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Video: Mario Batali's Italian pork chops & pasta

updated 5/17/2007 10:29:48 AM ET 2007-05-17T14:29:48

Looking to add a little Italian flavor to your menu? Mario Batali, Italian-American chef, restaurateur and television host shares a few recipes from the Puglia region of Italy that are sure to spruce up your summer meals:

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sweet Sausage and Broccoli (Puglia) (on this page) Recipe: Pork Chops with Peppers & Capers (Cotolette alla Zingara) (on this page)

With eleven restaurants, five cookbooks and a host of television shows, including the ever-popular Iron Chef America, Mario Batali is arguably one of the most recognized and respected chefs working in America today. Mario has authored five cookbooks including Simple Italian Food (Clarkson Potter 1998), Mario Batali Holiday Food (Clarkson Potter 2000), The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2002) and Molto Italiano– 327 Simple Classic Italian Recipes to Cook at Home (Ecco 2005).

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sweet Sausage and Broccoli (Puglia)

  • Dough
  • 4 cups semolina flour
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups tepid water
  • Condiment
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork sausage, crumbled
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 rib celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cup crushed tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 recipe eggless orechiette dough (see above)
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into 1-inch floret, nice stems sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Pecorino Toscano, for grating

Dough: Place the flour in a large in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix well.  Make a well in the center of the flour and add the water a little at a time, stirring well with your hands until  the dough comes together.  You may need more or less water, depending on the humidity of your kitchen.

Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead it like bread for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Roll the dough into long dowels about ¾ inch thick.  Cut into flat disks about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. Press the center of each disk with a thumb to form a saucer shape. Set aside under a dish towel until ready to cook.

Condiment: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat.  Place the sausage in the pan and cook until fat has been rendered, moving occasionally to avoid sticking.  You will have to dump the rendered fat once or twice to avoid deep-frying the meat in its own fat.  Remove the meat and set aside.  Remove the excess fat from the pan, reduce the heat to low, and add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Sweat the vegetables over low heat until tender, letting them get soft but not browned, for about 6 minutes.  Add the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you stir the wine in to dislodge browned bits of meat.  Add the tomatoes, bring the mixture to a boil and return the sausage to the pan.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, until the mixture is at ragu consistency.  Add more liquid if necessary to keep the meat moist. 

Prepare the pasta dough according to the recipe

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.

In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil until almost smoking.  Add the garlic, chili flakes and broccoli and toss over high heat until broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the ragu and toss over high heat for 2 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Drop the orechiette into the boiling water and cook until tender yet al dente, about 2 minutes.  Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the broccoli and ragu.  Toss over high heat one minute, divide evenly among 6 warm pasta bowls, grate Pecorino Toscano over each bowl and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Serves 6

Recipe: Pork Chops with Peppers & Capers (Cotolette alla Zingara)

  • 4 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 pork rib chops
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers- 1 each red, green, and yellow-cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 5 bulb onions, green tops reserved and sliced, bulbs cut into rings.
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon capers, with their brine
  • 1 cup dry white wine

1. In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of the water, the kosher salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Pour into a large pot, or other container and add the remaining 4 quarts cool water.  Stir to mix well, add the pork chops, cover, and refrigerate overnight (see page 376).

2. Drain the chops and pat dry with paper towels.  Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour.

3. In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking.  Add 3 chops to the pan and cook until dark golden brown on the first side, about 7 minutes. Turn over and cook until browned on the second side, about 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate and repeat with the other 3 chops.

4. Add the peppers, onions, olives, red pepper flakes, and capers and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the wine and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, place the pork chops in the pepper mixture, and simmer for 10 minutes (the pork should be cooked to 135F).

5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the reserved onion tops, and serve.

Serving Size

Serves 6


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