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Tag Archives: italian

Parmesan ‘n Panko Crusted Pork Chops

11 Apr

Parmesan and Panko.  Both fabulous creations in their own right.  Put together, they equal  unparalleled deliciousness.  If you haven’t tried Panko, please try it soon.  It literally can put bread crumbs to shame.

Panko Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops 4

These Parmesan and Panko crusted pork chops are bursting with tender juiciness, well-seasoned flavor, and a crisp bite to the exterior.  What more could we ask for in a quick weeknight meal?  Yes, I did say quick and weeknight in the same sentence.  Because it’s that easy.

Panko Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops 2

Pork, famous for being the other white meat, really is surprisingly lean.  I had sworn it off many years ago when I was in my health-nut phase and thought all pork was fatty.  It eventually dawned on me that with the right cuts, it’s an extremely lean protein that makes the taste buds happy.  Pork chops became my friend again.

Panko Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

These Parmesan and Panko crusted pork chops are super popular with kids and grown ups alike.  We don’t bother with sauces here, because there is simply enough robust flavor in this recipe as is.

Go ahead.  Have your pork and eat it too.  Enjoy! 🙂

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PARMESAN PANKO CRUSTED PORK CHOPS (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggs
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3/4 cups freshly grated (grate it yourself) Parmesan cheese
4 large (10-12 ounces each) center cut pork loin chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick
light olive oil
kosher salt and freshly grounded black pepper
optional lemon wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS

Lightly beat eggs in a pie plate.  In another pie plate, thoroughly combine Panko, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder.  In a third pie plate, place freshly grated cheese.

Sprinkle each pork chop lightly with kosher salt and pepper on both sides.  Coat the chops completely with fresh cheese, pressing down to adhere.  Dip pork chops into beaten eggs, and then completely coat with Panko mixture.  Pat to adhere on both sides.

Heat 4 TB oil in large heavy skillet (nonstick works well) over medium heat.  Add pork chops one or two at a time (do not overcrowd), cooking uncovered until golden brown and 150F at center – about 6 min per side.  Repeat with remaining chops.  Transfer to plates and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Cioppino – Seafood Stew

13 Feb

Happy Valentines Day tomorrow!  I meant to give you this succulent Cioppino earlier in case you were looking for a special dinner inspiration, but better now than never.  You’ll want to save this recipe for your seafood-loving friends and family; they’ll be hard pressed to find a dinner as enjoyable as this intensely mouthwatering seafood stew.  Your peeps will adore you for cooking up this Cioppino for any special dinner.

Cioppino 1

I’ve been a seafood fan all my life.  My parents are adept at dishing up delicious sea fare, and living near the ocean most of my life sure didn’t hurt our fresh seafood consumption.  If you enjoy seafood, you already know there are very few things that parallel the awesomeness of a deeply satisfying bowl of good Cioppino.

Cioppino

We were previously under the assumption that Cioppino originated in Italy, which I gather is a common assumption.  In reality, Cioppino is considered Italian-American, as it was originated in good ol’ San Fransisco.  Cioppino is a concoction that resulted from fishermen combining their catches, creating a hearty stew with whatever good stuff was in their boats.  Catch-of-the-day stew.

Cioppino 4

I personally am supremely thankful for those fishermen who helped propel this wonderfully hearty, satisfying, and healthy stew.  It’s the perfect solution for cold weather dinners, and scrumptiously satisfying with crusty bread.  The bread is a must-have, for soaking up every drop of the light yet full-flavored broth that’s way too delectable to be wasted.

Cioppino 2

I’ve eaten Cioppino in many places, and it’s always made a little differently, depending on where you get it at.  Typically, there is a variety of shelled seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, etc.) combined with chunks of firm fish.  All swimming in an indescribably delicious warm broth.  If you can’t get certain shellfish but can get a hold of others, just sub with what is available to you.  Keep the shells on for cooking, as that is what lends the broth its amazing flavor.

Make it a date for two, or a dinner for eight.  My fave part – this phenomenal broth can be made the day before, and just add seafood the day of.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
2 TB tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 can (28-32 oz) can whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped.  Juices reserved.
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup chicken or fish broth
2 TB white sugar
20 hard shelled clams
20 shelled mussels
1 lb firm fish (ie., halibut, snapper, or salmon)
1 lb very large shrimp (16-20 count-size), deveined, shell-on
1 lb large sea scallops, muscles removed from side if attached
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, freshly chopped
Crusty bread for serving


DIRECTIONS

Place first seven ingredients in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over moderate heat.  Cook until onions are soft, 5 min.  Stir in celery, bell pepper, and tomato paste, cooking 1 min.  Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5-6 min.  Stir in tomatoes, their juices, claim juice, broth, and sugar.  Simmer covered 30 min.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

(At this point, broth may be cooled and placed in fridge overnight.  When ready to serve, just bring broth back to simmer and continue with recipe.)

