Agresto Sauce And Pork Braciole

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Agresto finish with Script

Buon giorno!

The Tuscans have a knack for getting some things right in the food department. Sometimes they “knock it right out of the park”. It is my view – that they certainly did it with AGRESTO SAUCE. This is a simple and rustic sauce that is made quickly with fresh ingredients in a blender or food processor. You can even make this wonderful sauce a couple of days ahead. It has a very different and pleasing flavor. You can liken it to pesto, but it is much more. It is richer and far more flavorful than pesto. When you taste it – you’ll notice that, as with wine, there is the immediate effect in your mouth – and then the finish – which leaves you actually wanting more.

This sauce has so many uses. See it here in a form of braciole using PORK TENDERLOIN BRACIOLE – stuffed with smoked mozzarella and arugula. But –  it is wonderful served on crostini as an appetizer and as a sauce for pork or veal chops, chicken, or game hens. It also can be a lovely condiment on soups and stews and also with risotto. Try it on a simple sliced tomato salad – divine! It is just one of those “miracle” sauces! As always, I prefer the heritage pork tenderloins from Circle B Ranch  – humanely raised and prepared. You just can’t beat them!

This sauce from Tuscany can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages. Of course, not having our modern appliances, they used a mortar and pestle to crush the items involved. There is one ingredient that makes this sauce truly unique and gives it its special flavor. That is – grapes! Yes, grapes! Actually, the true Agresto is made with a juice extracted from grape “must” – called verjuice. This ingredient can be found in bottled form but is not common in the US. No worries though – you can make a form of it yourself that is quite good using seedless grapes, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar. This homemade example of verjuice is what I use, and it can be whipped up very quickly in your food processor. The resulting sauce is great – with the freshness of the ingredients plus a very slight sweetness from the grapes coming together to make an unusual sauce sensation that will be an immediate hit.

ANDIAMO!

AGRESTO SAUCE WITH PORK TENDERLOIN BRACIOLE

Makes: at least 2 cups

Prep: about 40 minutes

Cook: 20-25 minutes for pork

Ingredients for Sauce

1 Cup Seedless Green Grapes

Juice of a Large Fresh Lemon

1 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar

3/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts (toast them lightly under broiler or fry pan)

1/2 cup Toasted Almonds

1 Fresh Garlic Clove

1 Cup Fresh Parsley

1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme or Lemon Thyme Leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Water

Instructions

In a blender or food processor – Process the grapes, lemon juice, and vinegar and set aside.

Agresto 1

Agresto 2

Next place the nuts, garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, salt and pepper in the processor and process until finely chopped and combined.

Agresto 3

Agresto 4

Then process again while adding the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a stream.

Agresto 5

Next add the juice previously made from the grapes and the water in a stream while processing or blending again.

Agresto 6

You can add a little more water if too thick  – taste and correct the seasoning if needed.

Cover tightly and refrigerate. This can be made a day or two ahead and will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator if tightly covered before it begins to darken and oxidize. Heat before using. If the sauce becomes to thick for you when ready to use it – just add a little more water, taste, and stir. The tasting is fun and one of the perks of making this great sauce!

FOR THE PORK TENDERLOIN BRACIOLE USED HERE:

This is a serving suggestion that is really great with the sauce.

There is enough sauce for a couple of pork tenderloins – 1.3 – 1.5 pounds each. You will probably have leftover sauce.

Butterfly them (or have your butcher do it) by slicing part of the way through and then again on each side to achieve an open and flat piece of meat. Pound it a little and drizzle with olive oil – Add Kosher salt.

Next add a handful of arugula and place down the middle of the meat followed by sticks or slices of Smoked Mozzarella – about 1/3 lb. per tenderloin. If you are unable to get the smoked version – use the regular fresh Mozzarella.

Agresto Pork 1

Tuck in each short end and then roll the tenderloin over onto itself like a jelly roll. Tie with string – as much as you need. Wrap in foil and refrigerate. You can do this a day ahead.

Agresto Pork 2

When ready to cook – place on an oiled pan and drizzle the meat with olive oil – add s & p. Top with some sprigs of fresh Rosemary.

Agresto Pork 3

Roast for 20-25 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Let sit for about 15 minutes before snipping off the strings and slicing into thick slices. Serve with the AGRESTO SAUCE.

This AGRESTO SAUCE WITH PORK BRACIOLE is truly a wonderful dish to serve. Not many of your guests will have experienced it, and you can have the pleasure of introducing them to a beautiful and interesting Tuscan sauce that absolutely everyone will love. Then have fun finding new and different ways to use this versatile sauce. For pairing: I like to serve this dish with a lovely Toscana or even a Dolcetto – nothing too heavy.

PARLA COME MANGI!

 Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.

LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE

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Comments

  1. Margaret Dumas says:

    Linda,
    I am trying to make braciole using flank steak and need to know whether to roll with the grain or across the grain. I can’t remember how my mom did it what is your recommendation?

    • You can roll it with the grain and slice it against – generally recommended. However, it works the other way as well.