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Victor and I both get emails from Italian magazines and every now and again, a recipe comes through that actually sounds promising.

Once upon a time, my main focus in cooking was building layer-upon-layer of flavor and texture – more in the style of classic French, I guess. While I still enjoy that, the focus is becoming more and more a few good ingredients, and letting them speak for themselves – more in the style of rustic French or Italian. Simpler foods from a simpler time.

This recipe – from Italy magazine – is about as simple and basic as one can get, but the flavors really jump out at you. The sweet orange, the rich rosemary, and the salty capacola all play off the pork requiring no other ingredients other than a sprinkling of black pepper. It’s one of those genius recipes. I’m thinking I may make this again when I can get some good blood oranges. It may even be something fun to make when we’re in Sicily in May. The creative juices are flowing…

This particular dish was way more food than a family of three can eat in one sitting, so the rest became another simple meal with just a few ingredients.

Orange Pork Loin

  • 2 lb pork loin
  • 2 oz capicola or other thin-sliced dry-cred Italian meat
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp rosemary
  • 8 oz red wine

Slice one orange and juice the other.

Make deep incisions into the pork loin and place one slice of capicola, one slice of orange, and a couple of rosemary leaves in each cut. Use kitchen twine to tie up the pork and place in a braising pan with lid.

Add a cup of red wine, the juice of the orange, and sprinkle with black pepper. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 375° . Remove lid and cook another 10 minutes.

Serve the cooking liquid over the meat.

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It took about 10  minutes of prep and the rest of the time was unattended cooking in the oven – but it tasted like I had been cooking away all day. A definite keeper!

I cooked it in a 30-year old Le Creuset braiser. The beauty of Le Creuset is you buy it once – for life. Like our old Calphalon and inherited Corningware. All of it will outlive us and never go out of style – no matter what the shopkeepers want us to believe.

 

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