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Mom's Pasta Sauce with Pork Chops


When I was growing up, this was often how we ate pork chops - simmered in tomato sauce and served with pasta. When I introduced this dish to my husband, he loved it right from the start. It's a simple dish but giving it the time it deserves is what is essential.

don't oversauce your pasta!

You must use bone-in pork chops for this dish.  Please don't use boneless loin chops. Find the best bone-in pork chops you can - it will be worth it.  There is so much more flavor when you leave the bone in cuts of meat, especially for long simmered dishes like this one.  The chops I use are the T-Bone steak equivalent to pork - they contain a bit of the tenderloin on the chop.  After they simmer for so long, they are fork tender and delicious. 


Decent browning is another essential in this dish - when you brown chops, don't crowd the pan and be sure to brown them until you get a decent sear and they release easily from the pan.  All this browning goodness adds up to extra flavor and doing it right is worth it. 

For the sauce, I use San Marzano tomatoes because the flavor is so great. They are a low acid tomato from Italy. You can buy them in a can and puree them yourself or you can buy them already pureed, which I prefer right now. My favorite is this Passata from Cento.  It is definitely a convenience item, but the flavor is fantastic.


Paccheri pasta - the preferred shape on the Amalfi Coast

For the pasta you can use whatever shape you like.  We have really taken to this shape that we had while on the Amalfi Coast a while back - it seemed like it was the preferred pasta of the region and was in all the shops and restaurants.  It's called Paccheri which means "slaps" and it is like a jumbo flat rigatoni.  It's awesome. If you can't find a place that carries it, you can find it here.   Whatever pasta you use just don't oversauce it. A little sauce goes a long way.  


To serve, toss the pasta with just a little sauce and then serve the chops on the side in a separate bowl with the remainder of the sauce.  


Mom's Pasta Sauce with Pork Chops


for a printable recipe click here

This sauce can be served with up to about one pound of pasta

The cooking time for these pork chops will depend on the thickness of the chops you use. Adjust accordingly.


  • 4 thick bone-in pork chops (I used center cut loin chops, bone in) 
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 24 ounces pureed San Marzano tomatoes  
  • ½ teaspoons red hot chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano


Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Season the chops on both sides well with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the chops in two batches.  You want a nice golden brown crust on both sides.  Don't move them for a few minutes, to make sure you have a nice browning going on and then you can flip them.  Remove from the pot and lower heat.  Do not wipe out pot.  Add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Increase heat to medium high, add the white wine and cook for about 3 minutes, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the pureed tomatoes, chili pepper, oregano and a little salt and pepper.  Place chops back in pot, making sure to coat the ones on top in the tomato sauce if they are not fully submerged.  Don't worry if they are not totally covered by the tomato sauce because you will rotate them halfway through the cooking.  Cover the pot and place in the oven and cook for about 1 hour.

take time to brown the pork chops properly


Remove the pot and carefully remove the chops to rotate them - the top ones go on the bottom and the ones that were on the bottom can go on top.  Place cover back on and cook for one more hour.  Check for doneness. This will depend on how thick your chops are and what cut you used.  They should be very tender. When I use extra thick chops, I will cook them for almost 3 hours.  If they are not tender, you can cook for another 20 minutes and keep checking the tenderness.  Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you like. 

To serve, I take a ladelful or two of the sauce and toss with the pasta in a serving bowl.  The chops with the rest of the sauce goes in a different serving bowl.  People can serve themselves and add as much sauce to their pasta as they like.  Serve with lots of grated Parmesan cheese if you like.


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Reader Comments (38)

I love that you posted this recipe! Its very rare that i see pork chop recipes!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmbar

I heart San Marzano tomatoes!

Thank You - now I know what to make for dinner tonight!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Your cooking is so unpretentious and genuine. Every once in a while you post a recipe that reminds me of my childhood, and it brings back such warm memories. My mom would make pork chops like this all the time, and I never do. But I'm going to now! Thank you!!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

My mother often served pork chops this way, so delicious. Now, I use a pork shoulder roast and simmer it for hours until it I falls apart . Yum!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnnemarie

Yum! Thanks for sharing all your amazing recipes! Can't wait to make this one!

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

What do you recommend for thickness of the chops for a 2 hour total cooking time - 1 inch? 2 Inch? And what do you recommend for thickness en you say "extra thick" that requires a close to 3 hour cooking time?

November 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAni

Absolutely delicious! Leftovers even better! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

November 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlauri

So yummy! Worth the search for the Paccheri like pasta, it stood up to the boldness of the pork and sauce. Simple dishes with great ingredients are my favorites. Thanks!!

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary Beth Einerson

So good and so like my parents recipe, both Calabrese. I also make a similar sauce with baby back ribs. Your recipe is a keeper!

December 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJudy Perrelli Huyck

This looks just like food I grew up with. But, we always had green beans with it that we would put it in the sauce, and I love that pasta shape.

December 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterangela

Thank you!!! Been looking for a recipe like this for ages! . Made tonight and turned out fantastic. Everyone absolutely loved it:)

January 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMyla

My mom would put pork chops in a heavy lasagna pan, cover them with French-fry style cut potatoes, then the sauce.

January 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCeleste

Making this again tonight thanks Elaine---- for all of your delicious receipes!

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Made this a few evenings ago. What a simple and delicious meal. My husband loved it. Definitely a keeper.

May 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKaren N.

Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing this. Will be giving this a go one night this week :-) Simon

August 8, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterplasterer bristol

Thank you for posting this recipe. I have wondered how pork chops would be when made with marinara sauce. It sounds absolutely delicious!

