Monthly Archives: February 2016

Orange and Thyme-Scented Orzo

Orange_Thyme-Scented OrzoFor those of you who saw my last post (and those who didn’t), I made chicken saltimbocca and chose to serve it with this orzo dish. The two went very well together. We all know orzo dishes (picnics, pitch-ins, 4th of July, etc.), but this version has a very sophisticated, wonderful and savory flavor — the orange and thyme are very mild, but give this dish it’s uniqueness among orzo dishes. Delicious, I hope you’ll try this simple, elegant dish tonight!

1 lb uncooked orzo
2 cups chicken stock
1 packed tsp finely grated orange zest
1/2 tsp chopped thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and (pre)cook for six minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add drained orzo to a large sauce pan, and add stock, orange zest and thyme. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper until well-incorporated. Plate and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

 

 

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Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken_SaltimboccaThis dish is popular in northern Italy and Switzerland, but there are several variations around the Mediterranean. “Saltimbocca” means “jumps in your mouth,” and for very good reason — this dish is so simple and delicious, once you try it, you’ll understand why! In general, saltimbocca is a meat, such as veal or chicken, wrapped with sage leaves and prosciutto. It’s typically served with simple sauce, cooked in the same skillet as you cook the meat (hardly ever can go wrong with that). Very good — hope you’ll try it tonight!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded between sheets of plastic wrap with a mallet to about 1/3rd inches in thickness
Salt
Pepper
12 fresh sage leaves
8 very thin slices prosciutto (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup and 2 tsp flour, divided
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped parsley for garnish

Sprinkle each breast with plenty of salt and pepper on both sides. Place 3 sage leaves on top of each breast, then place prosciutto on top (enough to cover the top of each breast in a single layer), pressing to adhere — if it’s thin enough, it will stick should stick like plastic wrap.

Place 1/2 cup of the flour in a shallow dish. Gently dredge each breast, shaking off excess flour.

Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once foam subsides, place each breast, prosciutto-side down, into skillet. Cook 4 minutes, then gently turn over and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk wine and last 2 tsp flour in a small bowl. Add broth, lemon juice and wine mixture to the same skillet. Whisk until sauce thickens a bit. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Place chicken breasts on individual plates. Top each with a bit of the lemon-wine sauce and garnish with chopped parsley. Here I served the chicken with steamed asparagus and orange and thyme-scented orzo (the recipe for which, I’ll blog about soon because it’s so delicious!).

Serves 4.

Winter Squash Gnocchi with Browned Sage Butter

Butternut_Squash_Gnocchi1-0020Yesterday, I decided to make home-made gnocchi (a pain in the @$$, but well worth it on a Sunday afternoon). This recipe is pretty common, but I added some lemon zest and sherry, and some additional nutmeg. With the browned sage butter and Parmesan cheese…mmm, fantastic! I hope you’ll try this some weekend when you have some “me” time!

1 3-lb winter squash (such as butternut), sliced in half length-wise, seeds removed

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large baking potato (russet), peeled and quartered
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp dry Spanish sherry
1 3/4 cups flour (plus some additional)
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp chopped sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Place squash half (cut side down) on a baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil. Place in oven and roast 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Scoop out flesh and place in a food processor. Process until smooth. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Boil potato in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain. Rice potatoes into a bowl. Measure out 2, loosely packet cups and add to squash.

To the squash mixture, add 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, salt, lemon zest and sherry. Gradually add the flour, kneading gently. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Gently knead a bit further (but don’t overdo it!). Divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2-inch rope. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Using your hands (and additional flour, if necessary) roll each piece into the shape of a mini football. Place on baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. Cover each sheet with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 17 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sage and cook until butter is light-brown in color, about 4 minutes.

Place gnocchi and butter mixture in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and place on serving plates. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan. Serve with a simple lemon-vinaigrette salad.

 

Serves 6.