Braised Pork Braciole

This pork dish is relatively easy to prepare and is slow cooked in red wine and San Marzano tomatoes.

Four Double Cut Boneless Pork Loin Chops
Two Minced Garlic Cloves
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Red Onion
1/2 Cup Of Dry Red Wine (Select One That You Would Drink)
28 Ounces Of San Marzano Tomatoes Hand Crushed
1/4 Cup Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Four Tablespoons Of Olive Oil (Divided In Half)
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
Four Whole Fresh Basil Leaves
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
Two Whole Italian Parsley Stalks
Two Fresh Thyme Stalks
1/2 Teaspoon Of Dried Oregano
A Teaspoon Of Sea Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Of Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Butcher’s Twine

Combine the grated cheese, one minced garlic clove, two tablespoons of olive oil, the chopped basil, the chopped parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and a pinch of black pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Set aside.

With the palm of your hand firmly pressing a pork chop down on a cutting board, move your knife blade through the center of the meat slicing horizontally leaving the last 1/4 inch uncut. Open up the cutlet like a book. Cover the chop with plastic wrap. Pound the cutlet to about 1/4 inch thickness with a meat mallet or a heavy frying pan. Sprinkle the meat with sea salt and black pepper. Spread the cheese and herb mixture out evenly on top of each pork cutlet. Roll up each chop like a jelly roll and tie each one widthwise in two places with the butcher’s twine.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil on high heat in a heavy pot with a lid for two minutes. Brown the stuffed cutlets on all sides and remove the meat. Add a minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, the crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of black pepper, the oregano and the chopped red onion to the pot. Cook while stirring for one minute. Add the red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits that have accumulated. Add the tomatoes, the whole basil leaves, the whole parsley stalks, and the whole thyme stalks to the pot. Stir well. Reduce the heat to low. Add the meat back to the pot. Cover partially and simmer for 1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally. Remove the parsley stalks and the thyme stalks. Taste the sauce and add more sea salt and/or pepper, as needed.

When you are ready to serve, remove the pork and let it sit at room temperature for five minutes. Remove the butcher’s twine. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. The sauce can be put on pasta or rice.

Ricotta Gnocchi

15 Ounces Of Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (Drained In A Coffee Filter Overnight To Remove Excess Water)
Two Cups Of All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Two Eggs
1/4 Teaspoon Of Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Of Sea Salt
A Pinch Of Ground Black Pepper
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
A Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Fresh Basil

Spread the flour on a clean, dry work surface. Place the ricotta cheese on top of the flour. Add the eggs, the parmesan cheese, the nutmeg, the sea salt, the black pepper, the parsley and the basil. Dust your hands with flour and the use your hands to gather the ingredients together. Gently knead the dough into a 10 by 8-inch log. The dough should be elastic and a litttle sticky. Let the dough rest for at least ten minutes.

Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with all-purpose flour. Cut the log into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a one inch thick rope. Cut each rope into 3/4 inch wide gnocchi.

Store the gnocchi on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper in the refrigerator if you are going to cook the gnocchi that day. If not, place the baking sheet in the freezer. When the gnocchi is frozen, you can remove the gnocchi and place them in a plastic storage bag. Freeze until you are ready to cook. Place the frozen gnocchi directly into salted, boiling water and cook until the gnocchi float to the top.