Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bacon Meatballs Over Rigatoni







Today we had a little snow storm and I didn't feel like going out to the grocery store. I looked in my fridge and pantry and this is what I came up with from what I had on hand and it turned out amazing! 
For the meatballs:
5-6 slices of bacon
1/2 of a large shallot
1 large clove of garlic
1-2 tablespoons of parsley
I put all this in a chopper until finely diced then mixed it with:
1 1/2 pound of ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 cup diced italian bread moistened and squeezed dry
1/2 cup of grated cheese (I use a 50/50 blend of romano and parmesan)
salt and pepper to taste

I fried them up in a large skillet, removed them when golden and poured off all the the oil except 2 tablespoons. Next I added 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, I just smash them a bit and add them whole so they can be removed if someone doesn't want to eat it. I deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup of red wine, cooked it down a bit and then added 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes in juice that I pureed in the blender. I added some salt, pepper and fresh basil to the tomatoes, brought it to a boil, added the meatballs back to the pot and simmered it for an hour. I served it over rigatoni but I think it would be delicious over cheesy polenta too!! 





 This would work perfectly for company with a nice antipasto or salad and a nice crusty loaf of bread or garlic bread. A nice bottle of wine make the perfect meal!! I hope you try this, enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Panko and Parmesan Crusted Chicken Caprese

Tonight I tried something new, I took one of my go to recipes for parmesan and panko crusted chicken and gave it a little caprese twist. First I melted a stick of butter with a large clove of smashed garlic. Next I made a dredge with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, a 2-1 ratio the panko being the larger and added a tiny pinch of salt and some fresh cracked black pepper. Now to prep the chicken breast I made 4 slits on each one not going all the way through, now dip the chicken in the butter and coat well with the panko mixture pressing it in good. Now add a slice of tomato and a basil leaf into each slit.




 They looks so pretty at this point.
Now bake them at 350 for about a 30 minutes depending on how large your chicken breast are, I added some shredded mozzarella to melt over the top right before I removed them from the oven. I served them with a side of pearl couscous and a garnish of basil. This was quick, easy and delicious!! 
*great prep ahead dinner for guests
*a nice glass pf prosecco would pair perfectly 
*the addition of a slice of prosciutto would dress it up nicely
*I didn't really measure anything 
*I hope you try this and enjoy it

Friday, September 9, 2016

Ricotta and Egg Yolk Raviolo in a Sage Buttter Sauce


 I have been wanting to make these for a while now but was a little intimidated. Let me tell you they were easy as pie except for placing the yolk without breaking it, you must be very gentle. I must admit I broke a few so make extra if serving a certain amount of guests. First I made a basic pasta recipe with just flour and eggs, I added a little salt and pepper but you don't have to.



 Next I mixed the dough by hand and ran it through the pasta maker to make sheets. The key to this step is to roll the sheets out thin enough so the egg yolk doesn't cook before the pasta does, you want it to remain runny, it take a little practice. After the pasta was all rolled out it was time to fill them. You can season the ricotta if you like with parsley, grated parmesan, salt and pepper, maybe even a little lemon zest would be nice. 



 At this point I put the top sheet of pasta over the raviolo's and cut out circles with a large enough glass to leave at least a 1/4 border, you can use a mold ring also or whatever you have that will do the job. Make sure you are still being gentle so you don't break the yolk and you get all the air out. After I got them cut out I sealed them with the back of a fork.

Start your sauce by simply melting butter with some sage leaves, I added a little heavy cream but it is not necessary. Pasta never waits for sauce!!! Now get your salted water to a boil, not too strong, and drop the raviolo in with a large slotted spoon you can't do too many at a time maybe 3 or 4. This is not a recipe for a large crowd they really have to be make to order 4 guest at the most if you want everyone to get their plate at the same time. As soon as the raviolo are ready coat them with the sauce and serve immediately, garnish with parmesan, cracked black pepper and a sage leaf or two. 
Please give this recipe a try, whoever you make it for will be totally impressed!!
*a simple salad and garlic bread to soak up the runny egg yolk makes a perfect date night dinner
**the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach ;)
***you can add a little of the starchy pasta water to the butter and sage sauce to give it a little body

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pasta with Prosciutto Artichoke hearts and Brie

Tonight I had pasta on my mind, with no specific recipe I went into the kitchen with Mr. Martini and winged it. I used my fridge and pantry to come up with this dish and it's always when the meal tastes the best!! I started out with a jar of store bought marinated artichoke hearts, prosciutto and brie from the fridge and a pound of pasta. Fresh basil and garlic bruschetta added freshness.This is a no cook pasta sauce, dump bowl pasta if you will!! First I chopped up the jar of marinated artichoke hearts, next I sliced up the prosciutto, about 5-6 slices, and diced up 6oz of brie. Now I set the pot of pasta water to boil with plenty of salt added to the water. Sauce waits for the pasta always!! I tossed the sauce ingredients with extra olive oil. When the pasta was al dente I mixed it all together with the addition of fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste.


