trading recipes; so I made half a rack exactly like the recipe, for Brad to eat, and the with the other half, I made yesterday's pan-roasted spareribs with white wine, Treviso Style, for myself. Since they both went well with polenta, I couldn't resist looking forward to dinner all day long! One rack of spare ribs, two recipes, and everyone was happy!

But let's get back to my recipe for today. Chopped onion is cooked in a little olive oil, and then the spareribs are added and browned. Next, carrots and celery are added to the pan. Finally, the tomatoes are added with salt and pepper, and the ribs are cooked slowly for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


A small amount of water may be needed. The meat is very tender, and comes right off the bone. The polenta is perfect for the rich tomato and vegetable sauce.


I DID eat one of Brad's ribs, and he ate one of mine. We were both happy with our separate meals. If I am honest, the ribs in the tomato sauce were even more tender, but I just couldn't resist the flavors of the white wine, garlic and sage. How nice to have such great choices! I would definitely make the Treviso style ribs again. The tomatoes...not so much. This is not as weird as the fact that I don't eat chocolate, I think.


December 5, 2010

Grilled Marinated Spareribs


Wow, this has to be one of my favorite recipes in the cookbook. I have tried a couple of different ways to make ribs in the past. Our favorite way to prepare them was to boil the ribs in water and vinegar to remove most of the fat and then grill them quickly and slather them in a sweet and smoky barbeque sauce. This left the ribs crunchy on the outside with just tender meat inside. The other way I have tried is to slow bake them in the oven for at least 3 hours at a low heat, covered with a dry rub. Both of these methods gave acceptable results, but by far this new recipe leaves them all in the dust.


This recipe is so simple it would be easy to underestimate it. The ribs are marinated in a mixture of olive oil, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic for an hour at room temperature. Then they are grilled or broiled for 25 minutes until they are brown on the outside and tender, juicy on the inside. I personally went with the broiler this time because it was cold enough to snow outside and I wasn’t brave enough to face frozen fingers. The broiler worked well and the ribs were delicious. The combination of flavors blended and over time became greater then each by themselves. I anticipated tasting the rosemary and garlic in the meat, but what came through was a combination that was not immediately discernable as these flavors. I am struggling for words to describe the flavor because I haven’t ever tasted anything like this before. It was just incredible. I will definitely be repeating this recipe when Zach comes home for the holiday break.


December 6, 2010

Pork Sausages with Red Cabbage

The recipe title says it all with this dish. The cabbage and sausages are cooked in seperate pans until nearly done. Then they are combined and cooked until the cabbage is soft. The mild pork sausage came from the special batch Deborah special ordered months ago. It is mildly seasoned with only salt and pepper. This was the first time I have eaten such a mildly flavored sausage. My brain must have thought my eyes were playing tricks. I'm so use to eating sausage seasoned with fennel or hot peppers that with every bite I kept thinking I forgot to add something. I'm glad there was a little garlic cooked with the cabbage for that extra layer of subtle flavor. Everyone cleaned their plate so all was well.


December 7, 2010

Pork Sausages with Smothered Onions and Tomatoes


I've come, finally, to another opportunity to dip into my supply of Marcella's special sweet pork sausage for an Essentials assignment. Dan kept following his nose into the kitchen until I finally suggested that he just to pour the wine and stay.

The simple instructions call for a large quantity of sliced onion, softened and then browned to a dark golden color. Chopped tomatoes are added. After some cozy time together in the pan, the onions and tomatoes were joined by the peppers and sausage.


I may be a bit dyslexic. I saw the word 'and' where Marcella clearly wrote the word 'or'. As a result I had peeled and sliced both a yellow and a red sweet bell pepper before I realized my mistake. So, I used them both. A bit more pepper than the recipe called for, but I love peppers.


The obvious way to serve this rustic dish is with the perfect comfort food. I sliced the sausage links and arranged them around a mold of polenta, then topped it all with the onion, tomato, and peppers.


We enjoyed our dinner with some equally rustic Vinho Tinto from Portugal's Douro region.

December 9, 2010

Pork Sausages with Red Wine and Porcini Mushrooms


Today's recipe is Pork Sausages with Red Wine and Porcini Mushrooms. I don't cook or eat sausages very often. While they might taste good, they are often very fatty, and just not worth the calories that they contain. If you're in the mood for sausages, and want to try a really good recipe, then try this one.

