Lidia Bastianich's Pork Chops Use Pepperoncini For A Spicier Bite

Emmy-Award-winning Italian-American celebrity chef and restauranteur Lidia Bastianich is best known for her passionate but never fussy perspective on Italian cuisine. Her recipe for pork chops with mushrooms and pickled peperoncini is no exception, bringing plenty of heat to a dish that's almost as easy to make as it is to eat.

Featured in her latest cookbook, 2023's "Lidia's From Our Family Table to Yours," Bastianich shares that the secret to this popular pork chop dish is the pickled pepperoncini, which she says gives it a "spicy kick." But as Bastianich noted when she appeared on "Today," pepperoncini bring more than just heat to the dish, they also bring acidity to this entree, which aids in balancing the earthiness of mushrooms, the sharp sweetness of the red onion, and the richness of the pork. But Bastianich isn't done there, she adds some dry white wine and chicken broth, deglazing the pan and imbuing the sauce with the zesty heat of pepperoncini to really bring the whole dish together, bathing these tender chops in rich, steeped-in flavor.

Spice up your pork chops with pepperoncini

To make this juicy pork recipe, the PBS chef starts by dredging and searing pork chops, carefully browning them (but not cooking them all the way through). Bastianich adds sliced mushrooms, red onion, pepperoncini (and some of their juice), along with fresh aromatic thyme to the now empty pan, sauteeing as the flavors mingle. She finishes the dish, deglazing the pan with wine and broth before adding the chops back in to simmer until done.

A version of this Bastianich family favorite also appears on the menu at Bastianich's restaurant, Becco, under the name, "Costolette Di Maiale Alla Maniera Dello Chef, or "Chef's Way Pork Chops." The restaurant version trades mushrooms for more peppers, using a variety of bell peppers, sweet and hot cherry peppers, and pepperoncini. As Bastianich encouraged during her appearance on "Today," you can take the basics of this simple dish and give it your signature twist by exchanging some ingredients for what you have on hand or can afford. Try swapping protein from pork to beef or chicken. Can't find pepperoncini? Try pickled jalapeños or banana peppers. Or do as Bastianich did and substitute sweet bell peppers or sundried tomatoes for mushrooms. The most important thing, as Bastianch says, is to get "everyone to the table to eat."