Sometimes creativity is born from necessity? This was the case last night when it came time to prepare dinner. I was home by 6 pm and had defrosted pork tenderloin, knowing this would cook quickly and, dinner wouldn’t be on the table at an hour when hunger pangs were replaced by foul moods.
As I walked up the steps to the back door I remarked on how, all of a sudden my oregano and parsley had come back to life from last year and was now sporting bunches of tender, luscious leaves! That quickly gave me an idea. I was not about to run to the market for anything and I crossed my fingers in hopes of finding something to go with this?
I had half a somewhat sad-looking onion wrapped in foil and a few straggly looking cloves of garlic; it would have to do. I had no celery, carrots, actually no vegetables of any kind. I did have a big can of tomatoes and that would pull everything together? My husband offered to run out for a decent onion and maybe some celery, but, I had made up my mind to survive with what I had!
Well, hate to sing my praises but, dinner was excellent. I give all the credit to the oregano and tomatoes. As I have said over and over again; where would my cooking be without fresh herbs? They truly save me every time. If you have only 1 square foot of dirt I suggest you jump in your car or on your bike and buy some herbs to plant for the summer. I have some regrets in life, but planting herbs is not one of them !
You will need: 2 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb each), 2 tbs olive oil, 1 onion, diced, 4 cloves garlic, sliced, 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh oregano, 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, 28 oz can peeled whole plum tomatoes, thickly sliced, (I used San Marzano), 1 doz baby red potatoes (optional), 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tbs cold unsalted butter (only if you are cooking pasta), coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning, 1 lb penne (no need for pasta if using potatoes in this dish. I cooked both just to have more choices).
Preheat oven 375*
1 – Season pork well with coarse salt and pepper. In big saute pan on high heat add the olive oil and let it get hot. Sear the tenderloin until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and turn down heat.
2 – Add the onion, garlic and the optional potatoes and saute for 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 – Add wine and let it come to a boil. Cook until it is reduced by half and then add the chopped tomatoes and their juices (as well as the thick juice from the can). Add the herbs. Give a stir and let the liquid come to a simmer. Turn off pan and add the tenderloin. Cover with lid or foil and place in oven for 40 minutes.
4 – Remove from oven and let everything rest for 5 minutes. Remove meat to a chopping board and slice into thick pieces. Place pan on stove top on low heat and add cream to tomatoes and stir in.
5 – If serving with the potatoes only: lay some sliced tenderloin on a plate and spoon potatoes and sauce alongside. Garnish with another sprinkle of parsley.
6 – If serving with penne only: do everything through step 4. Put pasta water on 20 minutes before meat is done and cook according to instructions. Before draining scoop out a half cup of pasta water and reserve. Add pasta, cold butter and meat to sauce and loosen with a little reserved pasta water if necessary. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, (and maybe some Parmigiano Reggiano?)