Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms, Risotto Style

I'm not sure why I had never thought of this before. I mean, why couldn't you cook any pasta like risotto? But thanks to Mark Bittman, my mental lapses have been remedied. Any pasta comes out tasting absolutely delicious, creamy and decadent. And it's only chicken broth to blame!

Sign me up. 

Adapted from Bittman's blog on The New York Times


2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed

1 shallot or small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups crimini, shiitake or button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1/2 pound cut pasta like gemelli or penne, or long pasta broken into bits
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 boneless chicken thighs, diced
Chopped fresh parsley, optional
Freshly grated Parmesan, optional.


1. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add shallot, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms soften and begin to brown on edges, about 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then wine. Stir and let liquid bubble away.
2. Ladle stock into skillet 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When liquid is just about evaporated, add more. Mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Keep heat at medium and stir frequently.
3. Begin tasting pasta 10 minutes after you add it; you want it to be tender but with a tiny bit of crunch. When pasta is about 3 to 4 minutes away from being done, add chicken and stir to combine. Continue to cook until chicken is done — it will be white on inside when cut — and pasta is how you like it. Taste, adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and Parmesan if using, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gnocchi a la Romana

Adapted from The New York Times, livin' it up, Roman Style.

1 hour plus 4 hours’ chilling

1 quart plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups semolina flour

1 3-ounce piece Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes (14.5-ounce works best)

Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, combine milk, nutmeg, salt and 4 tablespoons butter. Bring just to a boil, lower heat to medium and immediately start adding semolina in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Keep whisking to make a smooth mixture. Reduce heat to very low and cook, stirring, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in half the cheese and the egg yolks.
2. Use some of the oil to grease a baking sheet. Spread hot dough on baking sheet to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until very cold, 4 hours or overnight.
3. Heat remaining oil in a saucepan, add garlic and onion, cook until soft and add tomatoes. Simmer gently about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a little remaining butter to grease a shallow baking dish about 9 by 13 inches. Use a 2- to 3-inch round cookie cutter or a glass to cut disks of chilled dough. Keep dipping cutter in cold water to prevent sticking. Lift disks off baking sheet and arrange, slightly overlapping, in baking dish. Scraps can be kneaded briefly and smoothed out to allow for a few additional disks. Sprinkle disks in dish with remaining cheese and dot with remaining butter. Bake about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
5. Gently reheat sauce. Serve gnocchi with some sauce alongside each portion.
Yield: 6 servings.

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