Stuffed pork tenderloin was always a big deal in my house. Growing up, it was something my dad would make and we would wait with bated breath while it came out of the oven, fingers crossed that it was tender and juicy and as delicious as it smelled. Unlike most families, it's my dear old dad in our house who does most of the cooking OR at the very least directs it, and, truth be told, he is pretty well trained to do so. He grew up in our families restaurant, long closed, The Casa Lido in downtown Trenton was the spot for quite awhile. It was grand and glorious in architecture and design. When my dad was old enough, he worked in the kitchen, under the watchful eye of my Grandmom Sistilia, which was a pretty watchful eye.
When I set out to make this tenderloin, I couldn't help but think, WWPPD, what would Pete Pontani do? I'm fairly confident that I nailed it. This was delicious, like fight your loved ones for another piece delicious. It's tender, has a gorgeous romano cheese zing mixed with savory prosciutto flavors that really just come together in a glorious union. Plus, it looks so gorgeous and fancy when you cut it that you get major presentation points. And I know I say this about every recipe, but this is easy, so don't have pork tenderloin-a-phobia and give this a go! I can't wait to make it for my pops.
This recipe feeds 2 - 4, depending on who you are dealing with. There used to be this Italian restaurant in Park Slope that closed down about 5 or 6 years ago, It was called Aunt Suzie's and they had annotations on their menu that I will never forget, "feeds 2 Italian's or 4 yuppies." That always made me laugh.
What Do I Need?
1 Lb Pork Tenderloin, butterflied and pounded out to about ¼”
2 T Rosemary (dried, though in the summer I will try it with fresh)
5 – 6 slices of Prosciutto
5 – 6 slices of Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved off of your cheese wheel in thin sheets
2 cloves of garlic minced
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Butterfly your pork tenderloin, be sure to keep it connected. Pound it out to about ¼” thick, salt and pepper it. Be careful to not over-salt as the prosciutto and romano will both throw some saltiness into the final flavor. Add 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, (I just smash it all up in my hands) then lay out your prosciutto slices across the entire tenderloin, you can overlap the edges a bit. Now add your cheese slices. I have a ½ pound of romano in the fridge and I just shaved off thin slices for this recipe. Don’t cheat your life by using grated cheese. Turn in one edge of tenderloin and roll your creation into a tight log, secure by wrapping well with cooking twine all along the tenderloin. Salt and pepper the exterior of the tenderloin and add 1 teaspoon of rosemary. Be sure to cover all sides of the tenderloin with your herbs and spices.
Let your tenderloin sit while we move on!
In an ovenproof saucepan, heat a healthy drizzle of olive oil and saute your two cloves of garlic, do not burn them! After a few minutes, when your garlic is golden brown, add your tenderloin and brown it on all sides, don’t be afraid to bend it to fit your pan, after you have browned your tenderloin, and before your garlic burns, add ¾ cup of white wine to the pan and bring to a simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, transfer to the oven
While your tenderloin is in the oven, mix ½ cup of chicken broth with a splash of wine and set aside, check on your roast in about 15 minutes, and if the liquid is evaporating, add a dash of your broth mixture. You want to keep the pan wet with about an 8th of an inch of liquid. So keep an eye on it and add as needed.
You will cook your tenderloin for about 25 – 35 minutes depending. Use a meat thermometer to be sure to get your's cooked just right, with a tenderloin you are looking for 140 degrees, which is some pink, but cooked! You do not want to overcook this!
When your pork is done, remove from the pan and set aside in a large dish, tent with foil.
Put your saucepan on the stove top over high heat, heat remaining sauce, be sure to scrape up all bits form the bottom, bring to a simmer and add ¼ of your chicken broth wine mixture. Simmer for a few minutes.
When you are ready to serve your tenderloin, cut off the baking string and carefully slice it in ½ inch pieces.
Now you can proceed in one of two ways….
Plate your slices and top off with a bit of sauce OR, what I love to do is take each slice and carefully place in the saucepan over md heat for about 30 seconds, dredging each side gently in the sauce, then plate and serve. This really gives me the liberty to not overcook in the oven and to ensure that each bite has some of that carmelized sweet sauce realness cooked right in!
I love this recipe and I hope you do too. I served it with steamed brussel sprouts with salt, pepper, oil and lemon and it was a great pairing. Spinach would go nicely here as well!
Take Note: You don't have to use pecorino romano, you can switch up your cheese and experiment with different flavors. Just stick with hard but delightful Italians and you'll be good to go, in both cheese and life. :)