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Pork Chops with Orange and Marsala (Costolette di Maiale all’Arancia)

Marsala, traditionally produced in the western Sicilian provinces of Trapani, Palermo and Agrigento, is generally thought of as a fine dessert wine, but it is also excellent for cooking. A blended wine with a rich amber color, it comes in three basic styles—dry, or secco; semidry, or semisecco; and sweet, or dolce. Sweet Marsala is best used in or as an accompaniment to desserts, while young, dry Marsala makes a superb kitchen wine for savory dishes, as this simple island secondo illustrates.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork loin chops, each about 1 inch thick
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest, plus orange zest strips for garnish
  • Orange wedges for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the chops are just cooked through but are still juicy when cut into the center with a knife, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Add the Marsala to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the wine is reduced and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Return the chops to the pan and sprinkle with the grated orange zest. Cook, basting the chops with the pan juices, for 2 minutes.

Transfer the chops and sauce to individual plates and garnish with orange zest strips and orange wedges. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).