If ready to serve:  Bring stew to simmer.  Add clams and mussels until shells just open, checking every minute and transferring opened clams/mussels to a separate bowl with tongs immediately when they open.  Remaining unopened shellfish should be tossed out.  Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt/pepper.  Add them to the stew and simmer covered 3 minutes or just until shrimp turns opaque.  If shrimp turns opaque before the fish is done, remove shrimp to prevent overcooking.

Turn off heat and leave uncovered.  Discard bay leaves.  Return all cooked shellfish back into the stew.  Add parsley.  Serve warm stew in bowls, garnishing with fresh basil.  Serve with crusty bread.

By:  Chew Out Loud, adapted by Gourmet

Wine Pairing:  A good quality dry Sauvignon Blanc or crisp Rose will go beautifully here.

Notes:  Feel free to use whatever fresh/good quality seafood is available to you.  Many people like to include crab legs.  The most important thing is not to overcook the seafood.  If I have any leftovers, sometimes I pour it over al dente pasta the next day… amazing.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

3 Dec

Bread just might be one of the very best edible creations ever.  Around here, we find nearly impossible to refuse soft, chewy, yummy bread.  When I’ve got a bit of time to spare, I work out my issues by making all kinds of bread from scratch.  Kneading and punching down dough is like therapy, but cheaper.  Our all-time favorites include rosemary garlic bread and those “famous” breadsticks.

Ok, but what if one is short on time?  Something’s gotta give when I’m in a time crunch and my beloved peeps are hungry for a hearty bread to go with their pasta.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

Enter this super easy, cheesy, garlicky bread.  Cheese + garlic + crusty bread = Scrumptious.   How can that trio not be perfect together?  This cheesy garlic bread is chock full of savory garlic, butter, and cheese.  It’s tender and soft on the inside, and crisp on the outside.  This garlic cheese bread comes together in a pinch, so you can easily pop it in the oven at the last minute for tempting oven-fresh bread.

Easy Cheesey Garlic Bread 2

Try to use a large, thick, and crusty bread loaf, which will provide that hearty texture.  And, though eight cloves of crushed garlic may sound like a typo, rest assured that it’s correct.  Once it’s all thrown together, the garlic flavor actually tends to get lost, so the herb formula here is:  the more, the merrier.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread 3

Y-U-M.  Serve up your cheesy garlic bread with any pasta, soup, or salad dish.  It’s fabulous to use for soaking up broth, if you’re making a dish with savory broth to spare.  This bread is definitely best served warm, right out of the oven, so enjoy it immediately.

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RECIPE (1 large loaf)

INGREDIENTS
1 large, thick loaf of crusty bread (i.e., a rustic Italian or French loaf)
8 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 TB regular butter
4 TB good olive oil
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
fresh parsley, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the crushed garlic, garlic powder, butter, and oil in a saucepan and heat over low for several minutes, until incorporated.  Set aside.

Split loaf in half, lengthwise, and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Brush bread generously with garlic butter mixture.   Bake bread 5-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove bread and sprinkle evenly with cheese and parsley.  Adjust oven to broil, and broil bread about 1 minute, or just until desired level of golden brown is achieved and cheese is melted.  Watch carefully and remove bread as soon as it looks done.

Cut into thick slices, wrap in clean cloth, and serve immediately.

By Chewoutloud

Easy Cheesy Ravioli Bake

23 Oct Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

If your household is anything like mine, there is a hectic quality to weeknights that can leave little time for cooking.  Between Hubby, myself, and the kids…somebody is either coming or going.  Those few hours after work or school can equal time crunch.

Easy yet tasty recipes are coveted on tightly scheduled weeknights.  As rushed as it can get, we all still appreciate something yummy to sit down to at dinner time.

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

Between the kids’ sports and homework, what’s a girl to do for dinner?  Answer:  Easy, Cheesy Ravioli Bake.  YUM.  This dish single-handedly converted my kids into ravioli fans.  I usually whip up a hearty meat sauce using ground turkey or beef for this casserole.  You can easily make this meatless by, well,  omitting the meat 🙂

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

It’s amazing that frozen ravioli can be so easily transformed into this hearty and tasty dish, happily packed with tomato sauce, various cheeses, and chunky ground meat.  It’s an entire meal in one dish.  And it tastes like you spent a long time at the stove.

