Wednesday, May 26, 2021

ITALIAN ANTIPASTI

Castelvetrano olives, red grapes, Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, Genoa salami, Calabrese salami, and Brown Turkey figs. . .a feast for the eyes and little bites for the stomach.



 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

CHICKEN MARSALA IN TOMATO SAUCE

If you love tomato sauce and chicken marsala, you will love this version.  This comes together in less than 30 minutes.  It's a perfect weeknight and weekend meal served with pasta and a green salad.




¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ t dried oregano
¼ t onion powder
½ t sea salt
¼ t finely ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, lengthwise
3 T olive or avocado oil, divided
1 cup cleaned and thinly sliced mushrooms (white or cremini)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
¼ to ½ t red pepper flakes
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup whole tomatoes, hand crushed, preferably San Marzano
½ cup Marsala wine
¼ cup pasta cooking water (to thin sauce, if needed)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Cooked and drained pasta.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, oregano, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Coat the chicken with the seasonings and set aside on a platter or pizza pan.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Remove chicken to the same platter or pizza pan and set aside.

Add the last 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the mushrooms until golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook one more minute.
Pour in the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and wine.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Arrange the chicken in the sauce and simmer for 12 minutes, until chicken is tender.
Add the ¼ cup of pasta water, to thin sauce slightly, if needed.
Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite pasta tossed with some of the tomato sauce.

Serves 2 to 4

Monday, May 10, 2021

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH CHEESE

It is asparagus season here in the south.  Here is another recipe to enjoy, if you like cheese . . . and who doesn't?


1 lb fresh asparagus, ends snapped or cut off
3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup grated asiago cheese

Spread the asparagus evenly in a single layer on a medium sheet pan.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Drizzle mixture over asparagus and evenly cover, using your hands.

Bake in oven for 13 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and turn oven to broil.
Sprinkle cheeses over asparagus, mostly in the center.
Return to oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly brown.

It is so delicious!

Serves 4

Friday, May 7, 2021

SPAGHETTI WITH WHTE CLAM SAUCE - Spaghetti alle Vongole Bianche

This recipe has a lot of fresh middle neck clams (from the Chesapeake Bay) and clam juice infused with white wine, olive oil, and finished off with butter.  Serve this with crusty bread for sopping up the juices.  Grated cheese is optional, but most Italians say that's a "no-no", but we like it with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.



2 dozen clams (middle neck clams to the smaller little neck).
2 T water
½ cup dry white wine
½ lb spaghetti 
2 T olive oil 
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 t fresh oregano leaves
2 T unsalted butter
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
2 T finely chopped Italian parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)

Fill a large bowl with cool water.  Add 2 t of sea salt (not iodized salt) and let the clams sit in the cool water for 20 to 30 minutes, but no more.  Gently spoon them into a colander and rinse them a couple more minutes with cool tap water.

In a large pot that you will boil the pasta in, bring water and wine to a boil.  Add the clams, cover, and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, until clams open. 
Discard any clams that failed to open.

Pour clams and juice from pot into a large mesh strainer, set over a large bowl to catch the juices.  Remove all but about 8 to 10 clams from their shells and roughly chop.  Place them in a smaller bowl.  Leave the rest of the clams in their shells and place in a bowl, covered to keep warm.  Set all three bowls aside.

Meanwhile, in the same large pot, cook the spaghetti 7 to 8 minutes in salted water until al dente.  Before draining reserve one ladle of pasta water; pour one over the clams in their shells to keep then warm.

In a large skillet large enough to hold the pasta and sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallot for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and butter and sauté another minute.
Add the chopped clams and clam broth.  Cook one more minute.
Season lightly with salt and pepper and add the lemon zest and juice.
Add the drained pasta to the pan along with the parsley.  Heat for just a minute or two while tossing with a pair of tongs, until well combined.

Divide into 2 warm pasta bowls and garnish each bowl with the clams in the shells along with the juice in the bowl.
 Pour the rest of the hot clam broth from from the skillet over each bowl.

Sprinkle with some of the parsley, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and serve with grated cheese, if desired.

Serves 2