Then I decided to make a garlic bruschetta by simply grilling a ciabatta loaf rubbing it with a fresh garlic clove , drizzling it with olive oil and topping it with grated parmesan.


*you can make this meal in less than an hour
**super tasty and economical
***company impressive 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tortellini, Bacon and Smoked Mozzarella Cheesecake


Fresh chicken eggs are what inspired this recipe, and what goes better with eggs than bacon and cheese? 



                                                                                                                          First I baked the bacon, I always bake my bacon. Next I beat 5 eggs with a 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and seasoned them with a little pinch of salt and black pepper. Go easy on the salt because the bacon and the cheese are salty on their own. I chose to use cheese stuffed tortellini but you can really uses any pasta of your choice.
Now I set the pasta to boil, keep them a little al dente because you are going to bake it also. While the pasta was boiling I grated 1/2 pound of smoked mozzarella. When the pasta was done I drained it and set it aside to cool because if you add the eggs when the pasta is hot they will scramble and the cheese will melt. While I was waiting for the pasta to cool I chopped up the bacon. Then I mixed it together in a large bowl, the pasta, bacon, eggs mixture, the smoked mozzarella and I added a cup or more of ricotta cheese until it was well incorporate. At this point I prepared a 9 inch spring form pan by greasing it well with butter and coated the butter with panko bread crumbs. I added the pasta mixture to the pan and topped it with more panko crumbs. I baked it at 350 until it was set and bubbling about 40-45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it set up a bit before cutting into it so the slices stay together.
*You can add fresh parsley or any herb of your choice, green onion would be a nice addition too.
**It's a great make ahead meal for a dinner party, you can put it together the day before and spend time with your guests while it bakes.
***A nice salad, a bottle of wine and dessert and your dinner is complete!!
****HAPPY COOKING, CHEERS!!         

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Fettuccine With Shrimp And Prosciutto

Today I had fresh pasta on my mind. I love making fresh pasta, I don't know why I don't do it more often. It is quick, easy, fun and economical. I had a bag of shrimp in the freezer and some leftover prosciutto from pizza night and I rolled with it, my favorite way to cook! There are no specific measurements of ingredients for this recipe. First I sauteed the shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper in butter and garlic. Then I deglazed the pan with lemon juice and white wine, added a nice splash of heavy cream and a pinch of chopped parsley, turned the heat off to rest while I boiled the pasta. Pasta never waits for sauce, sauce always waits for the pasta, especially fresh pasta. 


 Next I dropped the fresh pasta, don't hesitate to make this once in your life!! 3 1/2 cups of flour and 4 extra large eggs.

 
When the pasta was cooked I tossed it all together in the pan, topped it with prosciutto and garnished it with fresh chopped parsley. The hardest part of this recipe was making the pasta and that only takes about an hour or so once you learn the technique, you need to get a couple of batches under your belt and a pasta maker to master this but it is well worth the effort and it is fun (bonus)! I hope you try this recipe to impress guests or just yourself.
*A nice tossed salad, garlic bread and wine is a perfect meal for a dinner party!
**Always remember to taste as you cook and re-season if needed.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Valentina Chicken Wings

I created these wing when I was introduced to Valentina Hot Sauce by my Mexican amigos. Everyone who tastes them loves them and wants the recipe so here it is and it could not be simpler! I just season the chicken with Adobo, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, toss and rub it in good. Now it is up to you whether you want to grill them or put them in the oven, I quite honestly prefer the oven at 375 until nice and crispy I use my convection setting. This time I decided to add some thighs, equally delicious. Next I added some Valentina to a sauce pan and tossed in a chunk of butter and basted the chicken after it was nice and crispy a few times on each side, then finished them under the broiler for a few minute. Watch them carefully the Valentina seems to brown much quicker that other hot sauces I have used. Compared to other hot sauces Valentina seems to have a lot more flavor and a smoky undertone. Today is the Super Bowl so I am going to try this on a whole roasting chicken.




* I prefer to use whole chicken wing I find them to be more flavorful
** My favorite tequila made it into the photo ;)