- 8 thin boneless pork loin chops (about 2 lbs. total), trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- About 1 1/2 cups flour
- 4 large eggs
- About 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 cup panko
- 1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp. fennel pollen or ground fennel
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for shallow frying
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Italian red wine, such as Chianti
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried oregano, lightly crushed
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup instant polenta
- A few grates of nutmeg
1. Place the pork between sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound to 1/8 inch thick [1, above]; season with salt and pepper. Set up a breading station: Place the flour in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs with a splash of water. In a third shallow dish, mix 1 cup grated cheese, the panko, breadcrumbs and fennel pollen; season.
2. In a medium pot or small Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high; add 1 tbsp. butter and let it melt into the oil.
3. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring often, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Mix in the tomato paste. Stir in the wine, then 1 cup stock. Add the tomatoes and herbs; season with salt. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, 12 to 15 minutes.
4. In a large skillet (12 to 14 inches) placed over a large burner, heat about 1/4 inch oil over medium to medium-high. Working in batches, coat the cutlets in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs [2, above], pressing to adhere. Fry until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Place on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet [3, above]; cover with foil to keep warm.
5. In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups stock and the milk to a low boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking often, until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the nutmeg; season. Stir in the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and the remaining 1/2 cup Parm.
6. Spoon a puddle of polenta on one side of each plate; shingle 2 cutlets onto the plates with the bottom cutlet on top of the polenta. Top the pork with a few spoonfuls of marinara.
Note: You’ll have some extra marinara with this recipe. Stick it in the freezer so you’ll have a stash of sauce when you need it.