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

The aroma of this bubbly ravioli bake will momentarily divert everyone away from their activities.  “What’s that cooking in the oven?”  Yes, they will answer the call to fulfill that hunger for a delicious, hot meal at the table.

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

As usual, here’s my favorite part:  this casserole is easily assembled the night before!  YES.  I am a major proponent of anything that can be prepped the night before.  Assemble it at night, put it in the fridge, and bake it up right before serving dinner.  Of course, you can just do it all the same day too.  Either way, you’ll want to keep this recipe in your rotation of simply fantastic recipes that can be whipped up in under an hour.  Leftovers make for an awesome lunch the next day!  Enjoy.

RECIPE (one 9×11 dish)

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 package (25 ounce) frozen cheese ravioli
1 can/jar (26 oz) Hunts Premium pasta sauce
1 (28 oz) plain (not salted) diced tomatoes, juices reserved
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
1 TB freshly ground black pepper
1 TB garlic powder
1 TB onion powder
1 TB white sugar
Freshly grated Parmesan for topping

DIRECTIONS

Cook ground meat in large heavy pot over medium high heat.  Stir and break up pieces until cooked through.  Drain any excess grease.  Turn heat off.

Add pasta sauce and diced tomatoes with juices to the pot.  Add oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and sugar.  Stir to incorporate well.

Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce evenly onto the bottom of a 9×11 baking dish.  Arrange 1/2 of the frozen ravioli over the sauce.  Spread 1/2 of mozzarella and 1/2 of Colby cheeses over the ravioli.  Repeat layers.  You should end with last 1/3 of the sauce on top.  Sprinkle top evenly with Parmesan.

If using right away, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake at 450F for 50-60 minutes, or until ravioli is tender.

If not using right away, cover tightly with foil and place in fridge.  When ready to use, loosen foil and bake at 450F for 30 minutes.

Source: Chewoutloud

Note:  I like to add frozen chopped spinach to this casserole.  It’s delicious and adds veggie power!  Just be sure it’s defrosted and squeeze out all water before layering it on. 

Chunky Pasta Bolognese with Sausage

19 Oct Pasta Bolognese

For some reason, we’ve been doing more pasta recently.  Maybe it’s the cooler fall weather.  Or perhaps it’s just the call of carbs.  Knowing my hubby and boys have an affinity for Pasta Bolognese, I opted to make a delish chunky version.  The chunks of meat and tomatoes in the sauce feel substantial.  The noodles definitely curb any carb crave.

If you’ve read a few of my previous posts, you already know I adore my Cooks Illustrated.  The Test Kitchen does not skimp or mess around.  Sure, I will pad around the kitchen attempting anything ranging from Daddy’s home style grub to Thomas Keller’s creations.  Yet Cooks Illustrated has a special space in my collection of recipes, because I know it’s gonna be good.

Pasta Bolognese with Sausage

Take this classic Pasta Bolognese.  Such amazingly deep, complex flavors!  This is not to be mistaken for “red sauce with meat.”  Oh, no.  This is a delightful savory experience that comes only with the right ingredients and a patient simmering.  Three hours of low simmering, to be precise.  I think I even went a bit longer.  So plan to give this baby some time.  The weekend is a perfect time to make this dish.  Once you have it all in the pot, you can walk away.  Let the sauce do its low-simmer thing.  Dress it up or down, and it can go from casual family meal to dinner-guest material.

Pasta Bolognese

Bolognese.  Try saying it with a robust Italian accent.  I love the word Bolognese, just because it’s one of those fun-to-say words.  If you make this dish, you could find yourself happily stirring and chanting the word.  Or at least thinking it in your head 🙂

I used fresh sausage, casings removed, for my choice of ground meat.  You can use 85% lean ground beef or a mixture of ground meats, such as a mixture of beef/pork/veal.  My family and I really prefer the ground sausage because it imparts a robust flavor into the sauce.

Pasta Bolognese

Oh!  Can’t forget the best part… the sauce freezes well.  I double the sauce and freeze half of it in an airtight container.  Then, on a busy weeknight, all you have to do is boil some pasta and defrost your Bolognese sauce.  Dinner is served, and it is oh-so-good!  Enjoy this.

