Ciao'd while toasting the great Roger Federer. 18th Grand Slam win. At 35. Mic drop.
BRAISED PORK CHOPS WITH SAGE AND TOMATOES, MODENA STYLE
So why Modena? Renowned for balsamic vinegar, Modena also gave us (the lucky lot of us) fast cars (Ferrari) and luscious iterations of pork. Marcella Hazan remarked, "The Modenese touch with pork can't be beaten." She is spot on. I've had the good fortune to visit Modena and enjoy pork in many variations. Each time, the taste was a revelation. Marcella prefaced her recipe for Braised Pork Chops with Sage and Tomatoes by saying, "This recipe is one of the simplest and tastiest ways of doing pork chops I've ever found." Again, spot on.
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 pork loin chops, 1/2-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour, spread on a dish
6 to 8 fresh sage leaves
one 14.5-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
In a sauté pan just large enough to contain the pork chops without overlapping them, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess. When the butter foam begins to subside, add the pork chops and sage to the skillet. Brown the chops until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the tomatoes with their juice along with a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until the meat is tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
Tip the pan, and with a spoon remove all but about 1 tablespoon or so of the fat. Serve immediately. Recipe loosely adapted from Marcella Hazan, More Classic Italian Cooking, Knopf, 1978.