A tavola non si invecchia. – Italian proverb.
Translation: At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.
Drifting in and out of seemingly
endless hot days of the months of July/August we decided to revamp game night, but we quickly abandoned the “backgammon refresher ” to watch USA and China volleyball teams, oh well, maybe tomorrow we will jumpstart the game night with a reading of backgammon rules, ha or maybe not! Since we don’t eat out often as we are so often disappointed especially when a restaurant touts a worldly chef, but can’t manage a simple good roasted potato wedge! Sometimes I just laugh at expertise, I’m so easy to please, a simple potato cooked properly what a treat.
So I’m not eager to cook when 2 thermometers area reading way above the 95º mark and with great leftovers to work with sandwiches come to mind, specifically Italian pork sandwiches with broccolini and provolone cheese. Well, to be honest it all started with a good sub roll from Luigi’s and the rest just came together with a nice hunk of pork roast off the rotisserie sliced paper-thin and the remainder of the pan juices turned into a light seasoned gravy to dunk the pork slices into for grippingly good Sunday sandwiches.
I made the gravy with the bits and pieces of the roast, fresh oregano, sage, rosemary, garlic and sliced onions all sautéed for a few minutes and then deglazed with white wine (1/2 cup). Reduce the wine by half and add 2-3 cups of chicken stock or broth, lowest simmer covered for 35-45 minutes or more for a flavorful broth…somewhere along the way add about 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning for a more robust Italian herb flavor. When the gravy is done and trust me I bleed every bit of flavor out of the pork bits and strain them out for a nice smooth dipping sauce bath for the pork.
One important step for the broccolini can make a big difference, blanching for 2-3 minutes and cooling down in an ice water bath, don’t skip it as you risk a very bitter taste of broccolini without blanching. Sauté the thoroughly dried broccolini in a bit of olive oil, pinches of red pepper flakes and garlic. I suggest heating smashed garlic cloves in the EVOO just to flavor the oil, don’t burn and then sauté seasoned broccolini. Consider removing the garlic cloves to a small plate and later incorporate that garlic in a potato wedge seasoning.
For potatoes (1 huge potato), wash and cut unpeeled potato into wedges and soak in cold water while making the EVOO seasoning. Add the chopped reserved garlic to about 3 tablespoons EVOO, season as you wish with favorite herbs, but consider a sprinkle of good old-fashioned zesty Italian Good Seasons dry dressing mix. Drizzle potatoes with the seasoned oil, toss to coat and add about 1/2 cup microplaned parmesan/Romano cheese, roast potatoes at 375º 35-45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
Notes: Save a nice chunk of your own pork roast, wrapped and sealed in a food sealer bag, freeze and you have a good start for sandwiches. Many stores carry roasted pork and maybe you can even talk them out of the end pieces to make your gravy just be sure to have all but the end pieces sliced very thin…