Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Parmesan Crusted Pork with Pasta Aglio e Olio

I made this incredibly tasty, surprisingly good for you dinner last week and I can't stop thinking about it.

We are bringing all good things together -- parmesan cheese, garlic, red pepper flakes. We are making a lightened up pasta dinner that won't leave you full of guilt and dazed in food comatose.

For this Parmesan Crusted Pork with Pasta Aglio e Olio recipe, I pounded out boneless pork tenders to about 1/2 inch thickness, breaded and baked them until crispy brown. A whole wheat pasta is the perfect vehicle to soak up a slightly spicy and totally garlicky olive oil sauce. That's what "Aglio e Olio" means after all--"with garlic and olive oil."

To bread the pork, I mixed together panko breadcrumbs with freshly grated parmesan cheese. The panko is so wonderfully crispy that I find it hard to sacrifice. Of course, if you prefer whole wheat breadcrumbs they would be a perfect substitute.

I don't think I can choose what my favorite part of this meal is -- the pork or the pasta. Together, they make a delicious weeknight meal that comes together in no time!

Even the fiance thought this was tasty and full of flavor. He even requested a shot of him enjoying the meal! Yum yum!

Here's what you need for Parmesan Crusted Pork with Pasta Aglio e Olio* (Print Recipe!)

For the pork
1 pound boneless pork tenderloins, sliced in half and pounded out 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/2 freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta
1 pound whole wheat pasta, any kind will do - I used penne
1/3 cup good olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli florets
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

For the pork
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a metal cooling rack on a baking sheet and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Place the flour in a flat bowl, beat the egg in another bowl, and combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and salt and pepper in a third bowl.

Dredge the pork in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip it in the egg and allow the excess to drip off, then coat it evenly on both sides with the breadcrumbs. Place the cutlets on the baking sheet so that they are not overlapping and spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

For the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt and cook the pasta until very al dente, about 7 minutes or 1 minute shorter than package instructions. Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

In a large skillet big enough to hold the pasta, warm the olive oil over very low heat. Add the garlic slices and allow the garlic to get infused in the oil. Cook until just golden brown on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes--don't burn it!

Add the red pepper flakes to the oil, then add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes then add about 1/3 of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a light boil then toss in the pasta until completed coated in the garlicky oil. Lower the heat then stir in almost all of the parmesan cheese, reserving a little bit for serving. Add a little more pasta water if there isn't enough liquid. Serve with the pork once warmed through.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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