Chicken Tetrazzini

This dish is a little different than Turkey Tetrazzini in that I don;t make a traditional Bechamel Sauce.  If you want that you can substitute one cup of chicken broth for one cup of milk.

INGREDIENTS:
(SERVES 2)

Mirepoix
• ½ Onion (Chopped)

Veggies
• 8 oz. Portabella mushrooms (stemmed and sliced)
• 1 large garlic (pressed)
• 3 Serrano peppers (seeded and sliced into circles)

Meat
• 4 medium chicken breasts

Herbs and Oil
• Butter
• 6 Tbsps. Olive Oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Paprika

Other
• 4 Tbsps. flour
• 3 cups chicken broth (or exchange 1 cup broth for 1 cup milk)
• ½ cup white wine
• ½ lemon – juiced
• Mozzarella (shredded)
• ½ cup Romano cheese (shredded)
• ½ cup Parmesan (shredded)
• 1 round bunch of Linguine noodle the circumference of a 25 cent coin

PREPARE:

1. In a sauce pan boil water and boil Linguine noodles exactly 10 minutes and drain and add olive oil
2. In a non-stick fry pan add a little olive oil and brown the chicken. Remove and cut the chicken into bite size chunks
3. In a non-stick fry pan add 1 Tbsps. Butter and brown the mushrooms and remove
4. In a non-stick fry pan add butter and sauté onions and add a little white wine and remove
5. In a Dutch oven blend 4 Tbsps. Olive oil and 4 Tbsps. Flour and whisk on medium heat until the flour starts to turn light brown (a Roux).
6. Add the remaining white wine and whisk until it turns into a thick paste
7. Add the chicken broth ½ cup at a time whisking until you make a thick gravy
8. Add all ingredients except Mozzarella cheese and preheat oven to 350⁰
9. Add the Mozzarella to the top and then paprika, cook 30 minutes with lid and 15 minutes without a lid

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Lasagna

Well worth the effort.

Tomato Sauce
5 Roma tomatoes (skinned)*
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP olive oil
½ cup dry red wine
1 can of tomato sauce

• (To skin a tomato cut an X on the top and bottom of the tomato, drop in boiling water until the skin starts to come off, rinse in cold water and pull off skin, chop tomatoes)

In a large cast iron skillet sauté tomato paste in oil, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook on low for 2 hours. Periodically mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. After an hour of cooking when the water from the tomatoes has evaporated, mash the pulp again add ½ cup of red wine. Later add the can of tomato sauce and flavored olive oil and warm a little on low then cool.

Pasta
In a food processor, several pulses don’t over work:
1 ¼ cups of flour
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
Tad bit of olive oil

Knead the dough. Cut into six quarters, run through a pasta machine on setting 3 then setting 6. This will yield 6 pasta pieces.  Boil in water 1 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Eggplant
Slice the eggplant ¼ inch – 6 pieces. In a baking sheet paint olive oil on both sides and cook in a 350ᵒ oven for 10 minutes.

Flavored Olive Oil
In a small sauce pan add:
2 TBSP EVOO
1 garlic clove sliced into coins
1 handful of fresh basil leaves

Sauté for ten minutes on low or until you can smell the fragrance of everything coming together.

Italian Sausage Meat
½ green pepper diced
½ red pepper diced.
½ onion chopped
1 lb. Fresh Mild Italian Pork Sausage (from sausage casings is good too)
1 TPSP olive oil

In a large cast iron Dutch oven sauté the peppers and onion then add the meat and slightly brown. Not too much as the oven later will finish them.

Ricotta
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil chopped
1 – 15 oz. container of ricotta
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs

