This recipe, despite the uninspiring name, caught my eye in an Italian pasta cookery book over 25 years ago - and it's still a great favourite.
Pasta and Pork Chop Bake
Oven temp is quite vague in the recipe, it just says a 'slow oven', I set ours at 150 degrees, which would be Gas Mark 2.
1lb (454g) farfalle (butterfly or bow shaped pasta)
1 large onion
2 x 450g cans chopped tomatoes
Dried Italian herbs
4 pork chops
Half cup (112g) Parmesan cheese plus extra to sprinkle on top
3 cloves garlic - crushed
2 tsp. (10g) chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp (14g) fresh lemon rind (a single lemon will give this amount)
Chop onion, lightly fry in a little olive oil until soft, add two cans chopped tomatoes and a little sprinkling of dried Italian herbs. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook pasta in a large saucepan with plenty of boiling salted water, drain and return to the pot.
While the pasta and tomato sauce are cooking in their pans, take a heavy skillet/frying pan and brown the pork chops in about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Remove from the pan and saute the garlic in the oil until soft.
Add the parsley and grated lemon rind (I just use a lemon zester for speed) to the garlic, give a quick stir and remove from the heat.
Add the garlic mixture, tomato sauce and cheese to the drained pasta and mix well.
Gawp in horror at all the used pans etc. you've now accumulated :)
Put half the pasta mixture into a greased casserole dish and arrange the pork chops in a layer on top. Add the rest of the pasta mixture, sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and bake in a slow oven for 40 minutes.
Clear those pans and utensils you've been surveying with horror!
Things I do: Remember, everything is more or less fully cooked when this dish goes into the oven - just the tomato flavour seeps into the pork chops and gives them a slow finishing off while the top gently browns. You can make any tomato sauce you like, or could even buy ready made I guess - if you do, heat it before adding to the pasta. The original recipe calls for quite a complicated tomato sauce which I don't think adds anything.
I just serve this as it is - usually using pork loin chops - and it really is worth the work. It wasn't until I typed this up I realised how many pans and utensils are used - but those 40 minutes baking time are ample opportunity to clear up, and the end result is so worth it, honestly.