August 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnn H. Milwaukee WI

We breaded the chops browned them in a frying pan finished them off in the oven and they were so delicious!

December 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLavender McKnight

Looking through your recipes and I am LOVING so many of them!!!! Cant wait to try them just don't know where to start. Your bread and pasta looks amazing. Was wondering if you have any calorie and carb info on your recipes(Not so much for me but my grown children are dieting right now). Cant seem to find any. I use pretty much the same utensils as you have listed. Parchment also good for cookie baking!!

January 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDonna JB Pennsylvania

I was so incredibly disappointed in this dish. I was a short order cook for 8 years, and my husband ran a French restaurant for 4 years. With tomato of any kind, you need to cut the acidity. There is no mention of a sweetener. Whether that is sugar, Syrup, jam, marmalade , glucose, to cut that acidity. You end up with a sharp taste in your mouth. And a penchant for needing to drink a lot of water afterwood . I understand how to cook a blue steak, which takes great skill, and I understand the concepts of cooking.
I just don't think you do. I added sugar to this dish. That is what makes it palatable. I skipped the oregano and went with thyme. Oregano cooks out about 1 Minuite ,after adding. Therefore rendering it useless. Thyme has a longer lasting flavour.

February 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJam hol

Sad to see the comments from Jam hol. A good cook knows that all ingredients like canned tomato products vary greatly in their acidity. The "good" cook knows to taste and adjust accordingly. I often add a bit of sugar but more often than not find tomato products sweet enough on their own. I believe many palates have been spoiled by commercial pasta sauces that are very sweet. As for the oregano-perhaps your using a lower quality than the Penzey's I use but I thought it was fantastic!

February 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMary Beth Einerson

From The Italian Dish:

Jam Hoi: Thank you for your kind comment. Adding a sweetener to tomato sauce can enhance the flavor of the sauce. I do talk about adding a little sugar to marinara sauce in this post, something my mom would do sometimes:

It depends on the tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are prized partially because they are less acidic than regular tomatoes. If you want to add a little sugar to this dish, by all means do so. Sorry you were so incredibly disappointed.

February 25, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter[Elaine]

From The Italian Dish:

Mary Beth: You are absolutely right. You just have to taste and adjust accordingly. Thank you.

February 25, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Thanks for this recipe! I will give it a go tonight. Harriet (New Zealand).:)

March 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarriet

I make pork chops this way a lot and it's delicious. The pork gives the sauce a certain delicious flavor. As for sweetener I never add it. We love the "tomato" taste, but of course everyone is different and should adjust the recipe to their taste. Great recipe.

May 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

From The Italian Dish:

Pam: Thank you so much and I'm glad you like the recipe!

May 9, 2018 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Been cooking so long now, can just read the ingredients and know when something reads as absolutely delicious! Going to make this tonight! ;-)

May 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Great recipe thanks, but where does the chilli feature?

July 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Brown (Glasgow)

From The Italian Dish:


Thank you for the heads up - it is added with the tomatoes and oregano. I edited the recipe to reflect that.

July 23, 2018 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I really love your recipes! They are always clear and easy-to-follow. I am afraid I don't have too much time to cook, but I am pretty sure I'll follow some of your recommendations!

November 30, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteruseful tips

This recipe is a real throwback for me and much appreciated. Our family is Pugliese and made pork chops like this regularly. I'm almost certain we cooked a chuck roast with rigatoni like this as well. What do you think of that idea? I think this would be a nice dinner for a small dinner party with your crusty no-knead bread and a glass of Chianti! Thank you and Buon Natale!

December 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDouds8

Thank you for this recipe. To the few critics any good cook knows to check seasonongs. If the sauce seems too acidic add sugar or whatever seasoning adjustment. As you simmer sauces herbs need adjustment. Recipes are simply guidelines.

April 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Miller

Add a small pinch of baking soda, no sweetener.

December 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLinda p

Excellent recipe! I didn't have white wine so used a combo of chicken stock and red wine to deglaze. Also added a bit of sugar, extra oregano, and pan-seared sage leaves crumbled in toward the end. Served with fingerling potatoes, string beans, and sauteed cabbage. The full 2 hours plus a little bit yielded fall-off-the-bone tender chops.

February 20, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterLG

Unnecessary to brown the chops. Plus I use my jarred favorite pasta sauce, add a palm full of Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. If you simmer long enough the chops fall apart, absorb the flavor of the sauce and seasonings and you will never know whether you browned them or not. Serve over thin spaghetti. This should be a go to quick meal. Compare results and let us all know whether browing the chops was worth the time, hassle, and mess.

May 10, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I agree with the "go to quick meal" on a busy night but there is a certain depth of flavor only attained by browning, scraping up and allowing the brown bits from frying the chops to permeate into the sauce.

May 10, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Totally agree with Linda! The flavors that come from browning meat add a depth of flavor that is totally worth the "effort".

May 11, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterMary Beth

Dan—- oh heavens yes, absolutely brown the chops !!!!
It caramelizes the natural sugars in the meat with the salt and pepper, enhancing the flavor!
It looks SO much more appetizing as well.
I brown the pork chops while I am chopping the onion/mincing the garlic and cook the chops in the same pot so...extra mess?
To keep this delicious Italian meal authentic, I would never throw in a palm full of Italian seasoning or use thin pasta! My word!
I love traditional family recipes that have been passed down through generations and this one is SQUISITO!!!

July 10, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterMichele East Lansing

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