Pork makes flavorful ethnic entree

June 19, 1991|By Linda Gassenheimer | Linda Gassenheimer,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

"Today in Puerto Rico, food is changing," says Giovanna Huyke of "Giovanna's Kitchen," a daily TV spot broadcast in Puerto Rico.

Pasta is overtaking rice in popularity; olive oil is taking the place of butter and lard. Rum, cilantro, oregano, peppers and garlic are all important ingredients in Puerto Rican cooking.

Huyke adapts these traditional seasonings and marinades to create familiar tastes with a modern twist. Here are some of her suggestions:

Puerto Rican pork uses a pork tenderloin. Be sure to take as much fat as possible off the tenderloin before marinating. The pork marinates for only a few minutes. Basting it every five minutes while cooking helps add flavor to the meat.

The secret to pasta with onion sauce is to cook the onions over low heat so they become transparent and tender without browning. This recipe originally called for heavy cream, but Huyke changed it to skim milk, and it works beautifully.

Round out the meal with sliced cucumbers and papaya sprinkled with orange juice.

Puerto Rican Pork

1 pork tenderloin, about 12 ounces

1/4 cup white rum

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 scallion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove as much fat as possible from the pork. With the point of a knife, make holes all over the pork. Mix all the remaining ingredients together and marinate the pork in it for 10 minute. Remove the pork from the marinade and place on a small tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, basting every five minutes. The pork is done when a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm. Let sit a few minutes before serving. Serves two.

Pasta with Onion Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced red onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 pound fettuccine

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook gently over low heat until the onions are transparent and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and mustard and cook for one minute. Add the milk and mix thoroughly. cook another two minutes. Add pasta to the boiling water. Boil three to four minutes for fresh pasta or about 9 minutes for dried. Drain and immmediately toss with the sauce. Add the cilantro, cheese, salt and pepper and toss again. Serve with the pork. Serves two.

Cucumber and Papaya

1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 ripe papaya, cubed

Juice of 1 orange

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Arrange the cucumber slices on individual plates. Spoon the papaya cubes on top. Sprinkle with the orange juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves two.

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