The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Mock Risotto May 2, 2009

Filed under: Cheese,Pasta,Vegetarian — xigumdrops @ 11:55 am
Tags: , , ,

mock-risotto
I’m finally back! It’s been awhile as I’ve been super busy at work. This was an awesome alternative to labor-intensive risotto and a “light” recipe! It works well as a vegetarian main dish but I served it was simple baked chicken.

Source: eatingwell.com

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups instant brown rice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups vegetable or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, plus more for passing
1/4 cup minced chives or scallion greens

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until soft and just beginning to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add rice and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Remove cover and spread asparagus and bell pepper on top of the simmering rice- – do not stir into the rice mixture. Replace cover and continue simmering, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the liquid is almost absorbed and the asparagus is bright green but still crisp, about 5 minutes.
3. Add peas and cream cheese; stir until the mixture if creamy and the cheese is incorporated. Return to a simmer and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and the asparagus is tender, abut 5 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup of Asiago cheese. Serve topped and chives/scallions and additional grated cheese.

Advertisements
 

Baked Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil November 28, 2008

stuffed-chicken

This is an easy to-prepare dish that looks and takes fabulous.  The original recipe calls to grill the chicken but I prefer to bake it so I’ve included the baking instructions here.  To save on cutting time and costs, I used a 3 cheese Italian blend which is also much easier to work with than fresh mozzarella.  I served the chicken with fried okra but it would be great with a caesar salad or maybe a light pasta side?     

Adapted from:  Fine Cooking

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1.5 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 large basil leaves

1/4 Lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (I used 3 cheese Italian blend, pre-shredded)

4 thin slices prosciutto (should be long enough to wrap all the way around the chicken breasts)

1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Cut through each chicken breast horizontally almost all the way through and open it like a book. Sprinkle the chicken all over with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper (total for 1.5 pounds chicken).  Layer the basil and mozzarella evenly on half of each breast and then fold it closed.  Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each breast to hold it closed and then brush lightly on both sides with the olive oil.

3.  Bake on foil lined sheet for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

 

“Reblochon” Tarts with Bacon and Fingerling Potatoes September 22, 2008

The magazine where I found this recipe fails to point out that Reblochon cheese is next to impossible to find in the US.  I went to Whole Foods to find this cheese and the cheese man (?) wished me luck.  He pointed out an alternative that had “Reblochon”, literally in quotes, on the label.  I subbed half of this “reblochon” want-to-be with some Fontina cheese to mellow out the flavors.  Changes in green.

Source:  Food & Wine

2 medium fingerling potatoes

4 slices bacon

1 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 small red onion sliced into rings)

All-purpose flour, for rolling

1/2 pound cold all-butter puff pastry

1/4 pound Reblochon cheese, rind removed and cheese thinly sliced (“Reblochon”) and 1/8 pound Fontina thinly sliced

 

1.  In a small saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil.  Cook over high heat until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.  Drain, then peel and thinly slice crosswise.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to paper towels.  Cut the slices in thirds.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Pour off the bacon fat in the skillet and add the oil.  Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened and browned, about 15 minutes; add water as necessary, 1 Tbs. at a time, to prevent scorching.  Transfer the onion to a bowl; season with salt and pepper.

4.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry to an 11-inch square,  Using a plate as your guide, cut out four 5-inch rounds.  Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet and prick them all over with a fork.  (I did not have time for rounds and simply cut the dough into 4 squares which saved a bit of time.)

5.  Bake the rounds in the center of the oven for 8 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Using the back of a fork, deflate the rounds and bake for about 4 minutes longer, until the pastry is set.  (I found that I had to prick a few holes in the dough after the second bake to keep the puffs down.)

6.  Top the pastry rounds with the onion, potato slices, bacon and cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the pastry is browned.  Transfer tarts to plates; serve hot or warm.

 

Creamy Pasta with Tomato Confit and Fresh Goat Cheese

This was a lot of work and I’m not quite sure about the payoff in comparison.  The ending result was quite good but some of the steps were very time consuming: i.e. poaching the tomatoes.  I’m not sure the result would have been much different if you just added diced tomatoes while cooking the pasta.  That would cut down on at least 20 minutes cooking time.

Source:  Food & Wine

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil for poaching

3 plum tomatoes – peeled, quartered and seeded

2 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

Kosher salt

1/2 pound ditalini or other small-cut pasta (1 1/2 cups)

3 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)

1/2 tightly packed freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving

Freshly ground pepper

2 Tbs. snipped chives

2 Tbs. finely shredded basil leaves

 

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the olive oil with the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and half of the garlic and bring to a simmer.  Cook over low heat until the tomatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.  Discard the thyme and bay leaf.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a work surface and coarsely chop them; reserve the olive oil for another use.

2.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.  Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until golden in spots, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining garlic; cook for 1 minute.

3.  Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the pasta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed.  Continue adding the chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and cooking until it is nearly absorbed between additions.  The pasta is done with it is al dente and suspended in a lightly thickened sauce, about 17 minutes total.

4.  Stir the tomatoes into the pasta.  Off the heat, add the goat cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper, stir in the chives and basil and serve right away, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

 

Baked Orecchiette with Pork Sugo September 21, 2008

Filed under: Cheese,Holiday,Italian,Pasta,Pork — xigumdrops @ 8:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

A great dish for entertaining.  I served it with toasted fresh bread and tomato bruschetta.  It would also be great with a simple salad.  I reserved about 1/2 cup of the pork liquids prior to processing and added it to the casserole dish with the pasta.  I think it would be even better adding 2 diced fresh tomatoes and possibly some tomato paste or sauce before baking in step 3 as well. Comments in green.

Source:  Food & Wine

3 1/4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces (3 pounds with large fat pieces removed)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cup dry red wine

4 thyme sprigs

5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

2 Tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbs. chopped oregano

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 1/2 pounds orecchiette

2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (7 ounces)

 

1.  Season the pork with salt and pepper.  In a large enameled cast-iron casserole (large non-stick skillet), heat the olive oil until shimmering.  Add the pork in a single layer and cook over moderately high heat until the pieces are golden brown all over, about 12 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cook until softened and browned in spots, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer.  Add the red wine and thyme springs and cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the pork is very tender, about 2 hours.  I couldn’t fit the stock in my largest skillet so I poured all of the ingredients into my 8 quart stock pot for the 2 hour cooking.

2.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and vegetables to a food processor; discard the thyme sprigs.  Pulse just until the pork is shredded.  Scrape the shredded pork and vegetables back into the casserole.  Stir in the chopped parsley, oregano and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper.  This would be a great time to add some fresh diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup reserved pork stock, and some tomato paste or sauce.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until it is still firm to the bite, about 5 minutes; drain well.  Add the orecchiette to the casserole and toss with the pork sauce.  Scrape the pasta into a very large baking dish and sprinkle all over the the Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I sprinkled the cheese all over the top and then “pushed” the cheese into the pasta and then sprinkled all over again.  Bake the casserole in the upper third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling.  Let the baked pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving.