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As a kid in Chicago, I adored a restaurant, now closed, called Como Inn. It seemed so grand, so "special occasion." Of course, it wasn't just the rambling, multi-room setting or the spumoni ice cream I loved. The steak pizzaiola got me, too.
The Neapolitan dish, pizzaiola, refers to a "pizza-style" preparation involving meat (commonly steak) that is cooked and tenderized in tomato sauce. Those fond memories set the wheels turning for this recipe, which is a riff on that original dish. The difference here is I've chosen salty scamorza cheese, a great melting cheese, to fill and top thinly pounded pork tenderloin medallions. If you can't get your hands on scamorza, mozzarella will certainly do.
Be sure to secure the bundles tightly with kitchen twine (and don't forget to remove it before serving). If you only have toothpicks on hand, they will work in place of twine. But, again, use enough of them so the cheese doesn't all ooze out during cooking.
Once stuffed, the meat is browned on the stovetop. Then it's set aside, and the caramelized bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven form the basis for a bold, simple tomato sauce that's pumped up with onions, garlic, roasted red peppers, and red wine. After the sauce simmers, the meat is returned to the pan, and it's topped with additional scamorza cheese.
Serve the parcels on a bed of pasta with a generous helping of the red sauce and a sprinkling of basil.
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