Stay late at work, hit late yoga and get home after 10 pm or leave work at a decent hour, skip yoga to head straight home and play with my new strange ingredients sent by my friends Alina and Aaron? Guess which one I picked….

Again, it’s just something I made up, but it turned out wonderful…this time! Sweet fig mixed with the deep Port enhanced the succulent lavender pork. I chose a wheat penne pasta with a slight fear that it might be too heavy for this dish, but it complimented the pork, hearty zucchini and squash perfectly. I was contemplating couscous, but it would have been completely lost in this dish.

Don’t avoid a strange ingredient like lavender by staying late at work. Embrace it with port and pork, and remember it’s all a matter of trial and error. Let this delightful, flowery herb help you be fat and happy!

Lavender Pork Pasta with a Port Fig Sauce

Lavender Pork Pasta
1 pork loin (about ½ lb)

Place the pork in the crock pot with a little bit of water, fresh ground black pepper, salt and about 1 tbsp of dried lavender. Put the cover on, set to low and let it cook for 8-10 hours (you can also cook this in just 2 or 3 hours at a higher temperature if you need to).

Sautee in olive oil until they begin to soften:

1/2 cup of white onion, medium diced
1 tbsp. of dried lavender

Add to pan:
1 small zucchini, sliced into quarter inch pieces
1 small yellow squash, sliced into quarter inch pieces
Continue to sauté just a few minutes keeping a little bit of crunch in the veggies.

Use 2 forks to ‘shred’ the pork. Combine the veggies with the pork in the crock pot to keep warm.

Start the water to boil the pasta. Follow package directions, but use at least 1 can of chicken broth or add two chicken bouillon cubes to the water. Add the pasta when the water boils (start the sauce while the pasta is cooking), drain and save at least 1 cup of the water if you haven’t make the sauce yet. Toss the pasta with a little olive oil after straining to keep it from sticking together.

Port Fig Sauce
In the same veggie sauté pan, heat for about 3 minutes over medium high heat:
2 tbsp. of fig jam
1 tsp. of dried thyme

Whisk in:
1 cup of the pasta water
1/2 cup of port
Fresh black pepper and a pinch of salt

Let the sauce boil until thick and reduced by half.

Whisk in 1 tbsp. of butter to the sauce. Remove from heat.

To plate: Place pasta in the middle of the plate, add the pork and veggies on top. Drizzle the port sauce over everything. The sauce on its own may seem lackluster, but once it hits the lavender pork – it’s fantastic. Enjoy immediately.

Tip and techniques: I started this process early in the morning with the use of a crock pot. This recipe required planning ahead, but it is quite simple. Let the pork sit in the crock pot all day while you’re at work, and it will be perfectly moist when you return. Cooking the pasta in a chicken broth helps to flavor the pasta in addition to some of the pasta water will be used in the pork.

Find more great recipes on Monique’a Blog at http://fatandhappyblog.blogspot.com/

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