If you love pork chops but never had them in tomato sauce, you are in for a treat. I use the thin pork loin chops and a variety of tomatoes such as canned San Marzano whole, strained and chopped tomatoes, and a jar of my favorite meatless sauce.
Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Easy-Medium
Allow 2.5 hours from start to finish – This recipe can easily be divided in half but why would you want to do that when the leftovers taste even better!
4 lbs. pork loin chops, thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil + more if needed
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 -26.46 oz. container strained tomatoes (Pomi brand)
1 – 26.46 oz. container chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand)
1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, whole, crushed by hand
1 jar of Mid’s meatless tomato sauce (32 oz) or any of your choice
Garlic powder to taste, optional
1.5 lb. spaghetti or any pasta shape of your choice
Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, grated or shaved
Flat-leave Italian parsley for garnish
1) Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large heavy- bottom pot, on medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Sear the pork chops about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove them. Add more oil if necessary. Do this in 2 batches. Set aside.
2) Add more oil to pot, saute’ the garlic. Add the tomato paste, stir until it’s nicely caramelized. Add all the tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Add the pork chops to the sauce, bring to a boil. Lower the flame, and simmer on low heat for about 1.5 -2 hours covered with lid-tilted. Stir occasionally to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The sauce will become very thick and rich in flavors. This dish tastes even better the next day.
3) While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
4) Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and pour some of the sauce over it. Mix well until every strand of pasta is covered with the sauce. Put it in a serving bowl. Arrange the pork chops on a platter. There will be plenty of sauce left for those who like extra sauce. Don’t forget the cheese and garnish with parsley. Your guests will be wowed by the richness of this dish, and will ask for seconds.
My wine pairing suggestions: I recommend a nice Chianti, Rosso or Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Of course, the choice is always yours.
Cook’s notes: 1) Use whatever brand of sauce you like. If you feel the sauce is too watery, uncover it toward the end to let it reduce.
Disclosure: I did not get monetary compensation for these products. Warning: There may be small bones in the sauce. Please let your guest or loved ones know.
Recipe developed by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover LLC
All rights reserved 2017
Here is another one of my mouth-watering pasta recipes to include in your weekly repertoire. It is a classic southern Italian dish from the Puglia region. Some people use Pecorino Romano cheese and hot Italian sausage. This my variation of an easy-to-follow recipe and super tasty. If you like spicy food, I recommend using the hot Italian sausage to add some kick to this dish. Let’s have some fun in Gina’s Kitchen.
Serves: 6 -8 Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
1 lb Orecchiette, pasta shape (little ears)
3 lbs. sweet Italian sausage with fennel, cut up in pieces
In a medium-sized pot, boil the sausages for about 15 minutes. Drain well. Add 1/4 cup olive oil in same pot, and sear them on each side until they obtain a nice golden brown color. You may have to this in 2 batches. Remove, cut each link in 2-3 pieces. Set aside.
In the meanwhile, in another pot, bring salted pasta water to boil, and cook according to package directions. 5 minutes prior to cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe and cook in same water. This will save you time and less cleaning. Drain well. Drizzle with a little oil to avoid clumping. Set aside.
In an extra large skillet, on medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, sautee the garlic, deglaze with chicken broth, cook for 1 minute, add the pasta with the broccoli rabe, sausages, season with salt & pepper, and finish with the cheese. Add more chicken broth if necessary. Lower the heat, stir well to incorporate all the ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil and serve at once.
Wine pairing suggestions: A chilled Gavi, Pinot Grigio, Verdicchio, or a Riesling if you are using the hot Italian sausage. Always cook with love and your food will love you back!
Recipe written by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for FoodiewineloverFoodiewinelover
My Food, Wine, & Travel Lifestyles
As you know by now, I love eating pasta. It is definitely my favorite starch and one of the most versatile food to prepare. For us South Floridian, it feels like summer already but for most of you, it’s still springtime. The flowers are blooming, and some veggies are in season. It’s Pasta Primavera time, a simple pasta dish made with fresh vegetables in a cream sauce. It’s easy and delicious. You can use any pasta shape of your choice, but today I am using a small farfalle. They’re commonly known as bow-tie, and the meaning stands for butterfly in Italian.
Serves: 6-8 as a main meal Level of difficulty: Easy – It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish depending how fast you prep your ingredients.
1) In a large frying pan, on medium-high heat, heat up olive oil. Sautee onions for 2-3 minutes, add the garlic, and sautee until you smell the beautiful aroma. Set aside.
2) Bring the pasta water to a boil. Add a handful of salt, and cook pasta according to package directions. About 5 minutes or so before the time is up, add the asparagus and cook in the same pot to save time. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup or so of pasta water.
