Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sunday Dinner in Italy- with a minimalist kitchen!

Our cuchina (kitchen) is a tiny galley space with very little equipment in it.  The place we are staying is a B&B with a shared kitchen so there is stuff to make coffee, tea, toast, etc. and there are plenty of beer and wineglasses.
We have purchased some additional items like sharp knives, good corkscrew, veggie steamer and grater but it still is very much a minimalist kitchen.
Inspired by all the "one pan dinner" recipes on Facebook, I decided I would try my hand at making one with fresh Italian ingredients.  Here is the result, and the recipe to go with it.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin Medallions, Roasted Mushrooms and Fennel, Brown Butter with Sage Pasta and Tomato & Basil salad.

Use 1/2 tbs fennel seed, toasted in a dry frying pan until just browned and fragrant.  Be careful not to burn them.  Grate or finely mince 2 cloves of garlic.  Place the fennel seed, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 C olive oil in a small bowl.

I used about 3/4 lb Pork tenderloin cut into 3/4" medallions. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a large plastic bag with the fennel seed mixture.  Using the outside of the bag knead the meat until the spices adhere and the olive oil is absorbed.  This can be done ahead of time or just before cooking.  I added a fresh sprig of rosemary.

I used a disposable foil baking pan (because it what I had!) with olive oil spread liberally on the bottom.
Then I cleaned and trimmed fresh button mushrooms cut to approximate size and sliced a small fresh fennel bulb.  Toss these with more olive oil, salt and pepper.  The fennel bulb is all the spice you need.

Put the veg on one side of the pan and the meat on the other.  I added a float of red wine to the bottom to keep the pork moist at high temperature.  We have a convection oven so I preheated it to 450 and put everything in at the same time.  Cook 15 min or until the veggies are browned and the meat is at 140 using a meat thermometer.  It will continue to cook after you take it out so don't leave it in too long.  You can also grill this or saute it in separate pans if you want to brown the meat.

While the meat is cooking, halve cherry or grape tomatoes, tear a liberal amount of fresh basil and combine with salt and pepper to taste.  Dress with Balsamic vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Set aside.

Boil the water for the pasta as you make the salad.  Cook 100 grams of pasta per person.  I prefer to use pasta that will hold onto the sauce like Rotini or Farfalle.  Heat a frying pan with a good size blob of butter.  At least 1 tbs.  Bring the butter to brown swirling it to keep it from sticking or burning.  Add fresh sage leaves or dry sage.  The sage will quickly absorb the butter, pull the pan before the fresh sage turns brown.  Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the frying pan with the brown butter, stirring to coat.

Pull the meat from the oven, plate the meat, veggies and pasta and serve with an Italian red wine.  I suggest a nice Ripasso.  Buon Appetito!!!

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