Lately I have been finding fun ways to use fresh basil. A couple days ago I made some awesome mozerella stuffed meatballs in spaghetti with a generous handful of basil, and some bruschetta on the side. Yesterday I made Tomato Basil Hidden Veg soup for lunch. But so far these Walnut Basil Pesto Pork Chops are my favorite! I love pork. Yes I know its not that healthy. But bacon, pancetta, sausage, pork roasts, pork tenderloins, and well chops.... are so flavorful, and carry other flavors so well.
This recipe began with the idea of making a homemade pesto. Before this I had never ever made pesto before, but wasn't put off. It was exciting like an adventure. After all I never have made a nut meal out a nut dish, I didn't like. My smart alec brother would say something here like "its because you are a nut". So I went for it. Parmesan Cheese. Olive oil. Walnuts. Fresh Basil. Salt. Pepper. Lemon juice. All the ingredients whirling around in a food processor. It was a cinch to pull together. I thought pesto was hard. ummmm... no. You can totally do this too.
|cooked: look at that beautiful golden crust!|
1. 2 small handfuls Fresh basil (approx 3/4 cup)
2. 1/4 cup good Parmesan cheese (off the cheese isle)
3. 1/2 cup walnuts (whole or pieces whatever you have or can get on sale)
4. approx 1/2-1 cup olive oil, for drizzling in enough to make it look like a thick paste, I was just pouring - not really measuring this part
5. 1/2 tsp lemon juice,
6. 1/2 tsp salt
7. 1/4 tsp pepper
8. 3 pork boneless thick cut pieces (mine were an inch and half thick maybe)
(although this makes enough pesto to cover 5 pieces if you are cooking for a larger family)
9. Thermometer (you don't want to over cook your pork)
1. Mix the pesto up in a food processor until smooth
2. Top the pork pieces with the green thick spread
3. Let the pesto start to soak into the meat for at least half hr in the fridge.
4. Bake the pesto crusted pork chops in the oven for 45 minutes at 350. At the 45 minute mark check the temperature. I always cook mine until its past the pink just a tiny bit. My husband freaks out if there is pink at all. But pork goes from pink to a dried out piece of meat super fast. I aimed for a temp of 160 (which is normally medium).
5. Broil on high (for 2 minutes to get the top golden brown to give it color, texture, and a bit of crunch. If you do like your meat a bit more pink, once the temp inside is 150 degrees go ahead and broil since it will continoue cooking a bit even a few minutes after you pull it out of the oven. For safety you should make sure the meat is 160 degrees after broiling.
6. Let the meat rest a few minutes and so you don't burn your fingers
7. Serve and eat with the sides of your choice.
As with many things in life...
this incredible meal is worth waiting for. This is not a 30 minute meal. This is not a crock pot meal or make ahead although you certainly could make the pesto a day ahead. Enjoy and take a moment to savor life!
Have fun creating a great meal! From my kichen to yours.