3) Turn the burner back on with the onions and garlic on low, drop the pasta, season with Italian seasoning and black pepper. Add the tomatoes and asparagus. Slowly incorporate the ricotta, pasta water and basil. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Garnish with some veggies on top to make it enticing. Drizzle with olive oil. Voila! It’s that easy!
Wine pairing suggestions: Verdicchio , Gavi or a Sauvignon Blanc will work beautifully with this spring dish.
You can use a variety of vegetables such as zucchini, green or red bell peppers. The choice is endless. For a more flavorful version, roast the veggies in the oven, however, keep in mind, this recipe is meant to save you time. Put your own twist on it, and make it your signature dish.
A recipe is to be used as a barometer, if you are on a salt-restricted or low-fat diet, cut back on the salt and use a part-skim ricotta cheese.
Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,
Recipe by Foodiewinelover
Photo by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
This is one of the easiest and most delicious pasta dish you will come across. I assure you, even if you don’t like peas, you will enjoy them because they are bathing in the pancetta fat. I like to use a short pasta for this recipe. The last time I made this dish, I used a pasta shape called Fusilli that looks like a corkscrew. I sent my son shopping for me, and he told me he could not find the Fusilli but found Rotini instead. They are very similar in shape and look like corkscrews, except the Rotini is shorter. Recently, a Facebook friend posted this dish on his profile, and it looked delicious. I tried it for Christmas, and it was a big hit. I made it again In January for my family. Sadly, this was the last time my dad was able to eat (food) my pasta. I will not get into personal details but this recipe has a lot of emotions attached to it. I am hanging on to hope that someday, soon, he will be able to taste my pasta again. Let’s get cooking! Follow me in Gina’s Kitchen!
Level of difficulty: Easy – Serves: 4-6 as a main meal
3/4 lb. pancetta, sliced 1/2-inch thick, then chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more to drizzle
10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
15 oz. ricotta, whole milk
1 lb. Rotini or any short pasta or your choice
1/4 cup pasta water, (save after draining pasta)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese)
1) In a large stainless-steel skillet, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil, brown the pancetta, for about 10 minutes, (do not over cook, you don’t want them too crispy) add the peas, continue cooking while stirring for another 10 minutes or so, until you obtain a nice brown color like you see in the picture. At this point, turn the burner on the lowest setting.
2) Simultaneously, In a large pot, bring the pasta water to a boil. Add salt, and cook pasta according to package directions. I always cook mine al dente, meaning to the bite in Italian, (undercooked for 1-2 minutes) that is your choice, but I recommend it. Save some pasta water, and drain.
3) Add pasta to the pancetta and peas, slowly stir in the ricotta, the water, parmesan cheese, black pepper. Please note, the burner is still on the lowest setting to warm up the ricotta. Stir it just enough to incorporate all the ingredients and remove quickly. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately while it’s piping hot.
My family had a feast, and my biggest joy in life is seeing them relish my food. This is what fuels me to keep cooking. My life has been hectic, but I am hoping to find more time in the kitchen.
I hope you will try this recipe, and when you do, please share your thoughts with me.
Wine pairing: I recommend a medium to full-bodied red wine with enough acidity to cut though the fattiness of this savory dish. A Chianti, Rosso, Super Tuscan, (and the list goes on) will make a superb pairing. I am not a huge fan of white wine but occasionally, I do enjoy a crisp one with certain meals.
1) The use of butter is an option, and you can add it at the end with the ricotta. It will make the dish creamier and add richness but it is also added calories. If you are on a low-fat diet, you may want to avoid it altogether and stick to the olive oil. I did not use butter and surprisingly the taste was amazing.
2) Regular bacon can be used instead of pancetta.
This dish is inspired by Timothy Eric DeMarco
This is the ratio and method that I used in my version of the recipe.
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
There’s nothing like having a no-fail recipe in your repertoire, because you know you can always count on the result being the same. However, having been in the kitchen for so long, I like to challenge myself, play around, and experiment to change things up a little. This is a spin-off to a dish that I made called Scrumptious Seafood Pasta Dish. The method is very similar, but I added some roasted red bell peppers. The result was equally as delicious. Follow me in My Kitchen!
Degree of difficulty: Easy – Medium
You will need a brown paper bag
1.5 lb. sea scallops
1/2 jug of clam juice – About 5-6 ounces
1/2 cup of Chardonnay wine
2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, roasted/charred (the twist) rough chopped *
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup pasta water, if needed *
2-3 Tbsp. butter
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, (Parmesan cheese)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. Oregano
Few leaves of basil, chopped in a chiffonade style
1 lb. Linguine
1) Wash peppers, and broil them whole, on high for about 10-15 minutes depending how close they are to the burner. Turn them occasionally, using a mitten. Once they are charred all around, remove them from the oven. Place them in a brown paper bag and close it. Let it sit in there for about 15 minutes. This step will make it easier to remove the skin. It should peel off easily. If not, use a knife to remove the skin. Set aside.
2) On Medium-high heat, drizzle the olive oil on the bottom of a 6-quart pan. Sautee the garlic, as soon as it releases its aroma, drop the scallops and deglaze with the wine. This should take a couple of minutes.
3) Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, clam juice and season with salt, pepper, oregano. Slowly add the heavy cream and stir. Lower the heat and bring to a quick simmer. This does not take long as you do NOT want to overcook the scallops. They will become chewy. Remove from burner.
4) Simultaneously, bring water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions. I like to cook it al dente, (to the bite). Once pasta is cooked, drain it, and reserve 1/4 cup of the water. Drop pasta into the scallop sauce, and add pasta water if necessary. Put the pan back on the burner, swirl in the butter for some added richness, and give it a good stir. This is all done at very low heat to warm it up. Garnish with the basil at the end so they don’t wilt. Now, it’s time to plate. Sprinkle with cheese and voilà, the result is a lip smacking delicious pasta dish.
I hope you will try this delectable recipe that will have your loved ones begging for seconds. Have a fantastic new week!
Wine pairing suggestions: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. For a special occasion, pair this dish with a nice Viognier, and you will wow your guests.
1) You can grill, roast or broil the peppers. The broiler was the most convenient for me.
2) You probably won’t need the pasta water in this version. There should be plenty of sauce to coat the linguine. Use your judgment.
3) As you can see, I didn’t use all the seafood that I used in the original dish. You are more than welcome to use them, if you want.
There are literally a thousand ways to make pasta, and I love to create dishes using different pasta shapes. Sometimes, I plan ahead, but there are other times, I try to use whatever I have in the fridge and in the pantry. It’s a bit challenging but it can be fun. I also get inspired while I am shopping, and I see the different ingredients. I start visualizing how I can combine them together in a dish. Today’s recipe is a perfect example of that. I grabbed the ingredients at the grocery store and put them together very quickly. I fed my family, and everyone was smiling while savoring the pasta. Aglio e Olio in Italian means garlic and oil, and traditionally used with spaghetti. I developed this dish, and take full credit for the recipe and the method of cooking.
Serves: 6-8 Level of difficulty: Easy – Medium
Time: from start to finish 35 minutes (fast-paced) allow yourself 45 minutes in total. You will be juggling but you can do it, I promise you. You will have the oven and two burners going at one point. Just pay attention, and do not use your cell phone. (LOL)
1 – 16 oz pasta Gigi Flowers, (Flora’s Brand) *
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1/2 lb of pancetta, chopped *
1/3 cup of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
sea salt and pepper to taste (pepper is optional)
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 head of broccoli rabe, rough chopped
1/4 cup pasta water (reserve)
1/2 -3/4 Grana Padano cheese for grating *Preparation:
1) Place tomatoes on a tray, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree F. oven for 30 -35 minutes. Give them one good stir, at the half-way point.
2) In the meanwhile, bring the salted pasta water to a boil.
3) On another burner, in a very large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil, sautee the pancetta for 2 minutes, add the garlic. Once you smell the aroma, set this pan aside. (away from the burner)
4) The pasta should be in the boiling water by now. 5-7 minutes prior to pasta being done, drop the broccoli rabe in there to avoid using another pot. Check for doneness, and drain the pasta and broccoli rabe. Be sure to reserve some pasta water.
5) Place the large skillet with pancetta and garlic back on the burner on very low flame, drop the rest of the olive oil, the pasta, 1/4 cup pasta water, broccoli rabe, roasted tomatoes, grated cheese. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper. Season with more salt if necessary. Mix well, and serve at once.
1) Use any short pasta you have in your pantry
2) you can substitute pancetta with bacon
3) Use as much or as little cheese as you want. You can also use a different cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano, (parmesan)
4) Always cook pasta according to package directions, unless you like it al dente. In that case, deduct 2 minutes from the cooking time. The best way to know if the pasta is cooked to your liking is simply taste it.
As you can see from my notes, pasta is very versatile and can be prepared according to your taste. You can use any meats, pasta shapes or veggies of your choice, and stamp your name on it!
Wine suggestions: Any white wine of your choice. Make sure it’s nicely chilled but not overly so you can taste the aromas of the wine.
Recipe developed by Gina over at Foodiewinelover
Photos: By Gina for Foodiewinelover
Buon Appetito From My Kitchen to Yours!
