Monthly Archives: February 2014

Risotto with Country Mushrooms (Risotto ai Funghi)

Risotto_ai_Funghi1 (1 of 1)You must have patience when preparing this dish, but it’s well worth the effort — this risotto is creamy and very flavorful! If you don’t take the time to gradually add the stock to the rice, you’ll end up with a crunchy risotto that’s far too al dente (trust me). This dish makes for a perfect, light evening meal — serve with fresh sourdough bread and a glass of white wine. I hope you’ll try this tonight!

1 cup (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups boiling water
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 lb fresh “exotic” mushrooms, sliced (I used half shiitake, half oyster)
2 1/2  tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups uncooked arborio rice
1/2 dry white wine
6 cups chick stock
2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

In a small bowl, cover mushrooms with boiling water. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Chop mushrooms.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add garlic and saute 3 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms, and turn heat up to medium-high. Saute 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in porcini mushrooms, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft, Risotto_ai_Funghi2 (1 of 1)about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir 1 1/2 tsp salt into the stock. Now, this is where your patience kicks in — add stock to rice mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring each time until it has been absorbed. About half-way through, stir in the reserved mushroom liquid. Continue stirring in stock. This entire process should take about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the mushrooms, parmesan and 1 Tbsp of the chopped parsley. Cover and let stand a few minutes. Serve, topping with additional parmesan and parsley.

Serves 4.

Indian Beef Stew (Rogan Josh)

Rogan_Josh2 (1 of 1) Last night was snowy and cold once again here in New England — a perfect evening for Rogan Josh! This Indian stew is commonly made with lamb, but I decided to make it with beef, since the roads were bad and this is what I had on-hand in the freezer. Beef works well. The aroma from the wonderful spices in this dish made the whole house smell great as it was braising in the oven. Whether it’s cold or not where you are, I think you’ll like this dish, so please try it tonight!

2 inches ginger, peeled and finely grated
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 Tbsp plus 15 oz water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
10 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
6 cloves
10 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp plain yogurt
1/4 tsp garam masala
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add ginger, garlic and 4 Tbsp water to a blender. Blend into a paste.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add meat and stir until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add another Tbsp oil to the same pan. Add the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon. Stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger paste and stir 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt and stir another 30 seconds. Add back the meat with its juices. Add the yogurt 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring well after each. Cook mixture about 3 minutes.

Add 15 oz water to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze. Cover, place in oven and cook for 2 hours. Remove from oven and stir in garam masala. Season with additional salt and ground black pepper, if desired. Serve with steamed long-grain or basmati rice, as well as an assortment of relishes, chutneys and naan.

Serves 4.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Rosemary and White Wine (Involtini di Pollo)

Involtini_di_Pollo1 (1 of 1)This is an incredibly easy dish to prepare, yet the end results make it look like you slaved in the kitchen all day! Unlike my typical blog post, this recipe has very few ingredients, which in my mind, is key to Mediterranean cooking — fresh, simple ingredients that go very well together! Delicious. Hope you’ll give this one a try tonight!

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
3 Tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp sherry
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp sour cream

Combine garlic, rosemary, 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.

In a large, shallow dish, rub chicken thighs evenly with the rosemary mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 1/2 hour.

Lay the prosciutto slices on a flat surface. Roll each thigh in one slice of prosciutto; secure each Involtini_di_Pollo2 (1 of 1)involtino with two pieces of butcher’s twine.

Heat 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the involtini and brown on all sides, about 13 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Remove involtini, remove strings (gently), cover loosely with foil and set aside. Bring the cooking juices to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken broth, sherry and sour cream and whisk until smooth. Cook sauce down until thickened. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired. Serve involtini with sauce drizzled over them. I like to serve this dish with boiled new red potatoes and a small green side salad.

Serves 4.

Mediterranean “Stir-Fry” of Chicken, Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Chicken_with_Sundried_Tomatoes_and_Olives1 (1 of 1)Cooking with a wok is great, and can be very healthy. As the name indicates, this dish is a stir-fry, but in cooking method only — it’s quick and healthy, and its delicious ingredients are distinctly Mediterranean (for the most part). Try this dish tonight!

1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large), thinly sliced crosswise
1 (smallish) red onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced or very finely grated
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sambal ulek
1 Tbsp lemon juice
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise
1 1/2 oz (about 1/4 cup) sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer those that are not packed on oil or water; just dry, but soak in boiling water 10 minutes, then drain), cut into very thin strips
1 Tbsp chopped parsley, plus some coarsely chopped for garnish

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in wok over medium-high heat.

Add chicken and stir fry 5 minutes. Remove from wok.

Add the other 1 Tbsp olive oil. Heat and add onions. Stir fry until golden brown, about 5Chicken_with_Sundried_Tomatoes_and_Olives2 (1 of 1) minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add back chicken. Add vinegar, sambal ulek and lemon juice. Toss well.

Stir in olives, sun-dried tomatoes. Season with additional salt and ground black pepper, if desired. Serve over cous cous and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.