Skip to content

Experiment: Penne with Pork and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Last week, I made Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Sauce for my Naan Pizza experiment and I still had a cup or so left over. I thought of a couple of potential uses for it but, as I am travelling tomorrow, I decided to use the whole remaining batch in a pasta sauce as I don’t think it well keep until my return.

I decided on thinly sliced pork as the meat component and, for a nice color balance, I settled on some baby spinach I had left over from a recent Steamed Beef Balls experiment. I also thought about maybe adding some sort of mushrooms for additional color and flavor but I eventually decided that anything else other than some nice Romano cheese might be overkill. On later reflection, as will be apparent in the verdict below, I maybe should have listened to my initial impulse….

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Penne (or up to 2 ½ cups)
  • 3 -4 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 – ½ cups Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
  • Heavy Cream (about 2 tbsp. or so)
  • 1 lb. (or so) of nice pork cutlet
  • A few tiny tomatoes
  • Romano Cheese (about 3 tbsp. grated to cook with and more for after)
  • Salt and Pepper (about ½ tsp. each, or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. butter (not shown)
  • Olive oil for cooking and marinating (not shown)

The recipe list, as you can see, is fairly simple. The spinach may look like a lot but it will reduce to very little after blanching and, in fact, if I had more I would actually use about the same amount again. I have been a little vague about the amounts of seasoning, butter and cream to be used, but a lot will depend on the saltiness and thickness of the red pepper sauce you start with. This is just something that needs to be played ‘by ear’, so to speak…

Preliminary Preparation

First, trim the meat of fat then, if you have thick cutlets like mine, slice them in half lengthwise. Pound out the halves until half as thick again and then cut into pieces about twice the size of a postage stamp. In the picture above, you can see a whole cutlet, one divided and left whole, and the remaining divided, with both halves pounded and one cut into pieces. When you have finished cutting them all, put the pieces into a bowl mix with a splash of olive oil and about half the salt and pepper.

Next, blanch the spinach in salted water for a few seconds and refresh in cold water. Squeeze out the leaves of as much water as possible and then slice them into shreds. As you can see, the process leaves very little actual vegetable. Use more if you like.

De-seed and de-pulp the tomatoes and slice the remaining flesh into strips. Set these aside with the spinach.

The Final Execution

Put a big pot of salted water on high and, when it comes to the boil, add your penne. Cook until it is al dente and then drain. Put the pasta in a large bowl with the spinach and tomato, the remaining salt and pepper, and two tablespoons of butter. Mix well and set aside.

Bring a large sauté pan to high and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the meat and stir-fry until it is cooked through and no pink remains.

 Add the roasted pepper sauce, the remaining butter and a tablespoon or two of cream, and stir until the sauce starts to thicken and a few oil droplets appear. Add the pasta mixture, several gratings of cheese, and stir until the pasta is well coated. Plate, and garnish with sprigs of parsley, if desired, and pass extra Romano cheese at the table.

 

The Verdict

Well, folks…  I promised in my intro to ‘Experiments and Recipes’ that I would be honest about my failures and this was one of them… It wasn’t that the dish tasted bad, or anything; the problem was, it really didn’t taste of much at all. It was bland, boring and totally lacking in any sort of ‘oomph’.

My dear wife, ever the diplomat, ventured to opine that it somehow reminded her vaguely of cat-food; although, how she is able to make that comparison I didn’t care to ask. I do note for the record, however, that she actually finished her helping while I barely picked at mine.

The culprit here was the roasted pepper sauce. It worked just fine on my Naan Pizza, and is lovely tasted alone, but as a pasta sauce it sadly came across as flat and lacking in any high-notes. The expensive Romano Cheese I grated into the sauce was too subtle to help here and this is one occasion where an ‘El Cheapo’ Parmesan of the cardboard canister variety might have been better. Some Feta Cheese, and maybe a few green olives, might have provided enough salty tang to save this effort from mediocrity, possibly, but I’m not even sure about that.

Back to the drawing board on this one, I think 😦

 

No comments yet

Comments, thoughts or suggestions most welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Meet & Eats

The food that I've had the pleasure of meeting and eating.

Uncle Grumpy's Playroom

Current events, humor, science, religion, satire

Food Travel Lover

走过的地方 尝过的美食 留下的回忆

The Odd Pantry

Essays on food

Reputable Sources

Organizing ferments since 2013

that Other Cooking Blog

. food . photo . sous vide .

REMCooks

My Virtual Cookbook to Share My Love and Joy of Food and Cooking One Recipe at a Time

lola rugula

my journey of cooking, gardening, preserving and more

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

Eye Of the Beholder

A pair of eternally curious eyes and a camera...Life is beautiful.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Living

Clayton's Kitchen

Big flavors and fun cooking from a cubbyhole kitchen

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design

DENTIST CHEF

Dentist chef, just a dentistry student who practice the dentist's cooking recipes in a dentist's kitchen

Mad Dog TV Dinners

Guess what's coming to dinner?

Chefsopinion

Real Food & Real Opinions

Bento Days

Making bentos for kids

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Bam's Kitchen

Healthy World Cuisine

Trang Quynh

everyone is special in their own way :)

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season

HolyPrettyApple

If people say that life is too short to drink bad wine, it means also that life is too short to eat crappy food!

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Unorthodox Epicure

Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob

The 好吃 Challenge

1 girl, 273 days, 100 recipes

Rabbitcancook

a recipe sharing and bento blog

benleeirene

Just another WordPress.com site

The Food Nazi

Never try to eat more than you can lift

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

Keeping Up With the Holsbys

a journey into my head and my pantry

Nurul's Culinary Adventures

I Love Food, the Universe and Everything!!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

home-cooking recipes, restaurant reviews, International cuisine ,

Naked Vegan Cooking

Body-positive Vegan Goodness

Bites of Food History

Sharing my Experimental Archaeology of Food

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine

FOODTRAIL

A Journey About Food, Recipes And Destinations

bcfoodieblogger

Fresh, exciting and adventurous food journey

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: