Pork loin is one of my favorite meats to cook this time of year, not only because I think it is the most underrated of all easily-homecookable meats (and I love me an underdog), but also because it’s the perfect size for two people: Enough to be worth the time and effort required to make it, but doesn’t leave us with an overwhelming amount of leftovers like, say, a ham would.
I like my pork crisp and crackly on the outside, and super juicy on the inside. This is achieved by searing in a super-hot skillet, and then roasting at a high oven temp. Which also makes this a pretty darn quick roast!
If dry-as-a-bone pork-eating experiences have left you scarred and uninterested in eating more pork, I feel your pain and can confidently tell you that this pork will not be dry, flavorless, or give your jaw an unreasonably hard workout.
Pork roast in our household requires spaetzel. These dishes feel wrong without one another.
Spaetzel is a German egg noodle/dumpling that cooks in about 3 minutes and is the perfect thing to whip up while your pork is in the oven. It is best crisped up in butter, covered in good melty cheese, and then baked.
Basically, it’s a German mac and cheese.
Spaetzel making requires a spaetzel maker (this is the one I have). It’s a clunky and odd-looking contraption, but the comfort that comes with knowing I can have a homemade noodle dish whipped up in under 15 minutes is well worth the drawer space required to house my spaezel maker.
The truest measure of my devotion is that my spaetzel maker has now earned a spot in highly desirable drawer real estate in my last 5 rental kitchens.
I have also heard that a colander can be used in place of a spaetzel maker. I can’t vouch for this method because I have never tried it, but imagine it would work fairly well. If you want to make spaetzel, but don’t want to buy a one-job kitchen item, I would definitely try a colander!
Roasted Pork Loin with Cheesy Spaetzle
For the Pork:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the Spaetzle:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 3/8 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups shredded Emmental
For the Pork:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
While skillet is heating, pat pork dry with paper towels. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Once skillet is hot, sear the pork on all sides, beginning with the fattiest side. Brown for approximately 2 minutes per side, or until pork lifts easily from skillet. If you are having to scrape or pull pork off the skillet, it needs to brown for longer on that side.
Once all sides have been seared, transfer skillet to oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads 145 degrees. Remove pork from skillet and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes. Slice.
For the Spaetzle:
Bring a large pot of water to a soft boil.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until frothy along edges. Slowly whisk egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients. Mixture should be like a thick pancake batter. Add additional milk or flour as needed to achieve desired consistency.
Set spaetzle maker over boiling water. Add dough to the slider basket and slide back and forth until all dough has been pushed through the holes into the water. Spatzle is fully cooked when it rises to the top of the water - this will take about 2 minutes. Remove cooked spaetzle with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once bubbling, add cooked spaetzle. Cook, flipping occasionally, until spaetzle is browned - about 8 minutes. Transfer half the spaetzle to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with half the shredded cheese. Add the remaining half of the spaetzle and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Serve hot, with sliced pork.