Easy and Elegant Recipe for Pork Tenderloin

Isn’t in funny how times change.  A decade ago, it was perfectly acceptable for Martha Stewart to provide a recipe that took multiple days to prepare.  Whereas, these days, Rachael Ray doesn’t even waste time on extraneous syllables! (EVOO, veg, sammy, delish.)

I think I’m somewhere in the middle:  I love a recipe that looks like it took a long time to prepare, but is actually more along the lines of a 30-minute meal.  Maybe that’s why this recipe for pork tenderloin is one of my absolute faves!


Pesto and Pancetta Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

Need an easy and elegant dinner party dish?  See below.  One reason this dish is great for entertaining is because—after you pop the pork in the oven—you can forget about it, and instead, focus on all the other things you need to do to get ready for your guests.  Another reason I love it is because pork tenderloin is a nice lean protein that even picky eaters tend to enjoy.  Finally, the finished presentation is lovely, even if “plating” food isn’t your thing.


1 (1 ¼-pound) pork tenderloin

Kosher salt, for seasoning

Freshly ground pepper, for seasoning

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup homemade or store-bought basil pesto

5 pieces thinly-sliced pancetta


Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.


Add pork and brown all over, about 3 minutes total.  This will give the pork a nice golden brown color.

[Quick Tip:  If you are in a hurry or feeling lazy (as I usually am!), you can skip the browning steps entirely. Instead, just place your raw tenderloin on the baking sheet and cover with pesto, as shown below.]


Put pork on the lined baking sheet. (That picture definitely qualifies as food porn, ha.)


Spoon pesto over the pork and then spread so that top, sides, and ends of pork are covered.



Place sliced pancetta, slightly overlapping, over the top of the tenderloin.





Place in the oven.  Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 150°F, about 10 to 12 minutes.  (If you like your pork more well-done, cook 3-5 minutes longer.)  Switch oven to broil; broil the tenderloin for about 2 minutes, to give the top a nice crisp texture. Transfer to serving platter and let pork stand 10 minutes before slicing.  Surround with simple roasted asparagus, and serve!


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3 Responses to Easy and Elegant Recipe for Pork Tenderloin

  1. [email protected] n dishes February 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Pork on top of pork!!! Nicely done Marie.

    • Marie H. Saba February 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Exactly! Pork covered with pork. And one of them is bacon. Yum. Thanks Kari, as always.


  1. Ideas for Valentine’s Day Dinner « Cocina Marie - February 10, 2013

    […] Pesto & Pancetta Pork Tenderloin: So elegant and surprisingly easy. […]

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