FARGO — Pork Milanese with Lemony Buttered Noodles is a weeknight favorite in our house. Aside from being just plain delicious, this is a quick and easy meal that can be made in about 45 minutes, especially if you follow my handy timeline included at the end of this article.
Milanese is an Italian culinary term for meat that is pounded into thin cutlets (scaloppine style), then coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs before being pan-fried. The dish takes its name from its origin in Milan, Italy, and just like its Austrian cousin, wiener schnitzel, veal is the preferred meat for this specialty.
In North America, where veal may be harder to acquire, it's common to see versions of Milanese featuring pork and chicken cutlets, and for this recipe, we use four boneless pork loin chops. We slice each one horizontally to create 8 cutlets, and use a meat mallet to pound them to a quarter-inch thickness before coating them.
Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs that have a lovely, light and flaky texture that results in a golden, crispy finish when used as a coating or topping. We season the panko with finely chopped fresh rosemary, which pairs wonderfully with pork, and a healthy dose of freshly grated parmesan cheese, which adds more crunch to the coating.
The cutlets are fried in vegetable oil until crispy and golden brown on each side. Vegetable oil is not only more affordable than olive oil for this purpose, it's also flavorless and won't affect the taste of the pork. The thin cutlets cook quickly in about four minutes, and, depending on the size of your pan, you can cook at least two to four at one time, turning once to ensure they are cooked through.
Pork Milanese pairs well with light pasta dishes or potatoes, and our favorite side is Lemony Buttered Noodles. Featuring egg noodles, butter, olive oil, parsley, chives and lemon zest, the flavors and old-fashioned nature of these buttered noodles are the perfect complement to the savory comfort of the pork cutlets.
Sarah's quick and easy preparation
• Chop the herbs and grate the lemon zest, then combine in a small bowl. Measure butter, vegetable oil, salt and pepper and set aside.
• Prepare the dredging station with flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs mixture.
• Slice each pork loin chop in half, horizontally, and pound into ¼-inch cutlets.
• Dredge each cutlet in the flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.
• Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
• Meanwhile, cook the breaded cutlets over medium-high heat until golden brown; transfer to a paper-towel lined dish and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
• When about half the cutlets have been fried, drop the egg noodles into the boiling water. Finish frying the remaining cutlets.
• When the noodles are ready, drain them into a colander. Return pasta to the pot and gently toss with the herbs/zest mixture, butter, oil, salt and pepper.
• Serve immediately and enjoy.
Serves: 4 to 6
4 boneless pork loin chops
2 cups flour
3 to 4 large eggs
3 ounces milk
4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 ounces vegetable oil, or more as needed
1 lemon, cut in half
Slice each pork loin in half horizontally, then use a meat mallet to pound the pork into ¼-inch thick cutlets. Season each cutlet with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay three shallow dishes (like pie pans) out next to each other to create a dredging station. Fill one with the flour. In the second dish, beat the eggs and milk together until foamy and well combined. In the third dish, use a fork to combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Dredge each cutlet first in flour, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg wash, allowing any excess to drip off into the dish. Next, dredge each cutlet in the breadcrumb mixture, using your hands to pack the crumbs tightly to completely cover each cutlet.
In a medium saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Once hot, fry 2 cutlets at a time, until crispy and golden brown on one side, then flip and fry the other side, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil. Immediately squeeze fresh lemon juice over each cutlet while still hot. Cover plate with aluminum foil to keep cutlets warm until ready to serve.
To serve, place a layer of Lemony Buttered Noodles on a large platter, and top with the warm Pork Milanese cutlets.
To store: Leftover cooked cutlets can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and refrigerated for 2-3 days. Uncooked, plain cutlets can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days; with breadcrumb coating, up to 24 hours.
Lemony Buttered Noodles
Serves: 4 to 6
1 pound egg noodles
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt, and then add the egg noodles. Cook according to the directions on the package, until al dente, about 8 to 9 minutes. Drain into a colander.
Return pasta to the pot and immediately add the butter, parsley, chives, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Return pot to stove and cook over low heat, stirring gently until the ingredients are well incorporated and the pasta is hot and evenly coated, about 2 minutes. Transfer immediately to a serving platter, top with warm Pork Milanese cutlets and enjoy.
To store: Leftovers may be refrigerated and reheated for up to 4 days.