Wednesday, October 25, 2017

PAPPARDELLE WITH A MUSHROOM & BACON SAUCE

You can make this delicious pasta dish with any pasta you prefer and in under 30 minutes. I I think it works best with a flat ribbon-type of pasta. This is perfect for a weeknight meal.



8 oz pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettuccine pasta
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, or you favorite, chopped
12 cremini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ t grated nutmeg
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly chopped Italian parsley, divided
Shaved Parmigiano, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, once boiling, add a couple of teaspoons of salt.

While water is waiting to boil, cook bacon over medium heat until almost crisp.
Add mushrooms and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to directions, for al dente.

Add garlic to skillet along with butter and cook another minute.
Add half-and-half or milk, grated Parmigiano, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, and most of the parsley.

Add the cooked pasta and stir to evenly coat in sauce.

Divide pasta between two warm pasta bowls.
Sprinkle with remaining parsley and add a few shavings of Parmigiano.

Serves 2 as a main course
Serves 3 to 4 as a primi piatti (first dish)


Saturday, October 21, 2017

MUSSELS WITH GARLIC & WHITE WINE

This is such an easy, quick, and delicious recipe to make. You can't find it any better in a fine restaurant. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips: 
Ask your fishmonger if your mussels are wild or cultivated. If they are wild, make sure they have beards attached. Do not remove beards until just before cooking. Removing the beards causes the mussels to slowly die. Wild mussels have a strong, more gamey taste. Cultivated mussels do not have any noticible beards and have a more delicate taste. 


2 lbs live fresh mussels, wild or cultivated
2 T avocado oil
4 T unsalted butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
1 t fresh thyme leaves or ½ t dried thyme
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
½ t saffron threads (optional)
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped Italian parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving
Crusty Italian or French bread

Scrub the mussels with a brush under cold running water and place in a large bowl in your refrigerator. Discard any broken shells.

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat.
Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, thyme, red pepper flakes, and saffron, if using.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Remove beards from wild mussels with a pair of "kitchen-only" needle-nose pliers or by hand, just before cooking. 
Add wine to the pot and bring to a boil.
Add mussels, cover, reduce heat and simmer until shells open, about 6 to 7 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.

Ladle into a warm serving bowl or two warm bowls and garnish with parsley.

Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread for dipping.

Serves 2

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WILD MUSHROOM SOUP - Zuppa di Funghi

Cool evenings are perfect for this wild mushroom soup. The addition of Marsala wine adds a wonderful flavor to the soup. Marsala wine is a fortified wine named for the city in Sicily. This can be served as a first course in smaller bowls or as a main entree with a salad or panino. 


1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 oz dried portabella mushrooms
3 T avocado oil
3 T unsalted butter
1 lb wild mixed mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, cremini) wiped clean and sliced
2 cipollini onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 shallots, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T flour
2 t finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Marsala wine
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Italian bread, sliced and grilled or fried with a little extra-light olive oil
White truffle oil, for drizzling (optional)

Place the dried porcini and portabella mushrooms in a bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover; set aside.
Heat the oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium high heat.
Add the wild mushrooms and cook until golden and their liquid has evaporate, about 20 minutes.
Remove the porcini mushrooms from the liquid, chop, and add to the pot. Save the liquid.
Add the cipollini onions and shallots and sauté another 10 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Sprinkle flour into pot and cook, while constantly stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the thyme and bay leaves.

Add the wine to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon.

Strain the porcini and portabella liquid through a fine mesh strainer and add to the pot.
Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Before serving, remove bay leaves and stir in the chopped parsley.

Ladle into soup bowls, add a slice or two of the Italian bread, sprinkle with grated cheese and a little drizzle of truffle oil, if desire.

Serves 4

ELISABETTA GRECO NOVIELLO



This is Elisabeth, aka "Mamaw" in her kitchen in Richmond, Virginia, stirring the salted pasta water. She was always in her kitchen cooking. She was raised in Little Italy, New York City before moving to Portsmouth, Virginia. She met Ernesto Noviello who was from Montefalcione, Italy in Portsmouth, Virginia. They were married on the 26th of October 1919. I took this photo back in the mid 1970s and told her to stir something. She stirred the boiling pasta water. Ernesto changed his name to Ernest Novello.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

ITALIAN SAUSAGES WITH PEPPERS & ONIONS OVER POLENTA

This recipe is similar to the recipe in my Italian cookbook. I changed it sightly by adding a tomato-wine sauce.



Polenta
2 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
½ t sea salt
1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
2 T unsalted butter
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sausages
2 T avocado oil, divided
4 bell peppers, various colors, seeded and sliced
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t red pepper flakes
4 good quality Italian sausages, hot or mild
1 t freeze-dried or chopped fresh oregano
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and chicken stock to a boil, then add the sea salt.
Add the polenta to the saucepan in a gentle stream, whisking as you pour.
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent it from sticking.
Remove from stove, add the butter and grated Parmigiano cheese
Set aside with a lid to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the peppers, and onion and cook for 7 to 8 minutes; stirring often.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute.
Spoon mixture into a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the other tablespoon of oil and over medium heat, cook the sausages for 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
Add the oregano, tomato paste, wine, and water.
Cook another 10 minutes.
Add the cooked peppers and onion and simmer another 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon over polenta and serve with additional Parmigiano cheese, if desired.

Serves 4




Monday, October 9, 2017

ROASTED CHICKEN LEGS WITH BACON & CRISPY CROUTONS

My husband absolutely loves this one pot meal. It is an excellent autumn dish to serve for your family or guests. The bread gets so crispy but moist and delicious on the inside.


1 cup Italian or sourdough bread, chopped into bite size pieces

4 whole chicken legs
4 slices applewood or peppered bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Yukon Gold potatoes or 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium red onion or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 cremini mushrooms, cleaned, ends trimmed, left whole or cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
4 sprigs oregano, leaves removed
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
¼ t red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, add the chicken legs.
Scatter the bacon around and on top of the chicken.

In a large bowl, combine the chopped bread, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic, butter, oil, oregano leaves, thyme leaves, and red pepper flakes.
Toss to combine and pour over and around chicken legs.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bake 45 minutes, or until chicken registers, in thickest part of thigh, 165 degrees F.

Serves 4