In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eighty-ninth Post ~ Bruschetta Tortellini with Breaded Pork Medallions Sautéed in Roasted Tomato Oil

A confession from the Accidental Chef:  Tortellini and pork tenderloins are sort of my go-to meal in a time crunch.  I have it down to such a science, I can have it from raw ingredients to the table (er... TV tray) in 15 minutes.  In order to do so, you have to have a few things stocked and on-hand:

~ Breading mixture: In my freezer I keep a plastic container that originated from one of my first purchases of fresh grated parm from Wegman's cheese shop.  One day, running short of supplies (or craving more cheese, I can't remember which) I made up for a lack of cheese or breadcrumbs by mixing the two together.  It has become my "can't-live-without" thing in my kitchen.  I keep it in the freezer because I routinely toss pork or chicken around in it before sauteeing, so I figure freezing will keep it fresh.  The mixture consists of basically half Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and half grated parmesan.  Along the way, if I have a few extra bits of fresh herbs that are going to wilt soon, I'll toss those in, too.  So there's probably some thyme and oregano floating around in there.  As it starts looking empty, I dump some more parm and breadcrumbs and herbs in as I have them.

~ Pork tenderloins: I buy club packs of pork tenderloins from Wegmans and spend about 20 minutes opening them, slicing them into medallions, separating the pieces into appropriate servings, wrapping and freezing them.  It's a 20 minutes well-spent, because I can toss one of the packets onto the counter to thaw and have dinner set for the evening.

So now that you know my freezer basics, on with the show.

I got two pre-made things from Wegmans this week that I've been enjoying tremendously: Roasted tomatoes in oil and a container of bruschetta.  The tomatoes were used last night in a remix of my original Ratatouille recipe (this time I nixed the eggplant in favor of some baby bellas that needed to be eaten) but I saved the oil, infused with the sweet flavor of the roasted tomatoes and embellished by spices, herbs and garlic.  The bruschetta I munched on with baguette slices, but I had purchased it mainly with tortellini in mind.  So here's what I ended up doing for tonight's meal.

Here's what you'll need:
~ Pork tenderloins sliced into medallions
~ Italian breadcrumbs (optional parm and herbs mixed in)
~ Tortellini (I swear by Barilla's tortellini - tonight's was cheese and spinach)
~ Oil from roasted tomatoes
~ Coarse-ground sea salt

Now: here's the science.  Master these steps and this will be your easy-peasy go-to dinner, too!

In a small pot, start some salted water boiling.  Lid on.  It'll heat faster.  Open up your package of pork.  By now, your water is boiling, so add your tortellini and start the timer for 10 minutes.  Put a colander in your sink.  Put the oil in a stick-free pan and turn it on medium heat.  Open the plastic container of breadcrumb mixture and, with a fork, turn each medallion in the mixture, setting each into the simmering oil.

: : PAUSE : :

If your apartment's fire alarm is as finicky as mine, you may need to add the steps "Fling door open repeatedly to ventilate the fire alarm to stop its screeching" and "try coaxing puppy out from under sofa and finally give up" to your steps.

: : UNPAUSE : :

Stir the tortellini, and, as the pork medallions cook half-way up, turn them gently, being cautious of oil splatter.  Miraculously, as the tenderloins are nearing done, your timer will go off.  Pour the contents of the pasta pot into the colander.  Place the tenderloins on a plate.  Drain the remaining oil from the stick-free pan.

At this point, add whatever sauce you're going to use for the tortellini into the pan.  Tonight it was bruschetta. In past nights, it's been sundried tomato pesto, or regular basil pesto.  Sometimes, it's spaghetti sauce and velveeta.  Toss it around in the pan on medium heat for a little under a minute.  Top with some grated parm, if desired.  Which in my case, is nearly always.

Pop onto a plate and enjoy!  I paired tonight's dinner with an award-winning Pinot Grigio from Vetter Vineyards.  It was refreshing and crisp, echoing the flavors of the bruschetta nicely!

Yours in the love of good food and wine,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.