RECIPE (4-6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

5 TB regular butter
2-3 TB finely chopped onion
2-3 TB minced carrots
2-3 TB minced celery
4 cloves garlic, chopped
12 ounces ground meat of your choice (I use sausage, casings removed)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup Italian red wine, such as Sangiovese
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, with juices reserved and tomatoes chopped fine
1-2 bay leaves
1 lb pasta of your choice
freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Melt 3 Tb butter in Dutch oven or a heavy large pot, over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook 5-7 minutes until softened.  If not using sausage, mix about 1/2 tsp salt into ground meat before adding it to the pot.  Add meat to pot and cook, breaking up large pieces of ground meat with wooden spoon, until cooked through.

Stir in whole milk.  Bring to simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes.  Stir in wine, bring back to simmer, and cook another 10-15 minutes.  Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato juices, and bay leaves.  Bring to simmer again.  Once it is back to a good simmer, reduce heat even lower so that sauce is just barely simmering, with occasional bubble or two at surface.  Let sauce barely simmer, uncovered, for about 3 hours.  Stir only occasionally.

Once sauce finishes simmering, it should appear visibly reduced.  At this point, skim excess oil off the top of sauce.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Bring generously-salted water to boil in a large pot.  Cook pasta until al dente, and reserve 1/2 cup or more  of the pasta water.  Drain rest of the water and return pasta to the pot.  Add Bolognese sauce and the remaining 2 TB of butter to the pasta, tossing to combine.  Add some pasta water as needed, to desired consistency.  Serve warm, topping plates with freshly shredded Parmesan.

by Chewoutloud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated cookbook

Wine Pairing Note:  Pasta Bolognese goes beautifully with a light, bright Italian red, such as Sangiovese or Chianti.

Those “Famous” Breadsticks, or Better!

24 Aug Better than Olive Garden Breadsticks 10

Some people live for noodles, others for rice, and still others for potatoes.  In our family, we are pretty split when asked what each person’s favorite starch is.  One thing we are easily unanimous about?  Bread.  We love our various breads.  Any shape, size, or style – when breads hit the table, I have to apportion each person’s share evenly before anyone can snag the whole thing.  Not kidding even a little bit.

Better than Olive Garden Breadsticks 8

“Famous” Breadsticks – buttery goodness

These babies rise up nicely and consistently.  On a more daily basis, I make denser whole grain breads for the kids, so I’m often hassling with heavier dough that can be rise-finicky.  With these little breadsticks, the dough is fuss-free and breezy.

Better than Olive Garden Breadsticks 9

“Famous” Breadsticks – better than Olive Garden’s?

Back in college, my girl friends and I enjoyed budget-friendly lunches with Olive Garden’s breadsticks-n-salad deal.  I haven’t forgotten those breadsticks.  I was excited to replicate the yummy breadsticks at home and have them turn out amazingly soft, chewy, and so good.  Part of the reason why these are so tasty is that they are freshly baked.  F-r-e-s-h.   Warm, soft, and buttery with herbs.  Listen.   It’s suddenly quiet around the table….mmm.

Better than Olive Garden Breadsticks 10

“Famous” Breadsticks – make ’em famous in your kitchen, too!

Bake them while everyone’s around to drool, and serve them while still fresh and warm.  These are truly best when eaten the day they’re baked.  I’ll say no more.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (16 breadsticks)

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough
1/4 cup warm water (115 F)
1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 TB butter, softened (not melted)
2 TB white sugar
1 TB fine salt
1 1/4 cups + 2 TB warm water
oil spray

For the Topping
4 TB melted butter
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinches of grated Parmesan cheese
pinches of dried oregano

DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle yeast into 1/4 cup warm water.  Let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy.  Slowly add flour, butter, sugar, fine salt, and warm water (1 1/4 cups + 2 TB).  Mix until dough forms.  Dough should be just a little bit sticky, but still able to form a ball.  If needed, add a little bit of flour at a time until your dough reaches right consistency.

Knead dough by hand on lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until dough gets smooth and soft.  Roll dough into a 2-foot log.  With sharp knife, cut into 16 even pieces.  Keep pieces covered with cloth.  Knead each piece slightly and shape into 7-inch long breadstick.  Place breadsticks 2 in. apart on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Spray each piece with oil and cover with cloth.  Let rise in draft-free, warm spot until doubled.  About 45 min to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Brush breadsticks with half of the melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt evenly.  Bake on lower middle rack until lightly golden, about 13-14 minutes.  Watch closely to prevent over browning.

