When one of my best gal pals was in town a couple of weeks ago, we knew we had to cook a meal together. Both avid home cooks, we were thrilled at the opportunity to make magic (and a big mess) in my parents’ large kitchen. After tossing around some ideas for what to prepare, we settled on this recipe, courtesy of the lovely Giada. I handled the proteins and my partner in crime worked the veg, and the whole dish came together beautifully (we served it over saffron rice, but any sort of carb will do–you could even use crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices).
I’ve posted the recipe as-is, but we did make a few changes. For some reason, Giada called for boneless, skin-on chicken breasts, but I went for the bone-in version. So much more flavor! And you health nuts out there, PLEASE don’t get skinless chicken–you don’t have to actually eat the skin, but you really need it while cooking to allow the herb mixture to settle in and to impart more fabulous flavor. Of course, where any recipe calls for chicken broth, I use homemade stock–which I also used to cook the rice, giving the whole meal a deeper, richer taste. Finally, while I adore morels, my fiance doesn’t like mushrooms, AND I wasn’t about to spent $16 for a pint of the damn things (not yet, anyway…I suspect my imminent return to the farmers’ market will yield some shroomy goodness). So, I just sauteed some baby bellas in a separate skillet and then added them to the dish at the end.
This dish was incredibly satisfying while still seeming light and springy. I highly recommend it–enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl combine the thyme, parsley, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the chicken pieces on a work surface. Gently loosen the skin of the chicken and push the herb mixture under the skin. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down, when the oil is hot. Cook until the skin is crispy and golden, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook the same way on the other side. Turn the heat off the pan and reserve. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, skin side up again, and finish cooking in the oven, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile return the same pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter has melted add the cipollini onions and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and golden in places, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the snap peas and mushrooms. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the vegetables onto a serving platter along with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.
Salmon? Good. Herbs? Good. Mustard? Goooooood. This was such a simple way to spruce up a common fish, and it was healthy to boot (especially when served with steamed vegetables or a small salad). Thanks, Giada! If only I could look like you while I’m cookin’…
Continuing the shrimp pasta theme, this is a much lighter (in both flavor and caloric content) recipe courtesy of the lovely Giada. You could eat this one cold or hot–and if the bitterness of the arugula is overpowering (as it was for my boyfriend), add a little grated parmesan! Cheese is never a bad idea…
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and white wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the wine reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook just until they are pink, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the fusilli in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain the fusilli. Add the fusilli and arugula to the skillet. Toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and serve.
I looooooove risotto. Actually, I love pretty much any rice dish, but risotto is probably my second-favorite version (with the first being paella). People think risotto is a difficult and time-consuming dish, but the truth is that once you master the basic techniques, you could probably make it in your sleep. The most important things to remember when cooking risotto are: 1) make sure that ALL of the rice gets coated with butter and toasted (but not browned) before adding any liquid, and 2) do add the stock gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) and wait until each round of liquid is absorbed before adding the next. The first tip will give the rice a really great bite, and the second will allow the creamy texture to develop by slowly drawing out the starch.
I’ve tried many varieties of risotto, but when I saw that this one (which, in case you’re interested, I saw on an episode of “Everyday Italian”) used champagne instead of dry white wine, I was intrigued. After all, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a big fan of the bubbly–and New Year’s Eve shouldn’t be the only time of year that the corks get popped!
Not only is this dish delicious and filling, but it looks impressive on the plate. I’d recommend pairing it with a small green salad (if you feel so inclined, that is–the risotto is VERY filling on its own) and the leftover champagne. Enjoy!
Serves 2 people (I doubled the recipe and it turned out great). Cooking time: about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep
the chicken stock at a low simmer.
In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the
simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.