An addictive and tasty pasta dish with pork, mushrooms, and eggplant
Tenderloin is perhaps one of the most popular cuts of pork, next to chops and bacon. Tenderloin is often praised because it’s one of the leanest cuts of pork available, but I would say that most pork tenderloin – at least as sold in supermarkets today – is cut and sold too lean. It’s very easy to overcook and have it come out too dry and flavorless unless you marinade it for a long time, flash cook it in a wok, or stuff it before roasting.
Another tasty way I’ve found you can use pork tenderloin, if you don’t have time for a long marinade or a slow roast, is to quickly cook it in a creamy tomato sauce. The tomatoes give the pork moisture and flavor, and with the addition of peppers, mushrooms and eggplant the dish has a hearty flavor and gets you more of your daily veggies!
This recipe is easy and doesn’t take much effort at all to prepare; in fact you should be able to have a filling dinner on the table in an hour’s time! The leftovers taste good the next day, too – hot or cold. So if you’re looking for a great pork dish that your family is sure to love, try this Pork Tenderloin Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce. I really think you’ll enjoy it!
The secret to this recipe is the last minute addition of the sour cream – it really adds a tangy, creamy note that ties the entire dish together in a surprisingly delicious way. This sauce is so good, the pasta tastes great the next day even without re-heating. It’s just an addictive taste that you’ll find hard to stop eating.
Note that you should use your best judgement when adding olive oil to the pan initially. I am fortunate that I get pork tenderloin, and other pork products, directly butchered from our family farm and ask for a fat cap to be left on the meat. Fat from naturally raised, pastured pork is actually quite healthy for you, but if you are working with supermarket pork tenderloin it may be more lean/lacking in fat so you’ll likely need to add more oil to the pan to keep it from burning and drying out.
You could also make this recipe with chicken breast if you prefer it to pork!
Pork Tenderloin Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
Serves: 4 to 5
Preparation time: 50 minutes
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant (preferably the round, Sicilian variety if possible)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Italian long hot pepper
- 1 cup crimini or portobello mushrooms
- 1 28 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 cups uncooked pasta shapes (mezzi rigatoni, farfalle, …)
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley
- Kosher salt
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Prepare the eggplant by cutting into 1″ cubes and placing in a colander over a plate. Coat the eggplant generously with kosher salt and allow to “sweat” off moisture while preparing the other ingredients.
2. Cut the pork tenderloin into 1″ cubes and season with sea salt and pepper. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. De-seed the long hot pepper and mince. Slice the mushrooms into medium-thick slices. Hand tear the basil into small pieces and coarsely chop the oregano.
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet (cast iron preferable). Add the pork tenderloin, onion and garlic and cook until the pork is just slightly browned on all sides, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the long hot pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. Rinse the salt off the eggplant and squeeze lightly to remove excess moisture. Add mushrooms and eggplant to the skillet and cook until the vegetables are browned, another 5 minutes.
5. Add the plum tomatoes (and their juices), tomato paste and sugar to the skillet. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the noodles and cook until just al dente (minimum cooking time listed on package). Test and drain when done. Add pasta noodles and the parsley to the pork and tomato mixture and stir to combine.
7. Add the sour cream to the tomato sauce and combine thoroughly. Cook over low heat until just warmed through entirely. Taste and adjust seasonings
8. Serve in pasta bowls with a side salad and crusty bread. Enjoy!