Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dinner 1, 2, 3

So, we all have those go-to dinners that we make when there isn’t enough time in the day to put a ton of thought or pressure into the cooking.
This is one of those instances.

I’m presenting to you Pork and Lemon Orzotto from Giada De Laurentiis’ cookbook, “Everyday Pasta.”

I have so much love for this recipe. You can make the sauce ahead and it needs no heating up. So, there aren’t too many pots and pans to wash up when finished. Love that.

Lemon, basil and parsley are the stars of the vinaigrette. The flavors blend together fabulously, and the pork chops are a blank canvas so that the bright green and golden sauce is front and center.

I often like to use the thin-cut pork chops for this, but the recipe calls for a much thicker cut. If you use thin, or scallopine-style pork chops, just cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

The orzotto is really yummy. The dish uses orzo pasta, but it is cooked in the same way that risotto is prepared. I often make Rachael Ray’s Cheesy Orzo recipe to go with the pork chops instead, because it is less time consuming. In addition, the orzotto recipe makes a huge amount of pasta, and when cooking for two, it isn’t necessary. I am listing the orzotto recipe below, but click here if you would like the Cheesy Orzo recipe.

Pork and Lemon Orzotto
(4 to 6 servings)
From “Everyday Pasta”
By Giada De Laurentiis

3 ½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup finely chopped onion (about 1 onion)
1 pound orzo pasta
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Herb Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pork Chops
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 boneless pork loin chops, about 2 inches thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

For the orzotto, in a medium saucepan, bring the 3 ½ cups of broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the broth and keep hot over low heat.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the orzo and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the pasta, adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar or tight-sealing plastic container. Shake well and set aside.

For the pork, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, carefully place the pork chops in the skillet. Sear the pork until a golden crust begins to form, turning once, about 8 minutes per side. Remove the pork from the pan and cover loosely with foil to rest. Pour off the excess oil from the pan and return it to medium heat. Pour the ½ cup of chicken broth into the skillet and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat.

To finish the orzotto, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the broth from the pork skillet, the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter and the salt and the pepper.

Spoon the orzotto onto a serving platter (or onto individual plates.) slice each chop into ½-thick strips and arrange the meat on top of the orzotto. Drizzle with the herb vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Please note: The Jersey Girl likes to make this dish with scallopine thin-cut pork chops. The thin-cut chops needs to brown on each side for 3-4 minutes. She also likes to serve the chops and vinaigrette with Cheesy Orzo. For the recipe, click here.

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