Stuffed Pork Tenderloin topped with Pancetta

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Pancetta

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin is one of the ultimate comfort foods. As a pork lover, this is tops in my book. The pork is delicious, the pancetta topping cooks up crisp, which adds a crunchy layer of texture, and it presents well too. It looks as though you worked so hard to make this roast, but in reality it is very easy.

As some of you know, this is the first post I have written in quite some time. My family and I were busy moving. We downsized from our home of almost 30 years to an apartment. We moved in just in time to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home, and it was truly wonderful. We spent the day together as a family, and my son and I prepared the entire meal together. This pork tenderloin was the highlight of the meal. We also made from scratch, taglietelle, and an apple tart to finish off the meal. Working with Andrew is always a pleasure. Well enough about us, let’s get to the recipe.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs – pork tenderloin (butterflied)
Salt
Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
4 oz. Baby Spinach
Olive Oil
Bread Stuffing (see below)

Ingredients for Stuffing:
1 1/2 cups italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 tbls. Olive oil
1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
3 tbls. water

Directions:
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well.  Add more water a little at a time until the mixture is moist, but not wet, and holds together when you squeeze it in your hand.

It should hold together in your hand

Set aside until you prepare the pork tenderloin. 

Let’s prepare the pork . . .

When you buy the tenderloin, ask the butcher to butterfly it for you.  Before you stuff it, use a mallet or small heavy bottomed pot to pound it out a little just to make an even thickness throughout.  

Pork Tenderloin

Sprinkle both sides of the pork with salt, black pepper, and the Herbes de Provence.  Spread the bread crumb stuffing over the pork, leaving a small border around the edges.  Drizzle a little olive oil if you think it needs it. 

pork tenderloin, bread crumb stuffing

Top off with spinach and sprinkle with a little salt (optional). Now it is time to roll it up into a log.

Start at one end with both hands and roll tight. Continue to roll being careful to keep all the stuffing inside by tucking it in on the sides as you go. 

Top off the tenderloin with thin slices of Pancetta, overlapping the slices as you go down the length of the roll.

Use butcher’s twine to tie the rolled tenderloin before roasting it.  There are several ways to tie the twine, but I find it difficult to explain in writing how to do it, so I have supplied this link to various Youtube videos that do just that.

Drizzle a little oil on the bottom of a roasting pan and place the roast in the pan.  Bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°.  All ovens are different, so I suggest you start checking the internal temperature at the 35 minute mark. If it needs more time don’t worry. As long as the internal temperature comes up to 145° it will be moist and delicious.

Let the roast rest about 4-5 minutes before slicing it, then serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.




Penne alla Vodka

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Penne alla vodka is a popular Italian-American dish.  The sauce is rich, creamy and delicious.  I like to use pancetta to give it a little extra flavor, but you can also use prosciutto.

Ingredients:

1 – medium onion diced
3 – cloves garlic smashed
4 – oz. pancetta finely chopped
1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 – tsp. pepperoncini (red pepper flake)
2 – tbls. butter
1/3 – cup vodka
1/4 – cup heavy cream
1 – lb. penne pasta
4 – fresh basil leaves
2 – tbls. fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

Put on a large pot of water to boil.   Dice the onion and peel the garlic.  Heat 2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the diced onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

Slice the pancetta in small, very thin pieces.  Push the onions and garlic to one side of the skillet and add the pancetta and cook it until it begins to brown.  Add the pepperoncini and cook one minute more.

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Pour the vodka into the skillet to deglaze the pan.  Use a spatula to loosen all the browned bits and stir until mixed well.  Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-quarter  Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, black pepper, basil and parsley.  Continue cooking about 10 minutes.

At this point the water should be boiling.  Add salt to the water and the pasta.  Cook until al dente (a little firm to the bite).  Continue cooking the sauce until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is ready, remove the garlic from the sauce and add the cream and butter, stir to mix into the sauce.

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Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and mix.  Top with parmigiana-reggiano cheese and fresh parsley.

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Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!




Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini, Pasta, Amatriciana, Pancetta

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a classic Roman dish. The sauce is hardy and pairs perfectly with the thick bucatini pasta.  This is one of my family’s favorite meals.  When we visited Rome this is one dish that we ate multiple times.  This recipe is also very popular with my niece, Jasmine.  She asks me to make this for her every time I visit her.

The sauce is simple to make, and uses only a few ingredients.  I am making the dish with pancetta (Italian bacon) instead of the traditional guanciale (pork cheek) because it is easier to find.  I think the taste is equally good.

Ingredients:

1 – lb. bucatini pasta
1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1 – medium – large onion
3 – cloves garlic
6 – oz. pancetta
1/2 – tsp. crushed red pepper flake (or to taste)
1/4 – tsp. salt
1/4 – tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 – cup pecorino romano cheese

Directions:

Cut the onion in half, then make thin half-moon slices.  Heat a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; add the onion and sauté until translucent.  In the meantime, dice the pancetta into small pieces and mince the garlic.  Once the onions are translucent, push them to one side of the skillet and add the pancetta.  Cook until lightly browned; add the garlic, crushed red pepper and cook about 1-2 minutes more.

Blend the whole peeled tomatoes in a blender, just for a couple of seconds.  Pour the tomatoes into the skillet and add salt and pepper and stir.  Be careful not to use too much salt because the pancetta is salty.  You can always add more later.  Once the tomatoes start to bubble, turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes.

Put on a large pot of water to boil.  Add salt and throw in the bucatini.  Cook as directed on the box, but check it about 2 minutes prior to the time the directions suggest. The pasta is best if it is cooked al dente (it should be a little firm to the bite).

Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large serving bowl.  Add the sauce and pecorino cheese and serve.

Enjoy!