Today’s pork parmigiana spaghetti lunch which left Speedy drooling was inspired by a pasta dish we enjoyed at Cafe Lidia. Yes, I go to restaurants to pick up new ideas. I order what I fancy, then, when I get home, I deconstruct the dish to make my home cooked version. Better than cookbooks and TV, I tell you, because you actually get to taste the food and experience the textures and aroma.
“Parmigiana” denotes an array of Italian dishes cooked or served with Parmesan cheese. The most well-known is veal parmigiana but you can use chicken, meatballs or even hash browns. Pork is used in this recipe.
Pork Parmigiana Spaghetti
- 125 grams spaghetti cooked al dente then tossed with 2 tbsps. of butter
- 1 recipe tomato sauce (try to use the reddest and plumpest tomatoes)
- 1 small bunch sweet basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 3 pork steaks (or chops), about 3/4 inch thick, seasoned with salt and pepper and lightly floured
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- lots shaved parmesan cheese
- basil chiffonade for garnish
- Make the tomato sauce.
- While the tomato sauce simmers, prepare the pork. In another pan, heat the olive oil and lightly brown the pork steaks on both sides. Is browning a necessary step? Unless you want the pork steaks to have the texture of boiled meat, then, yes. Browning will create a light crust all over the surface of the pork steaks to give them better texture and flavor. So, don't skip the browning part.
- Transfer the half-cooked pork into the pan with the tomato sauce. Cook over medium-low heat, uncovered (if you put on the lid, the steam will make the pork lose its pan-fried texture) and without flipping, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick and chunky.
- If the sauce dries up before the pork is done (likely to happen if the tomatoes weren’t plump and juicy in the first place), add broth, little by little.
- If, on the other hand, the sauce is still too thin by the time the pork is done, turn up the heat and cook, uncovered, for about five minutes or until the sauce turns thick and chunky.
- Divide the parmesan cheese equally among the pork steaks. Cover the pan, lower the heat and let the steam melt the cheese. It should take just a few minutes.
- Using a wide spatula, transfer the pork steaks to a plate.
- Into the thick and chunky sauce, add the cooked spaghetti. Toss well.
- In individual pasta bowls, make a bed of spaghetti. If bits of tomatoes are left in the pan, scrape them and divide among the bowls.
- Top the spaghetti with the pork steaks.
- Sprinkle the pork parmigiana spaghetti with basil chiffonade and serve.