Thursday, Jul. 03, 2008

Fennel Pork Loin and Pasta Vegetarienne

Recipe by Tom Colicchio, Craft, New York City
As observed by Joel Stein
(He cooked this at my house, and I told him to name the dish but he refused, so he has only himself to blame.)

Serves: 4

• Pork loin, trimmed and deeply cared for
• 1 zucchini, diced, really fast, like you're showing off
• Most of an eggplant, diced the same way
• ½ an onion, sliced, which will make you cry even if you're a famous chef
• 1 thing of fennel, bulbs sliced, leaves chopped (Who knew you used the leaves?)
• 1 bunch basil, from your garden, chopped
• 1 head garlic, sitting around your house, sliced
• 1 small can of whole, peeled tomatoes
• ¾ pound of spaghetti

1. Marinate the pork loin in some olive oil, garlic, basil, fennel leaves, salt and pepper.
2. Boil some water. Throw in more salt than you thought possible.
3. Put a lot of olive oil in a pan. You're going to use a lot of olive oil today, so get used to it.
4. Throw the onion and sliced fennel into the pan in small batches over medium heat (I think it was medium), allowing the pan to heat up again after each one, so you get a nice sputter sound every time you throw more in. Don't worry — the stuff you threw in first won't overcook. It's like magic.
5. Pull that stuff out and put it in a bowl. Cook the zucchini and eggplant the same way — throwing in small batches and using even more oil, adding all the time. Add the tomatoes, and the onion/fennel mixture to the pan. And some basil.
6. Drop the pasta in the boiling water.
7. Put the pork loin and a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat (again, I wasn't really looking).
8. When the pasta is ready — which you won't need a timer for since you're Tom Colicchio and you'd mock a guy who even suggested a timer — take it out. Grate about an ounce of Parmesan cheese on top and pour some olive oil on top of it. Mix in the vegetables. You could add some chili flakes, but Tom forgot to ask me if I had any, which I did. Serve the pasta.
9. When the pork loin is done, which apparently you can tell just by pushing on it with your thumb, turn off the heat. Maybe 12 minutes. Who knows. Let the pan cool for a second so it's not so hot it will burn garlic that you're about to add. Pour the marinade on top of the pork, making sure to include all the little solid bits of garlic and herbs. Cook that for a few seconds. Slice, pour marinade over the top, add some more salt and pepper and serve to the delight of all.