With breadsticks still hot on parchment-lined sheet, brush with remaining melted butter.  Sprinkle evenly with garlic, parmesan, and oregano.

Serve up while still warm!

By chewoutloud, adapted from food.com.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Zucchini

16 Aug Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo 5

My family, like many others, loves pasta.  I like mixing things up when it comes to pasta, as a fun way for the kids to get used to eating different ingredients (aka vegetables).  Fettuccine Alfredo is one of those comfort foods we all want to eat more of, but it tends to be heavy – with a bit of a healthier spin, we can feel good about indulging in this creamy yet lighter version!

Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Zucchini – healthier and tasty!

Many versions of Fettuccine Alfredo include lots of butter, heavy cream, and even cream cheese.  Yeah, OK, we love that stuff too.   You know I indulge in my fair share of butter and cream.  But for this particular pasta dish, it’s SO easy to pare down the fat and get fantastic flavor with plenty of creaminess.  Why not??

Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo 5

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo – Lighter and absolutely YUM

By using milk instead of the heavy cream and butter, we keep the creaminess of the Alfredo with less guilt.  Adding seasoned chicken breast and freshly sliced zucchini gives the dish a healthy boost of veggies and protein, with flavors that complement each other beautifully.  In fact, if you want to make it a meatless dish, just omit the chicken and add more veggies.

chicken zucchini fettuccine alfredo

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Zucchini – weeknight supper or weekend with guests

This Fettuccine Alfredo, like most, is best served immediately after cooking.  Make sure to go al dente on the pasta, as it continues to cook a bit after it is drained.  You probably already know this, but just in case – be sure not to rinse cooked pasta with cold water.  When cooked pasta gets rinsed with water, the pasta loses its absorbent starchy exterior, and sauces will not cling to the pasta well.  The best method is to always cook pasta in salted water to al dente and drain immediately.  Then add sauce to it while it’s still hot.  Mmmmm!

Chicken Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo 2

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Zucchini – goes beautifully with a crisp white wine

This chicken fettuccine alfredo with zucchini is awesome dressed up or down.  It makes a quick, fantastic weeknight meal if you prep some steps ahead of time.  It is also delicious and pretty enough for dinner guests on the weekend.  The farmer’s markets are full of fresh zucchini and basil right now, so it’s a perfect time to indulge!

RECIPE (4)

INGREDIENTS

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 green zucchini, sliced
1 yellow zucchini, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
5 TB extra virgin olive oil
12 oz fettuccine
1 TB + 1 tsp flour
2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup salted boiling water, reserved after pasta is drained
coarse kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

To saute zucchini, heat 2 TB olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add half of the chopped garlic, and cook until fragrant.  Add zucchini, stirring frequently, and cook until just tender.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste.  Saute another minute.  Set aside and keep warm.

Pound chicken breasts to even thinness.  Do this 1 at a time, on cutting board, covering chicken with cling wrap to prevent a mess.  Generously sprinkle chicken on both sides with kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Heat 2 TB oil in large skillet over medium high.  Pan fry chicken 2 pieces at a time, until just cooked – about 2 min/side, depending on thickness.  Take care not to overcook, or chicken will be tough.  Remove from heat, and let sit 3 minutes.  Cut chicken into strips and keep warm.

Begin boiling large pot of salted water while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:  Mix milk and flour in bowl.  Saute remaining chopped garlic in 1 TB oil in skillet over medium high for 30 seconds.  Add milk mixture and bring to boil while stirring.  Reduce heat to low and stir for a few more minutes.  Add parmesan cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Turn heat off and keep covered.

Cook fettuccine in boiling water to al dente.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, and drain the rest.  Do not rinse pasta.  Put drained pasta back into large pot and toss with sauce, zucchini, and chicken.  Add as much reserved pasta water as needed until desired consistency.  Gently toss in fresh chopped basil.  Serve immediately, sprinkling with additional parmesan.

Wine Pairing Note:  This pasta dish goes well with a Crisp (non-oaked) Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Unforgettable Tiramisu

28 Jun

Ah, an unforgettably sweet thing.  That’s what this Tiramisu is.  It’s simple to make yet has wow factor.  The taste?  Oh, so amazing.  The flavors of mascarpone cheese, coffee, and kahlua soak beautifully into the lady finger cookies.  The result is a sweet, airy light, gorgeous tiramisu that everyone will want more of.

