October is National Pork Month, and this week I am sharing a recipe that showcases three variations of this delicious protein in my Triple Pork Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. This dish is perfect for a hearty Sunday dinner, with a casual elegance that would also make it a hit at any dinner party (remember those?).

The mild flavor and versatility of pork tenderloin makes it a terrific partner for bolder flavors, like prosciutto, which is layered on top of the flattened tenderloin, and bacon, spinach and blue cheese, which are featured in the filling.

The pork tenderloin is stuffed with a savory filling made with cream cheese, bacon, blue cheese, spinach and a blend of dried herbs and spices. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The pork tenderloin is stuffed with a savory filling made with cream cheese, bacon, blue cheese, spinach and a blend of dried herbs and spices. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

To prepare the pork tenderloin, you will need a sharp knife, a large cutting board, plastic wrap, kitchen twine and a meat mallet. The first step is to score the tenderloin into two halves by slicing it down the center, lengthwise, but being careful not to cut all the way through. Think of it like a book — you will want to cut deep enough so that each half can be splayed open, but stopping with about a half-inch of meat left to hold it all together.

The pork tenderloin is scored lengthwise down the center (from left to right, top to bottom), then opened like a book and scored again on each half, being careful not to cut all the way through the meat. Next, the tenderloin is pounded flat until 1/4-inch thick, then topped with prosciutto and a savory bacon, blue cheese and spinach filling. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The pork tenderloin is scored lengthwise down the center (from left to right, top to bottom), then opened like a book and scored again on each half, being careful not to cut all the way through the meat. Next, the tenderloin is pounded flat until 1/4-inch thick, then topped with prosciutto and a savory bacon, blue cheese and spinach filling. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

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Once the tenderloin has been folded open, the next step is to score each half from top to bottom, again not cutting all the way through. This will help the opened tenderloin stretch out for the final step: flattening.

To flatten the tenderloin, place a layer of plastic wrap over the scored meat and use the flat side of a meat mallet to gently pound the pork until it is an even quarter-inch in thickness all around.

Once the tenderloin has been pounded thin, a single layer of salty prosciutto is placed on top, followed by a layer of creamy filling made with bacon, blue cheese, cream cheese, spinach, ground mustard, sage, garlic powder and seasoning. The result is a marvelous blend of savory flavors, with a lush and creamy tang from the cheeses, and a smoky punch of salt from the bacon and prosciutto.

The stuffed tenderloin is rolled tightly into a log and then secured with kitchen twine to prevent the filling from oozing out. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The stuffed tenderloin is rolled tightly into a log and then secured with kitchen twine to prevent the filling from oozing out. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

After the filling is spread over the prosciutto, the tenderloin is rolled into a long log and tied with kitchen twine in several places to prevent the filling from oozing out. The tenderloin is then seared on the stove in hot oil until golden brown on all sides, and then roasted in the oven until it reaches at least 145 degrees and is only just slightly pink in the center.

The stuffed tenderloin is seared on all sides until golden brown, and then baked in the oven until a temperature of 145 to 155 degrees is achieved. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The stuffed tenderloin is seared on all sides until golden brown, and then baked in the oven until a temperature of 145 to 155 degrees is achieved. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

This recipe is just a starting point to inspire you on different ways to utilize pork tenderloin. Once you know how to flatten the tenderloin, you can experiment with a variety of different stuffing ingredients, like feta or grated fontina cheese, dried cranberries, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, ham or sausage, and even toasted nuts.

The presentation of this Triple Pork Stuffed Pork Tenderloin will draw your family and friends to the table, and the burst of flavor in every bite will hold them there until seconds are served. Happy National Pork Month!

Triple Pork Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

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Serves: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

1 whole pork tenderloin, fat and silver skin trimmed

2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into small bits

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground sage

¼ teaspoon ground mustard

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles

½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained of moisture, or 5 ounces fresh baby spinach, sauteed

3 to 4 slices prosciutto

2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a sharp knife to cut lengthwise into the center of the tenderloin, being careful not to cut all the way through (stop with about a half-inch remaining). Open the tenderloin like a book and gently score lengthwise down each half to help the meat expand and flatten.

Cover the flattened tenderloin with a sheet of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound the pork until it's about ¼-inch thick all around.

In a medium bowl, add the bacon, softened cream cheese, garlic powder, sage, mustard, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until well combined.

Place a single layer of prosciutto atop the pork, and then spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the prosciutto. Starting at a long end, roll the tenderloin tightly into a log, and tie with kitchen twine in several places to secure the log.

Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the pork on each side until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer tenderloin to a baking sheet or pan and bake until an internal temperature between 145 to 155 degrees is achieved, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

To serve, remove the kitchen twine and carve the tenderloin into half-inch medallions.

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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.