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Little Pork Purses

Borsette di Maiale

SERVES 6

Italian cooks are very fond of stuffing vegetables, meats, fish, and fowl. In this recipe for borsette, "little purses", or stuffed pork chops, the savory filling is made from Fontina cheese, prosciutto, leeks, and thyme. The dish can be assembled early in the day, covered, and refrigerated until ready to bake. Veal chops can be used in place of pork.

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 cup thinly sliced leeks

1/4 cup diced fennel

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 pound Italian Fontina cheese, diced

1/4 pound prosciutto, diced

1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh thyme

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 3/4-inch-thick center-cut pork chops, with 2-inch deep pockets (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Directions

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the leeks and fennel and cook over low heat until they just begin to color. Raise the heat, add the lemon juice, and let it evaporate. Remove the mixture to a bowl to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Brush a casserole dish large enough to hold the pork chops in a single layer with the remaining olive oil. Add the cheese, prosciutto, and thyme to the leek mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill the pork pockets with the mixture, packing it in firmly. Close the openings with toothpicks or sew closed with cooking string. Lay the pork in the prepared dish, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until nicely browned.

This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.

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