Tiramisu: Lighly sweet mascarpone, coffee, and rum meld together perfectly

Tiramisu: Lady fingers cut in half and wrapped around = a sweet presentation

I wish I had a photo of the inside to show off, but I didn’t even have time to try, because it was gone that quickly.  With each bite, you get a creamy mascarpone sweet custard layered with lady fingers soaked in liquor and coffee.   Don’t use cream cheese in place of mascarpone.  Mascarpone has a delicate, soft, and creamy texture and taste that makes this custard delicious.  The tiramisu will need time to set overnight.

RECIPE (Serves 8-10, but our party of 6 ate the whole thing)
adapted from Gourmet

INGREDIENTS
3 cups very strong coffee (decaf is fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 rounded TB sugar
4 TB Kahlua liquor
3 TB rum
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup dry (not sweet) marsala
2 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup chilled heavy cream
2 pkgs (about 14 oz total) crisp ladyfinger cookies
unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
semi sweet chocolate for shaving, if desired

DIRECTIONS
Stir strong coffee, 1 TB sugar, Kahlua, and rum until sugar is dissolved.   Cool.

Beat egg yolks, Marsala, and 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl.  Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water.  Using a handheld electric mixer or whisk, mix until tripled in volume.  This takes about 8 min.  Remove from heat and beat mascarpone in until just combined.

Put heavy cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters.  Beat until stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream in mascarpone mixture gently, taking time to fully incorporate it.

One at a time, very gently dip both sides of each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, lining bottom of a 9-10 inch Springform pan (I use a 9 inch).  Dip and line as you go.  The ladyfingers can break apart, so don’t dip them too long.  About a 2-second dip on each side.  Trim any ladyfingers as needed so that it fits comfortably in pan.  Split mascarpone filling in half.  Spread half of the filling on top of ladyfingers.  Repeat dipping and lining for second layer of ladyfingers.  Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top.  Dust with cocoa.  Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.  Chill overnight in springform pan to set.

Carefully release sides of springform.  If your sides are slightly haphazard, no worries.  Take leftover ladyfingers, slice them in half, and use them to wrap around your Tiramisu.  Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Chicken Marsala

25 Jun

We love our Chicken Marsala.  I used to order it when dining out, but now it’s more fun and satisfying to cook up in the little kitchen.  This one never disappoints.  It’s on the healthier side if you can spare some butter, yet doesn’t skimp on big flavor.  It’s awesome as both a tasty family meal as well as a dish that’s worthy of dinner guests.  This Chicken Marsala features a tangy Marsala sauce poured over tender chicken fillets, flanked by cremini mushrooms, garlic, and shallots.  YUM!

Cremini mushrooms & shallots

Cremini mushrooms, or baby portabella, and shallots

All dressed up for company

I like to serve with buttered pasta, garlic sauteed spinach, and freshly grated Parmesan liberally sprinkled over entire dish. The Marsala sauce is poured over entire thing, seeping into the pasta.

Bless your chicken fillet with tons of Marsala sauce over it!  It’s super tasty over garlic-sauteed spinach and buttered pasta.  Pour that sauce over everything, and lay on the freshly grated parmesan!  Double, triple yummy goodness!

RECIPE (serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenderloin fillets
1 cup flour
1 TB salt
1 TB garlic powder
2 tsp pepper
8-10 TB butter
2 cups cremini (mini portabella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cup DRY Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
Olive oil for pan frying

DIRECTIONS
Mix together flour, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Set aside.

Melt 2-3 TB butter in large skillet.  Saute garlic and shallots until soft.  Add mushrooms and cook until soft.  Remove from pan and set aside (can keep in oven under “warm” setting)

Pour wine, chicken stock,  and 2 TB butter into skillet and boil until sauce is reduced by half.  Time will vary, depending on your skillet, but eyeball it the best you can.  Depending on how salty your chicken stock was, now you can add salt to taste, once your sauce is finished reducing.  Set sauce aside and keep warm.

Dry chicken fillets with paper towel.  Put pieces on cutting board, cover with cling wrap, and lightly pound them to about 1/3 in. thickness.  Dust each fillet with flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Melt 2 TB butter and 2 TB oil in large skillet.  Fry chicken fillets on medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side (or just until golden brown).  Repeat, working in batches until all chicken is done.  Remember not to overcrowd that pan, or your chicken ends up getting steamed rather than nicely browned.

Place chicken into serving dish or plates, or over buttered pasta (I like angel hair).  Spoon mushroom mixture over chicken.  Pour Marsala sauce generously over entire dish.  If pasta is on the dish, make sure it gets sauce over it too.  Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

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