Both my husband and I love porcini mushrooms. On our trip to Italy this fall, we brought back a couple of bags of really nice, large, high-quality ones that I was anxious to use. They were perfect in this dish.

The recipe calls for mild pork sausage, containing no herbs or strong spices. You know, the kind that you just can't seem to find in America. I used a sausage that was made fresh from a local place that makes sausages, but they did contain spices. Quite a bit of paprika, unfortunately. But you make do with what you can...

You brown the sausages well in olive oil. Then you add some red wine, and cook until the wine is evaporated. You then add reconstituted porcini mushrooms, along with the liquid they were soaking in (which you've strained several times to get out the grit that's always there). After this is added, you slowly simmer until the liquid has evaporated. That's it! It couldn't be any easier. I served mine over mashed potatoes. What a very good, comforting meal this was. Thanks, Marcella, for another simple, but delicious recipe to try.

December 11, 2010

Pizza Rustica

The last of the pork recipes . . . sigh.

I have enjoyed this chapter. Yes, I have.


Last week we had a special event here - mom had a 'big' birthday. We flew my sister up for a surprise. It was quite a surprise . . . tears flowed . . . I, being excessive emotion adverse, hid upstairs until dry eyes returned.

Once it was safe to return downstairs, I got busy serving up mom's special birthday dinner. The first course was this pizza rustica - we invited Marcella to the feast in a way. Of course mom took me to task for calling this a pizza. 'It's NOT pizza!' she declared.

I explained that it was a traditional dish from Abruzzi and wondered who she was to challenge the Italians for how they chose to name their foods . . . indeed! The nerve of we North American's for thinking that we know more about Italian food than Italians themselves!

Pizza rustica isn't the easiest dish I've made from Essentials but it sure got placed quickly on my top 10 list (yes, the same top 10 list that must contain 20 items by now).

The pasta frolla (Italian sweet pastry) is made first and chilled. Once chilled, it is used to line a deep dish. The pastry shell is then filled with the most wonderful filling of eggs, cheese, and meat.

Marcella indicates that the dish is traditionally made with hard boiled eggs which she omits because she thinks it is rich enough without them. She also cuts back on the sugar in the pastry (mom's diabetes was thrilled with this). As well, the dish is traditionally made with cinnamon, a spice Marcella has an aversion to so it is left out of the recipe as well. (Really? Cinnamon? How could anyone NOT LOVE cinnamon? Now surely Marcella must understand Irene's aversion to eggs, Palma's aversion to tomatoes, beans, chocolate, and most things healthy, and my aversion to tripe, kidneys, brains, and the like - we all have our likes and dislikes - quirky things we humans).

Anyway. I see that I have lost my thread . . . as usual. Thanks goodness it wasn't 'Jerry and Gretel 'in the famous fairy tale for those children would never have found their way home with me trying to follow a defined path through the woods. LOL

Back on track.

The addition of cinnamon in the traditional recipe makes me think that this must be an ancient dish - certainly my food history has shown me how common it was in renaissance times to mix sweet, savoury, and spicy things all together in special dishes. Of course back then the spice was used to cover up food that was likely past its prime . . . today we get to enjoy the wonderful flavour combination. Thank goodness for refrigeration!

Once covered with the rest of the pastry , the pizza rustica is baked for 45 minutes until a deep brown.

I took it out of the oven to a chorus of ohhs and ahhs.


Notice the Canadian maple leaf on the top of this quintessential Italian dish? The cultures merge together over time, yes, they do.

Then I served up a piece as the first course - the ohhs and ahhs soon became muffled as everyone enjoyed this amazing dish!


We all declared it to be wonderful. I immediately hid the remaining rustica so that I and only I would be able to enjoy the leftovers at a later date. There are limits to my generosity and apparently my limit is half of a pizza rustica.

I sure was glad that I had invited Marcella and her skillful recipes to the table. It was a night of chatter, laughter, wine, memories, and wonderful Italian food . . . in fact, by the time we finished dessert we had been at the table for close to three hours. What could be more Italian than that?


On to the variety meats . . . hold on to your hats, gentle readers, for this is gonna get messy methinks!

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Pomodori e Vino in the Pork category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Polenta is the previous category.

Risotto is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
© 2010 - 2012 Slow Travel