Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Claire's Pork Involtini with Roasted Fennel and Potatoes

Simple and delicious dinner party dish - serves 4


  • 800g piece pork tenderloin, cut in half
  • 200g pancetta, finely sliced
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 16 asparagus spears, blanched
  • 200g Gorgonzola, cut into baton-style strips
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Roasted Fennel and Potatoes:
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into eighths
  • 550g waxy potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
How to do it

To make pork involtini, butterfly the pork tenderloin pieces lengthways with a sharp knife on a wooden board, then flatten carefully with a meat tenderiser. Place pancetta on board and lay tenderloins on top, leaving pancetta showing around the sides. Brush tenderloins with the softened butter. Place asparagus and Gorgonzola on tenderloins, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Carefully roll tenderloins into a barrel, making sure the pancetta slices cover the outside of the tenderloins. Tie with kitchen string at 5cm intervals.

Preheated oven to 180C. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, then brown involtini for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove involtini from oven, cover with kitchen foil and rest for 5-7 minutes serving with roast artichokes and potatoes.

To make roast fennel and potatoes, preheat oven to 200C. Combine ingredients. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then transfer to a roasting dish and cook in oven for 30-40 minutes.

Vanessa's Very Easy Pesto Chicken

This really is the easiest recipe ever and great if you are having friends over for supper after work. I can get home and have supper served up and ready to go in half an hour. My mum uses it for dinner parties if she is short of time as very little prep time and only 20 minutes cooking time!

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 4 chicken breasts (preferably with skin on which can be removed later, it just means the meat stays moist)
  • 1 pot of red pesto
  • 1 small pot of crème fraiche (low fat one works best)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Basil leaves and black olives to garnish
  • 1 pan, preferably a largish frying pan with a lid (very important) but a casserole pot with a lid works too, as long as it can go on the hob
Brown the chicken breasts in bit of oil or butter, skin side first. You aren’t cooking the chicken, just browning it for colour. Set aside on a plate and wipe the pan with kitchen towel to get rid of any excess fat.

In a separate bowl, mix together the red pesto, creme fraiche and chopped tomatoes. No need to season.

Put the chicken breasts back in the pan, skin side up, and pour in the sauce mixture. Put the lid on and leave on the hob, on a gentle simmering heat (so you can just see little bubbles popping on the surface, but not fast rapid bubbles, as then it will boil into nothing!)

Leave like this for 20 minutes. If you are worried the chicken will stick to the pan, then have a check half way through cooking, but it really shouldn’t.

It really does take 20 minutes for the chicken to cook, as long as you leave it simmering and keep the lid on. Garnish with basil leaves and black olives and best served with new potatoes and green veg.