Quick pork and mushroom pasta sauce

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I haven’t been working at home this week, and missed lunch on Thursday, so was starving by the time I got to the market at 5 to shop for dinner.  Most of the pasta sauces I make are the all-afternoon kind, long braises of meat, garlic, and tomatoes in wine.  But, inspired by a large package of marked down pre-sliced button mushrooms and one of organic basil, I grabbed a 1/2 pound package of thinly sliced side pork (and 5 kinds of ice cream – it really is a mistake to shop when you are hungry) and headed home.

I try to keep canned diced tomatoes in the pantry, as well as pasta in some form, garlic, and olive oil.  There wasn’t any red wine I was willing to open for cooking in the house (need to remedy this pronto), but I wanted to go for a hearty sauce with bright basil flavor, so a splash of wine could go missing.  In retrospect, I should have put the pasta water on to boil the minute I started cooking the sauce, so I wouldn’t be found at the stove later yelling “BOIL!” at the pot.

Put a deep dutch oven over medium heat.  When hot, glug in some olive oil, then add the sliced side pork.  Fry until nicely browned.  Peel and chop 2 cloves of garlic and put them in to saute with the pork once it has browned.  Dry thoroughly a pound of sliced white mushrooms (though crimini would also be lovely) and add to the pan to saute once the garlic has sizzled for a minute or two.  The mushrooms will give off a lot of moisture – let that reduce as much as possible, 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Add a can of diced tomatoes and the packing liquid – I also had some diced fresh tomato in the fridge that needed used up so that also went in the pot.  Stir in a tsp of salt and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes to reduce the tomato liquid and concentrate the flavor.  Coarsely chop or tear a large handful of basil leaves and add to the pot for the final 3 or 4 minutes of cooking.

You might find yourself reduced to threatening the pasta water at this point, if it’s not boiling away already, because the sauce smells so fantastic and is now ready to spoon over some farfalle or elbows or whatever shape you had in the pantry.  This made up 4 hearty servings.

If you can’t find side pork (I live by a super Asian market that stocks all sorts of pig parts), you could possibly substitute thinly sliced meat from country-style ribs with plenty of fat.

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One Response to “Quick pork and mushroom pasta sauce”

  1. boxofbirds Says:

    YUM

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