This post is sponsored by Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, all opinions are my own.
Roasted Garlic and Herb Penne Pasta with Pork: A 30 minute meal bursting with flavor, tender pork, and fresh herbs. This is a penne pasta dish to make when you are short on time during the busy back to school season but still want to impress.
Rich, buttery, smoky-sweet roasted garlic elevates everything it touches. But “elevate” doesn’t mean “take more time.” This penne pasta recipe gets a flavor bump from convenient Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, which also puts it among pasta dishes you can prepare on a chaotic weeknight in less than thirty minutes.
I don’t know about you, but when I see “roasted garlic” on a restaurant menu I’m always going to stop and look again. Garlic’s sharpness is mellowed when you roast it. It turns creamy and buttery, so that it melts into the rest of the dish and infuses it with smoky-sweet flavor.
Hearty penne pasta is the perfect vehicle for roasted garlic, and combining both of them with read-to-cook, pre-marinated Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork Roasted Garlic & Herb Loin Filet turns this pasta recipe into a weeknight dinner that’s perfect for those hectic back to school nights when you are still trying to adjust to your routine and get back into the swing of things. Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is available at local Ridley’s and Walmart stores nationwide.
How do you make basic penne pasta?
The basic method in all pasta dishes is to boil the pasta in salted water. LOTS of water, and probably more salt than you think. This isn’t the time to conserve.
- If you’re cooking a pound of pasta, use a stock pot and 5-6 quarts of water to give the pasta lots of room to move around.
- As for the salt, pour a good pile into the palm of your hand–at least a tablespoon–and dump it into the pot.
- When the water reaches a FULL boil (not little baby bubbles), dump in the pasta and stir. Then stir again. Then stir some more. You want to break up any clumps that have found each other and keep them from getting too friendly.
- You’ll probably cook the pasta 8-10 minutes (it’ll vary depending on your altitude and the weight of the penne pasta you’re using), but check it a couple of minutes early, and keep checking as it gets closer to being done. It can cross from not-quite-done to overdone in a matter of seconds.
- Before you drain the pasta through a colander, save a scoop of the water to add to the sauce. Or lift the pasta directly into the sauce and keep the liquid. Either way, that liquid is gold, so make sure you have some available to touch up your sauce at the end.
How do you make the BEST penne pasta?
The best penne pasta requires:
- A great base (pasta)
- The best protein
- An awesome sauce
Picking your Penne Pasta
Okay, so you know how to cook pasta perfectly. But do you know how to buy it? The key to great pasta dishes besides a killer sauce, and the best protein (Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork Roasted Garlic & Herb Loin Filet…just sayin’) is great pasta, and that relies on the texture it’s born with.
Feel free to use what you have on hand, but if there is one thing I have learned while traveling in Italy, it is that specific pastas are used for specific dishes. And the cut and shape make a huge difference in how to sauce works with the pasta. Inexpensive pasta is cranked through teflon plates and molds that give it a smooth texture, and then it’s dried quickly so that it’s harder to cook to the proper doneness.
Look instead for the more expensive pastas, the ones that say “bronze cut” or “bronze plate.” The pasta itself will have a powdery look, and the surface will be rough. Sauce clings to these pastas better, they cook better, and there’s just no comparison to how well the finished pasta recipe turns out.
Picking your Protein
One you have the right noodles, or base, it is time to liven the dish up with a great protein, some herbs, and a sauce. This recipe is killer because it uses Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Herb Loin Filet.
This loin filet is pre-marinated, which makes it quick and easy. It is super flavorful, but I don’t have to do the work of prepping the marinade or waiting for it to marinate long enough. And all of Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is 100% fresh pork with no artificial ingredients and packed with protein.
Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is one of my favorite dinner prep shortcuts. Especially during back to school season. Do you have some of your own? Smithfield is holding a CONTEST. Want to win a trip to Napa Valley, CA? You just have to share how you fit home-cooked meals into your busy schedule, and you could win this trip!
And while you’re thinking of quick meals, make sure you notice that Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork has lots more to flavors choose from, like Applewood Smoked Bacon- which is literally loaded with bacon on top and is so amazing grilled, Slow Smoked Mesquite, and Slow Roasted Golden Rotisserie. You can slow cook, grill, roast, or saute for something different every night of the week.
To make cooking this dish even faster, I cubed the Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Herb Loin Filet and cooked it in a skillet.
The brown bits in the bottom of the pan, and the liquid from cooking the pork became the base for the light and delicious sauce that tops this particular pasta recipe.
So now let’s talk about the sauce.
Picking Your Sauce
The sauce on this pasta is really a pan sauce that combines the liquid from cooking the pork and the leftover bits and flavors from the bottom of the skillet with a little pasta water and a whole lot of fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. It is so simple you might think twice. But trust me, it is the perfect compliment to your flavorful pork, and keeps this a light and fresh pasta dish.
The reserved water from the pot makes the butter based sauce creamy and flavorful, and the fresh herbs and parmesan cheese make it flavorful and fun!
Dinner is Served
Once combined, you get the perfect combination of hearty pasta, flavorful pork, and a light and delicious sauce. This is one dish you will be making all year long, but that is particularly helpful at back to school when nights are crazy. The chaos will continue, but dinner doesn’t have to add to it because with this conveniently quick 30 minute meal, you will have dinner served in no time and with very little hassle. Making it perfect for any night of the week.
Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is available in a wide variety of fresh cuts including roasts, loin filets, ribs, and more. Because they can be prepared a number of ways, they are the perfect solution for busy nights.
Smithfield® wants to help make family’s lives easier and to do so they have partnered with cookbook author, actress, designer, and mom of two Haylie Duff to create exclusive recipes and time-saving tips that will help you!
Her original recipes, including Tomatillo, Pineapple & Bacon Pork Tacos, Pork Loin Banh Mi Bowls, and Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki, feature a variety of Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork cuts and flavors. Combine them with just a few fresh ingredients and you have dinner ready in a matter of minutes.
Visit SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com to view these quick and easy meal ideas, as well as the “Real Fresh, Real Flavor, Real Fast” recipe inspiration center, complete with wine pairings.
Roasted Garlic and Herb Penne Pasta with Pork
- 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Herb Loin Filet cubed
- 16 ounces dry penne pasta
- 2 Tbs salt for water
- 2 Tbs butter divided
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta sauce water
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbs fresh grated parmesan
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid from pasta pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs butter.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds or until garlic begins to turn golden.
- Add cubed pork loin, and sear on all sides. Reduce heat, and turn to low to cook through.
- Meanwhile, In a small bowl, combine parsley, basil, salt and ground black pepper, and parmesan cheese, then set aside.
- Add additional butter, and reserved pasta water to skillet with pork.
- Add cooked penne into the skillet with the pork, toss with herb and parmesan cheese mixture.
- Taste, season with salt and pepper as desired, serve with more fresh herbs.
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