Pork Chops Italian Style
2 TSPS OLIVE OIL + 3 TBS MORE
½ -1 LB MUSHROOMS – sliced
6 PORK CHOPS – loin, ¾-inch thick
2-3 GARLIC CLOVES – or to taste
1 MEDIUM ONION – finely chopped
1 CAN (14.5 oz) TOMATOES – diced, undrained
FRESH BASIL LEAVES – torn, to taste
PINCH DRIED OREGANO – to taste
PINCH OF SALT and FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER – to taste
PINCH OF RED PEPPER FLAKES – to taste
1 YELLOW BELL PEPPER – SLICED
In a heavy-duty skillet, over medium heat, add the 2 tsps. of olive oil. When hot stir in the mushrooms and cook until just tender…you do not want to overcook or get crisp. Sprinkle lightly with salt, stir and move to a separate plate.
Add the remining olive oil to the pan. Add the pork chops (choose meaty chops with some fat for flavor that are all about the same size and weight) and brown the chops well on both sides and remove to the plate with the mushrooms.
To the oil in the pan, add the chopped garlic and the onion and cook stirring until the onion is slightly soft and slightly translucent but do not let the garlic burn. Stir often, sprinkled very lightly with a little salt, until done – about 5 or 6 minutes.
Slowly add the tomatoes, squeezing the tomatoes slightly with your hand as you pour into the pan. Stir, then add the torn basil leaves, oregano, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Return the pork chops to the skillet, cover, and simmer for about 35-45 minutes until the chops are done and are not pink in the middle. Check occasionally and if the pan is getting dry add some water or chicken stock or even some wine (which is what I do and always use a wine that you will enjoy drinking as you cook).
When the chops are almost done add the sliced yellow bell pepper on top of the chops, sprinkle the mushrooms around and continue to simmer until the pepper is soft. Taste for seasonings, adjust and serve.
NOTE: This is a meal all in itself nevertheless my family enjoys it served with mashed potatoes. However a side salad and some crusty Italian bread for dipping would be sufficient. Also, as you can probably figure out, I like to salt lightly as I cook and not just save all the seasoning for the end. I prefer to give the seasonings a chance to work themselves into the recipe.