So it’s almost autumn. It’s almost time for changing leaves, crisp mornings, and hearty dinners. Well…maybe not in Phoenix. It’s pretty much never fall in Phoenix, but I refuse to let that stop me from burning my Macintosh apple candle, putting out fall decorations, and cooking those dinners that warm you from the inside out.
This dinner tastes like an autumn meal without having to run the stove all day. The early fall evenings aren’t quite cool enough yet and this meal gives you a “simmered all day” flavor without heating the house up too much. Served with roasted zucchini and homemade focaccia bread, it was just perfect for bringing a little early fall into the desert.
Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis, Giada’s Family Dinners
3 TBSP olive oil
4 (1-in. thick) bone-in pork loin center-cut chops (about 12 oz. each)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, in juice
2 tsp. herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
2 TBSP chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops to the skillet and cook until they are brown and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted horizontally into the pork registers 160 degrees F, about three minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep them warm.
2. Add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic to the same skillet and saute over medium heat until slightly tender, about four minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes with their juices, herbes de Provence, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend and the juices thicken slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and more red pepper flakes.
4. Return the pork chops and any accumulated juices from the plate to the skillet and turn the pork chops to coat with the sauce.
5. To serve, place one pork chop on each plate. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.