Meals from the Pantry: Pork involtini stuffed with spinach and ricotta, sauce “alla cacciatora”

After our boisterous “Tour of Italy” dinner party where we bribed our friends with an authentic Tuscan meal if they sat through a picture slideshow of our Italy trip, I had plenty of pork scallopine left from the Scallopine alla Chianti (pork cutlets in a Chianti reduction with rosemary and juniper), and spinach ricotta filling from the fresh ravioli with butter and sage we cooked.

So on the drive home from work today, I had only one thing on the mind for tonight’s dinner: involtini!

Involtini are like a “roulade” if you’re familar with the term. They are thin slices of meat rolled with a mixture of cheese, egg (to bind), and really any combination of other ingredients you may want. It’s great especially if you’ve got leftover ingredients like I did.

Pork involtini stuffed with spinach and ricotta, sauce “alla cacciatora”

Ingredients
8 thinly pounded pork loin cutlets (1/5″ thick)
1 green pepper, julienned
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, whole or crushed
1/3 bottle of dry red wine
1 teaspoon crushed chile flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
Spinach ricotta filling (see below)

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Spinach Ricotta filling
1 pound fresh spinach, blanched and finely chopped (with water completely squeezed out) – substitute frozen chopped spinach
1 pint or 15 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup of finely grated parmigiano-reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add spinach, ricotta, egg, parmigiano, and a little salt and pepper. Combine all together well.

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Prep the Pork!
Lay out a piece of pork. Then dollop a couple tablespoons of filling to the middle and spread an even layer on the pork so that it’s easy to roll and filling doesn’t squeeze out. Try to leave a little uncovered pork on the other end. Then take the end nearest you and roll it up. Secure the roll with a toothpick so that it lays flat and doesn’t open up.

Roll up all the involtini and lightly season all around with salt and pepper.

Time to Cook!
Heat saute pan or skillet to medium-high, and add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the pan. When pan is hot, add the onions and peppers and saute for 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn, until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize. You should also see some nice brown bits on the bottom of your skillet as well.

Pour the red wine over the vegetables. Enjoy the sizzle! This will loosen the brown bits allowing you to scrape them all up. After deglazing, turn the heat down and simmer the wine and the vegetables until about 1/2 the liquid is cooked off.

When sauce is ready, crush the whole tomatoes into pulpy pieces and add them and the tomato puree into the sauce. I like to gently crush the tomatoes directly in the can (don’t be rough, you’ll be covered in juice!) and pour the whole thing in. Add capers, oregano, and chile flakes. Season with salt and some fresh black pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. Bring sauce back up to a simmer.

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Heat another skillet on medium-high heat and add enough extra virgin olive oil to generously coat it. When it’s hot, add the involtini and lightly brown them on all sides. You don’t want to cook the involtini through, just put a nice color on each one. Each should take only a couple minutes.

When they are ready, nestle each one in the pan with the sauce. Try to cover them with some veggies and sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce has thickened a bit and pork is cooked.

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Serve involtini with the yummy veggies and sauce on top. Don’t skimp! Generously sprinkle grated parmiggiano on top if desired.

Chow down!

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keibot

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10 2010

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