Red Sauce Fridays #4: Pork chops with tomato, mushroom, and cream

As good as it is ugly

As good as it is ugly

Marcella Hazan was a genius, y’all. If the world made sense, she would be about 5 times more famous than Julia Child, especially in this Italy-obsessed country. If you don’t have this cookbook yet, get a copy as soon as you can. In any case, this recipe is so delicious, it’s almost unfair to all your other pork chop recipes. And yet, it’s the *sauce* that makes it so insane—I could happily dispose of the chops and just eat the sauce with a big old spoon. But in the interest of nutritional balance, I refrain.

In a very adapted summary, pour hot water over about 4 to 6 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms to soak (my market didn’t have any last week, and dried oyster mushrooms worked great; I think the key is that you need *some* dried mushroom flavor in there). Brown some salted and peppered pork chops in hot oil in a large wide skillet, then remove. Now the golden ratio she uses is 1 to 1 to 1, of wine, tomato puree or cut up canned tomatoes, and cream. So you can do the amount she recommends (1/2 cup each) or you can increase it slightly if you have a lot of chops to cook. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, then add the chops back in, the tomatoes, and the cream, and let it simmer, partially covered, until the pork is really tender (if you stab it with a paring knife, the knife will come back out easily). When the mushrooms are softened, add them to the pan to simmer with the chops. Strain the mushroom liquid and reduce it by a third or half, then add that to the pan too. The recipe has you sauté additional fresh mushrooms and add those in too, but I skipped them this week and I didn’t miss them, because, honestly: the sauce. You’ll want to serve this over buttered orzo, but let’s be frank: you will still need some crusty bread on the side, because how else will you scoop up all those last streaks of heaven on your plate?

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