In a large bowl mix all ingredients.

~~~

In a 2 ½ quart Corning Ware casserole dish layer as follows:

1st Layer – sauce, then pasta
2nd Layer – sauce, ricotta cheeses mix, pasta
3rd Layer – sauce, eggplant, pasta
4th Layer – sauce, meat mix, no-pasta on top
5th Layer – parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese

In a 350ᵒ oven bake Lasagna, let rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Chicken Parmigiana w/Eggplant

This is a wonderful dish and easy to make.

• 2 large chicken breasts cut in half and pounded flat (~1/2 inch thick)
• 4 whole slices of eggplant
• 4 thick slices of Mozzarella (ask in the deli, mine comes from Wisconsin, not found in a bag)
• 4 large basil leaves
• Parmesan cheeses grated (for topping)
• Italian bread crumbs
• 2 eggs
• Thin spaghetti
• 4 Tbsp Butter and olive oil mix
• Audubon Ron Special Sunday Tomato Sauce or your special sauce
• Olive Oil (or Special Sunday Tomato Sauce olive oil, sauté 1 large garlic clove and several basil leaves in ¼ cup olive oil, let cool and strain)

Make your Audubon Ron Special Sunday Tomato Sauce before hand or use whatever sauce you like. It should be thick and full of tomato pulp. My sauce takes about 2 hours to make, mostly simmering.

Drag the chicken through egg and Italian bread crumbs and fry in butter/EVOO until golden brown on both sides. If you fry the chicken in batches, wipe the pan each time and add fresh butter. Set aside.

Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and paint EVOO on both sides and place in a 350ᵒ oven for 10 minutes. Care is needed not to overcook.

Stack the ingredients. On top of the chicken place eggplant, then the basil leaves, (pour a dash of Special Sunday Tomato Sauce olive oil) or olive oil, then add the tomato sauce, then the Mozzarella cheese and then sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Place on baking sheet and cook in 350ᵒ oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve over thin spaghetti.

 

Audubon Ron Special Sunday Tomato Sauce

The Sicilian’s call a rich tomato sauce a Sunday Tomato Gravy. I have futzed around with this sauce for a very long time. Fortunately, I have two very important cooking influences. One is Cajun Gumbo Roux based foods and the other is New York/New Jersey style Italian cooking tomato gravy based foods.

The idea here on the Italian side is to make thick rich tomato gravy separate from the other stuff. Usually tomato gravy is cooked with meats. But, I find good Roma tomatoes with a lot of pulp and go to work on the tomato gravy separate and apart.

First I cut crosses on the tops and bottoms of each tomato. Then I boil them in boiling water for several minutes until the skin starts to come off. I remove them from the pot with tongs and place them under cold water and peel the skin off. I cut them up and place them into a small food processor where I chop them maybe 10 pushes of the button.

I fry them in a wide hot cast iron skillet with one TBSP olive oil and two TBSP of tomato paste for several minutes and then I put the fire on simmer and let the tomatoes cook where the fluids evaporate (~1 hour). Then I mash them with a potato masher and add a cup of dry red wine. I then simmer them again for another hour in the wine and turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. No salt, no pepper, no sugar, I’ll address that later.

In a separate small sauce pan I sauté on low heat a large chopped clove of garlic and a bunch of fresh basil from my garden in a ¼ cup of olive oil. I cook on low until I can see a little bubbling on the sides (~20 minutes). Remove from heat, let cool and strain the oil, discard the basil and garlic. I then add 4 TBSPs of the strained oil to the tomato gravy and mix. THE BEST!!! Tomato gravy, no sugar, naturally sweet from the basil and wine and strong.

I add that sauce to any dish, mostly on pasta.

BTW, pasta is so easy make. Put 1¼ cups flour and two eggs in a food processor with 1 TBSP olive oil and pulse until you got a big ball of dough…You got pasta dough. Cut it and put it through a pasta maker. Boil it one minute and serve…

 

 

Ragù alla Marinara Sauce

 

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(click on pic to enlarge)

There seems to be a tomato sauce and a Ragù sauce from every city in Italy, which would be a couple of different sauces for every day of the year. There are differences in each and some of them totally different. The sauces can range in a spectrum of a meat gravy to a thick paste. Some are sweet and some not so much. This dish is a sweet Ragù alla Marinara Sauce.

A Ragù is a “meat-based” tomato sauce commonly served with pasta. I have listed a Roman Ragù recipe on this blog. The Roman Ragù sauce is mostly meat gravy with vegetables (soffritto) where tomatoes are added for color to minced carrots, celery and onions. A Bolognese Ragù is a Roman Ragù with cream or milk added.

A Marinara sauce is a “thick” Italian sauce without meat. It originated in Naples, usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs (mostly basil), and onions. The story goes this sauce was prepared by sailors (mariners) for the sauce’s ability to resist spoilage owing to the acid in the tomato. Mostly Italian-Americans refer to the sauce as a Marinara but it is called a Napolitana sauce in other parts of the world.

A Napoletan Ragù (from Naples) has lots of onions, a soffritto and big chunks of beef that cook in the tomatoes for many hours. In this recipe I use ground beef, ground pork and a thick slice of prosciutto chopped – no soffritto. The selection of meat is not the issue as the absence of a soffritto is a noticeable departure.

So to be precise, I call this Ragù alla Marinara Sauce. To make a “thick”, sweet, red sauce I use tomato puree instead of a tomato sauce. Puree is much thicker. I pre-blend tomato paste in red wine. I cook it in a frying pan versus a sauce pan to put a larger heat area under the sauce and cook it for an hour or more on low. Periodically, I add a little stock to keep it moist but I want to serve it as thick as ketchup.

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Serves 2 -4
Meat:
• 1 – ¼” slice of prosciutto (diced)
• ½ Lb. ground pork
• ½ Lb. ground beef

Sauce
• 2 large Roma tomatoes (peeled and mashed)
• ½ yellow onion chopped
• ½ green pepper chopped (a New Orleans thing)
• 2 garlic cloves (sliced cross ways into tiny coins)
• ½ cup of dry red wine plus a few dashes (Chianti or Burgundy)
• 1 TBSP tomato paste (mixed in the wine)
• 1 – 10 oz. can tomato puree
• ½ cup veal stock (beef or chicken stock will also work)
• Fresh basil leaves
• Salt and Pepper
• 1 TBSP brown sugar
• 1 TBSP olive oil

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First, I fry the prosciutto in olive oil and then remove. BTW, that frying pan is my grandmother’s and is at least 75 years old.  Love it!

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I then add the meat. I do this to create a “fond”. This is done to glaze the meat and then add some sort of fluid to de-glaze the pan. This releases the meat flavor. I remove the meat.

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I add the onions, garlic and green pepper and sauté.

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I add the Roma tomatoes (peeled and mashed) and ½ cup of dry red wine with the 1 TBSP tomato paste mixed in on a high heat.

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I let that reduce to a point when the wine has evaporated.

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I then add the 1 – 10 oz. can tomato puree, brown sugar, salt and pepper and reduce the heat to low and cook that for 30 minutes covered. I add a little veal or beef stock to keep it moist.

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Now I return all the meat and fresh basil. I always add fresh herbs last to make sure the flavor is not overcooked.  I increase the heat until it starts to bubble then cover and turn to low and cook 45 minutes covered.

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When done it should look like this.

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I serve on thin spaghetti and then add grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

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Don’t that good???