Italian Pork & Broccoli Rabe Sliders

For this recipe, we combined succulent pork tenderloin and crisp-tender broccoli rabe for a hearty dish that’s perfect as an appetizer, or as a light lunch or dinner with sides for a crowd. The pork tenderloin is also great on its own as a filling for lasagna or cannelloni.


For the Pork
  •  1 ½ lb pork tenderloin, silver skin trimmed and discarded
  •  ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  •  ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  •  ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  •  zest of 1 lemon (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
  •  1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  •  ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  2 tablespoons Armanino Creamy Garlic Sauce
For the Broccoli Rabe & Sliders
  •  1 ½ pounds broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
  •  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •  ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  •  1 tablespoon Armanino Creamy Garlic Sauce
  •  1 tablespoon Armanino Basil Pesto
  •  ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  •  24 slider size soft potato rolls, split in half
  •  12 slices provolone cheese, cut into quarters
  •  1 cup sliced pickled peppers – cherry, peppadew or banana peppers


For the Pork
  • Preheat oven to 425°F, and place a wire rack in a foil-lined sheet pan. If needed, trim away the silver skin from the tenderloin with a sharp knife and discard.
  • In a small dish, combine the crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  • Rub the tenderloin with the olive oil and sprinkle the spice rub evenly over the whole tenderloin, rubbing it in well.
  • Place the seasoned tenderloin onto the wire rack, and roast for 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with the creamy garlic sauce.
  • Return to the oven and roast another 10-15 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160°F.
  • Remove pork from oven, place on a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes.
  • While the pork cooks, lay all the bun bottoms on one sheet pan and the tops on another. While the oven is hot, lightly toast, about 4-5 minutes.
  • When the pork is cool enough to handle, slice as thinly as possible.
For the Broccoli Rabe
  • While the pork cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add the broccoli rabe stalks and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green but still crunchy, about 2-3 minutes. Do in batches if needed.
  • Remove broccoli rabe and run under cool water to quickly cool.
  • Spin in a salad spinner or pat well with kitchen or paper towels to dry then roughly chop.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add the chopped broccoli rabe and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes, creamy garlic sauce and salt; sauté for 1 minute.
  • Transfer to a bowl, let cool for a few minutes them stir in the basil pesto.
To Serve
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Divide the sliced pork among the bottom buns, top with the broccoli rabe and two pieces of the cut provolone.
  • Broil until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the sandwiches so they don’t burn, especially the bun edges.
  • Top with pepper slices, top buns and serve immediately while warm.

Chef’s Tips

  • Silver skin is the thin, silvery membrane of connective tissue found on various meats. It does not break down break down during cooking and when left attached, it is tough and chewy and can cause the tenderloin to curl. Cutting this membrane away before cooking is always the best bet. To remove the silver skin: at one end of the meat, slide the tip of a very sharp knife between the silver skin and the flesh. Holding one end of the silver skin firmly, angle the knife blade up against the silver skin and carefully glide the knife along the meat, pulling the silver skin away at the same time trying not to trim away too much of the meat.
  • If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, an easy way to crush any larger, whole spice like fennel seeds is to put them in a sheet pan, place a heavy skillet on top and press down. The sheet pan will keep them from flying all over the kitchen.
  • To make ahead, assemble the sandwiches but leave the bun tops off. Wrap in plastic or foil. When you’re ready, remove the foil/plastic wrap, broil, garnish, top and serve. If you’re taking these to a tailgate or other outdoor event, broil/garnish/top then wrap in sets of 2-4 in foil. Throw the packets on the grill to warm.
24 sliders
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 10 minutes

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