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
It’s the holiday season, and Christmas is literally around the corner. I am hosting Christmas Day, and need to work on a menu, and finish my shopping. This time of the year is overwhelming for me, but there is a joyous feeling in the air, that goes with the madness of the season. I recently made a dish called: Braciole, pronounced brajole, or brashole, and is the plural for braciola. It is considered a thinly sliced of meat, stuffed with garlic, parsley, and salami or prosciutto. Most grocery stores have it pre-sliced, or you can have the butcher slice it for you. Some people use flank steak, but I always use top round. In Italy, this dish is called involtini, and the stuffing/filling can vary depending on the region. If you are still wondering what to make for Christmas, or your holiday dinner, this is the perfect and festive dish for you. It is a bit time-consuming, but the good news is, you can make it 1 or 2 days ahead of time. Please keep in mind, some people do not consume red meat, be sure to have chicken, fish and veggies grace your holiday table.
Serves: 9-12 for a seat-down dinner or 10-15 for buffet style dinner, served with other food. Level of difficulty: Medium-difficult Time from start to finish: 2.5 – 3 hours, depending how fast you do all your prepping.
Ingredients for the meat:
Olive oil for pan frying
3 lbs. top round steak, thinly sliced
1 – 6 oz jar of peeled garlic, chopped *
one large bunch of flat-leave parsley, chopped
1/3 lb. prosciutto, roughly chopped
Freshly ground pepper *
Butcher twine *
Preparation for the meat:
1) Place the meat on a butcher block, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the seasonings lightly, depending on your sodium diet, on both sides of meat. Keep in mind, the prosciutto is salty. I recommend you use less than more. You can always add more later, but if it’s over salted, the food will be ruined. It’s hard for me to give you measurements, since I use my fingers to sprinkle the seasonings.
2) Next, with the tip of your fingers, grab some garlic, parsley, and prosciutto, one at a time, and place at the end of the meat, as shown on the picture. Roll it, like a jelly roll, and repeat the same process. You will work an assembly line, and use the butcher twine later.
3) Once, your meats are rolled up, it’s time to tie them up with the butcher twine, by securing both ends. There may be some leftovers, garlic, parsley, and prosciutto. Save to use in the sauce.
4) In a large pot, on medium high heat, heat up olive oil, Sear the meat on both sides to obtain a nice brown color, about 5-7 minutes. Do this in batches, and set aside.
Ingredients for the sauce:
1-2 tbsp. olive oil, if necessary
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 container Pomi, chopped tomatoes
1 container Pomi, strained tomatoes
1 large jar of Mids, prepared tomato sauce, meatless*
1/4 cup of water, put in jar and shake it to get all the sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
pinch of sugar, optional
Preparation for the sauce:
Using the same pot, add more oil, if necessary, brown the tomato paste, add all the tomatoes, water, leftover fillings, salt & pepper, sugar, and put the meat in the sauce. Bring to a boil, simmer on low heat for about 2 hours, uncovered, until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally, to make sure the pot doesn’t burn on the bottom. If you feel the sauce is too thick, add very little water, and continue cooking.
Pasta1) 2 lbs. of Rigatoni, or any pasta shape of your choice.
2) While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil for pasta. Add salt, and cook as per package directions, or al dente, to the bite.
3) Drain pasta, drizzle with olive and some sauce to prevent clumping. Set aside. The sauce should be done, and the meat tender by this time.
4)Remove the braciole from the sauce, and use a pair of shears to cut the twines. (You will need some patience, while I was doing this, my guests were having their salad.) Arrange them in a nice rectangle platter. This presentation is ideal for a seat-down dinner party like I had. Serve with the pasta. However for a buffet-style, or for a holiday table, slice them, and arrange them on a beautiful platter. It is more decorative, and appealing.
1) Some people use toothpicks to secure the meat, but I prefer using the twine.
2) Freshly ground pepper goes so nicely with the meat.
3) If you don’t want to use garlic from the jar, go ahead and use fresh, just allow more time for peeling. Nothing wrong with fresh ingredients, I actually encourage it, whenever possible.
4) Some recipes add cheese to the filling, but, I prefer grated Parmigiano Reggiano, (parmesan cheese), on top of the pasta.
5) This recipe yields 9 meat rolls, but, some people shared one. There were leftovers, and, it was even better the next day.
6) For a small dinner gathering, I recommend you ask your guests if they consume meat or shellfish. Let’s not forget about gluten-free pasta for those who cannot have regular pasta. This may create extra work, but if you are having guests, it’s important to accommodate their diet, and ensure they enjoy their meal.
Wine pairing suggestions: My lovely aunt and cousin were visiting from abroad, I decided to go all out. I paired this delectable dish with a Barolo, the king of Italian wines. The pairing was magical, and everyone was pleased with my culinary creation. You can also pair this dish with a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon of your choice. You want a big wine to stand up to the meat.
Recipe by Gina for Foodiewinelover
Images by Gina for Foodiewinelover
Wine pairing suggestions by Gina for Foodiewinelover
This will probably be my last post before Christmas, therefore, I would like to wish all of you, a happy holiday season, and a Merry Christmas from my home to yours.
In closing, I would like to share this quote: “Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”
Gina, Foodiewinelover My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....