Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin (Filetto di Maiale in Agrodolce)

I’ve mentioned before that my Italian cooking adventures all began with the great books by Biba Caggiano. One of my favorite recipes from one of her earliest books, Modern Italian Cooking, is the one for sweet and sour pork. She uses pork loin, but I’ve always used pork tenderloin instead since it is more tender. This dish is original, delicious, and easy to make. It cooks quite fast as the tenderloin is cut into slices and it is best when cooked to medium rare or medium. Give it a try!


For 2 servings

1 pork tenderloin (about 300 grams / 0.67 lbs)

180 ml (3/4 cup) dry white wine

80 ml (1/3 cup) good-quality white wine vinegar

4 Tbsp sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

salt and freshly ground black pepper

flour for dusting


Cut the pork tenderloin into 2 cm (.8″) slices crosswise (with one or two slices left at the thin end).

Rub pork slices with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides and dust lightly with flour.

Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the pork slices when the butter foams.

Sear over high heat until golden, about 1 minute per side. Move the pieces around to prevent the butter from burning.

Take the pork out of the pan and put them on a plate, leaving the fat behind. Add garlic and sage and stir for 1 minute over low heat.

Add wine, vinegar, and sugar (in that order).

Increase the heat and stir for a few minutes until reduced to about half.

Return the pork slices to the pan. Lower the heat and cook them, turning and basting, for 2 minutes (for medium rare) to 4 minutes (for medium).

Take out the pork slices and arrange them on hot plates. Meanwhile, increase the heat and cook until the sauce is thick and syrupy.

Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce. Spoon some sauce on the pork slices and serve immediately.


9 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin (Filetto di Maiale in Agrodolce)

  1. Top stuff as usual Stefan. The pork steak has a bad rep with me. This comes from eating over-dry, overcooked specimens in my younger days. There is a big fear in these parts of undercooked pork. This looks like a very decent option indeed.


    1. Thanks, Conor. I know just what you mean with the overcooked meat. The nice thing about this recipe is that it is easier to cook just right than a whole pork tenderloin (unless you use a meat thermometer).


      1. Not this specific dish, Stefan. Mom made something similar using pork chops. I’ve not been able to find the recipe and Zia, though she remembers the dish, does not know the recipe. I know that Mom used vinegar, honey, rosemary and garlic but I’ve no idea the quantities or whatever else was used. Bear in mind, this was at least 20 years ago.


        1. Hmmm that sounds nice. Nicely marbled pork chops could be browned a bit more and would then be great with the rosemary. Perhaps add some white wine as well and should be good 🙂 We should give it a try! Who goes first? 🙂


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