“From the SCCC Kitchen” offers Daily Gazette readers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s nationally accredited American Culinary Federation culinary arts program. Recipes selected by SCCC instructors can easily be prepared at home. Today, instructor David J. Wixted — also project coordinator for the New York State Hospitality Grant — offers a big dish for a big appetite: Italian Pork Steak.
Large portions of baked pork were never called chops at Earl Wixted’s B&D Tavern in Mechanicville. They were always steaks.
“This was a bar recipe,” said Earl’s son, culinary professor David Wixted. “My father just called it pork steak because we used to take the sausage butts that we would make our sausage with and cut them into steak-sized pieces. He would just call them pork steaks.”
The formidable name came with formidable company at lunch or supper time.
“This is a pork chop that has zucchini, squash, eggplant that we bake all in one dish with some spaghetti sauce,” Wixted said. “It has some garlic and some celery in here, too. We have pasta on the side. You make your pasta, you take your sauce and after all this bakes, put your sauce on top of the pasta, a little more sauce on top of your pork, your vegetables on the side, and that’s a complete meal.”
The complete meal had fans when the B&D was open for business from 1974 until 1996.
“This was very popular at the bar for lunch or dinner specials,” Wixted said. “We’d make about 24 for the bar, and we’d be sold out by the end of service. And we were cheap. This plate right here would cost you, I think, $6.95.
“We were a working man’s establishment,” Wixted added. “You get a working man to get some bread and butter with this, and that’s a meal. It’s got your vegetables, your starch and then your protein on there.”
Pork steaks do not mean a lot of trouble in the kitchen. Wixted said preparation and cleanup are both easy.
Italian Pork Steak
6 boneless center-cut pork chops
Oregano, to taste
Basil, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Onion powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 eggplant, peeled and medium diced
1 large zucchini, sliced in 1-inch circular pieces
1 large yellow squash, sliced in 1-inch circular pieces
1 large red onion, sliced.
2 stalks celery, medium diced
2 bay leaves
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
48 ounces tomato sauce
2 ounces red wine
1 pound thin spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the pork chops, use a large mixing bowl to mix oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper. Rub the pork chops with the dry spice mix.
Place the sliced and diced vegetables, bay leaves and minced garlic in a roasting pan. Place the pork chops on top of the vegetables, bay leaves and minced garlic.
Pour the tomato sauce and red wine on top of the pork chops and vegetables and cover. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the pan cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Use the sauce from the roasting pan and mix with the pasta. Serve one pork chop and vegetables with a side of pasta.
Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with Italian bread or garlic bread.
NOTE: Any type of pasta can be substituted.