I have a saucy crew. Serving a meal without a sauce, salsa, relish, chutney, drizzle, vinaigrette… you get the idea – is just not done in my house. Many of you may already know the story about my saucy crew, especially if you attended my culinary classes. I love telling this story. 🙂
Years ago, I would arrive home from every culinary class motivated to master every challenge and every technique my instructors gave me. So I practiced. Every night. Most everything I chose to practice came with some sort of a sauce. It was a French cooking school after all and much of the cuisine was French inspired… and saucy.
However, one day I prepared a Chicken Milanese – which you might notice is not posted anywhere on my website. I should post one; now that I think about it. I served that Milanese in the traditional style and with just a squeeze of lemon. No sauce.
Oh the horror. My darling family asked “where’s the sauce?” I replied “there isn’t a sauce, it’s a Milanese.” To which my darling husband said “but we always have a sauce.” Huh.
So back into the kitchen I went to make a sauce. It ended up being a delicious idea. I whipped up a light and quick tomato sauce that paired perfectly with the chicken Milanese, making it taste a bit like a chicken parmesan sans the mozzarella.
Today, the tradition continues. A sauce or something “sauce like” is paired with most our family meals. Which is why this lovely Tuscan Stuffed Pork Tenderloin is lounging on a platter of homemade tomato sauce. Originally I paired this tenderloin recipe with a white wine sauce, however, on occasion I switch to this lovely and light tomato sauce. A nice transition into spring and summer dining.
If you’re short on time, and you don’t have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, don’t worry about making your own sauce. Your favorite good-quality jarred tomato sauce will do. I typically make pots and pots of sauce (and stock) and keep it in my freezer for these occasions, but a jarred sauce is perfect when you’re preparing this on a busy weeknight.
Wishing you all a most delicious and Happy Easter!
Loads of Love,
Tuscan Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
1 ½ – 2 lbs Pork Tenderloin
¼ cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage or oregano
3 cloves garlic minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne (optional)
½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Quick Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
Garnish with chopped Italian parsley and grated parmesan
Serve with Gnocchi, pasta or creamy polenta and an Arugula and White Bean Salad
In a small bowl, mix together the rosemary, parsley, oregano or sage and garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and if you like a little spice add just a pinch of either cayenne or red pepper flakes.
Place both tenderloins (most tenderloins come in pairs) on a cutting board and slice the tenderloins lengthwise about ¾ of the way through. Fill the tenderloins with equal amounts of the herb and garlic mixture. Next, sprinkle with salt and pepper and tie up the pork with kitchen twine, in about three different places to secure the herbs.
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Heat a large oven proof skillet on medium high heat and add a few drizzles of olive oil. When the skillet is hot, but not smoking, brown the tenderloins on all sides. Next add the white wine or chicken broth to the skillet and let it deglaze the pan a bit.
Place the skillet in the oven and let the tenderloins roast for about 20-25 minutes or until done, or until an instant read thermometer reaches 140F degrees. Once your pork is out of the oven, let it rest for at least 5 minutes to achieve optimum flavor and final cooking temperature of 145F.
While your tenderloins are roasting prepare the tomato sauce. Or, if you’re using homemade or jarred sauce, heat about 2 cups of sauce for the pork.
Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board, remove the twine and slice at a slight diagonal about 8-10 slices per tenderloin. Ladle the tomato sauce on the bottom of a platter and then place the tenderloin medallions on the sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley and grated parmesan.
Quick Tomato Sauce
Makes about 2-3 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 anchovies (keep the leftovers in the frig for soups, stews, salads and sauces, or to add to an antipasti platter)
1 small red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 handful Italian parsley, chopped (sometimes during the summer I also add in extra fresh Italian herbs I have from my garden. Basil, oregano, marjoram)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 18-28 ounce jar tomato sauce (about 2-3 cups) ( I like using glass jarred tomato sauce, but if using a tin can find one that is BPA free or enamel lined)
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat add a few tablespoons of olive oil and then add in the anchovy. Let the oil and anchovy heat. As the oil gets hot stir the anchovy a bit, the anchovy will begin to break up and blend with the oil. When this happens, stir in the diced onion and sauté the onion until wilted. Next stir in the garlic, parsley and pinch of red pepper flakes and let it cook for about one minute.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce. I take the pan off the heat so the tomato sauce won’t splatter everywhere. Mix to combine ingredients and then place the skillet back over the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Let the sauce cook for about 10-20 minutes. The longer it cooks the more flavorful it will be.
Season the sauce with a little squeeze of lemon and then salt and pepper to taste. The leftover sauce can be frozen for another use.