Italian Dinner – Fennel Pork Chops and Risotto with Mushrooms and Saffron

Recipes in this PostPork chops marinating

Sundays are the day in our family where we really try to keep the Sabbath day. We go to Mass, and I try to not get on the computer. No working on Sunday, sometimes not even to get email.

Spane really likes going to the 5:30 p.m. Mass, the Life Teen Mass, mainly because it is a more youthful Mass, with a band that plays guitar, drum and piano, with really good jazzy singers. I like going to the earlier Masses because I really like listening to Holy Family’s award winning choir. I like to sing, too.

Usually, we go to 5:30 Mass, so I don’t have that much time to make a real “Sunday” dinner, but today we went to 11:00 Mass, so I did. I thought that this was a good opportunity to praise God with a nice dinner, and Italian is always a good choice.

Italian Pork Chops

Summary: These pork chops will remind you of good Italian sausage. Risotto, green beans, and a nice white wine are a good accompaniment.


  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 glass wine (red preferred)
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 tablespoon Butter


  1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, fennel seed and black pepper together just until the mixture starts making a paste. Rub this paste on to each side of each pork chop, being sure to press down firmly so that fennel seeds stick. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to marinate.
  2. Taking a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat it and add olive oil. Brown the chops on both sides, and if you need to, work in batches.
  3. When the chops have been browned nicely, remove them from the skillet to a plate and keep warm.
  4. Add the wine to the skillet, and stir to get all the nice brown stuff on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put the chops back into the pan, in the wine, then add the beef stock.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
  7. Have a platter ready, and put the chops on the platter. Keep warm.
  8. Raise the heat on the pan and let the liquid reduce some more.
  9. When the liquid has started to turn syrupy, add the butter and whisk to create a silky sauce.

Quick notes

If you do not have beef stock, you may use a good beef base. Combine 1 teaspoon beef base dissolved in 1 cup hot water.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Italian

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.

Risotto Mis En Place

Risotto Mis En Place

Risotto with Mushrooms and Saffron

Summary: This creamy side dish goes with a variety of foods.


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated good Parmesan cheese


  1. Have ready a large sauté pan and a large sauce pan, each able hold 2 quarts of liquid. You will also need a ladle.
  2. In the sauce pan, put the chicken stock. Heat it to just about boiling, then reduce to a simmer. You will be using the ladle to add the stock to the rice.
  3. In the meantime, put the sauté pan on the fire, and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots. Sauté until they are translucent. Add the onions, and sauté until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms, and let them brown a bit as you sauté them.
  4. Add the rice sauté it, stirring the whole while so that all the grains of rice are well coated with the butter mixture.
  5. Add the glass of wine, and stir continuously until the wine has started to evaporate. You should be able to run a spoon down the center of the rice, and see the pan. Reduce the heat to low.
  6. Start adding one to two ladles of the stock at this point. The rice should be just covered with stock, not immersed.
  7. Add the saffron threads, rubbing them in your fingers as you do.
  8. Stir until the stock starts to evaporate, and then add more stock.
  9. You will be stirring and adding more stock until almost all the stock is gone, and the rice is cooked through. It should have developed a nice creaminess.
  10. Have a nice serving dish ready. Make sure that any other foods you are going to serve with the risotto area ready. Make sure everyone who is going to be eating as ready, too. If they are not, you can take the risotto off the flame and set it aside, covered and kept warm.
  11. Put the cheese into the rice, and stir all completely, then put in a nice serving dish.
    Creamy Risotto is Served

    Creamy Risotto is Served

  12. Enjoy, and remember – we wait for Risotto – Risotto does not wait for us!

Quick notes

You can buy Arborio rice in most supermarkets. If you absolutely must have Risotto, and no markets have Arborio rice, you can substitute a medium or short grain rice. Long grain and converted will not work. See Cooks Illustrated for more information about substitutions.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 6

Culinary tradition: Italian

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.

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7 Responses to Italian Dinner – Fennel Pork Chops and Risotto with Mushrooms and Saffron

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    You are totally speaking my language!

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