Tag Archives: Main Course

Shell Pasta with Mushroom and Onion

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This simple and fast dish is perfect for a light meal or side dish. I had some mushrooms and onions leftover from diner the other night and wanted to use them. I had a taste for a pasta dish and came up with this.

You will need:
Mushrooms – approximately one cup/serving
Sweet Onion – approximately one cup/serving
Olive Oil – approximately two tsp/serving
Tomato Paste – approximately one tsp/serving
Oregano Pesto or Fresh Oregano chopped with olive oil to form a paste – approximately 1 tsp/serving
Garlic – approximately one clove/serving
Salt/Pepper
Shell Pasta

Prepare pasta according to package directions. In the mean time medium dice mushrooms and onion and puree garlic. In a sauté pan large enough to hold mixture heat olive oil until hot, add mushroom, onion and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent. Make a small clear area in the pan and add the tomato paste and pesto/oregano and sauté a few minutes then combine all elements. Salt and pepper to taste. When pasta is cooked drain well and return to pot add mushroom mixture and heat through.

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Pasta con Cinque formaggi e el Pancetta

Pasta with Five Cheeses and Pancetta

This is not your kids mac and cheese but they will love it too. You can adjust quantities according to your personal taste.

You will need:
Parmesan Cheese – shredded – 1/2 cup
Mozzarella Cheese – 1/2 cup (use fresh not smoked)
Asiago Cheese – shredded – 1/2 cup
Fontina Cheese – shredded – 1/2 cup
Gorgonzola Cheese – 1/4 cup
Whole Milk – 4 qts – heated
All purpose Flour – 8 TBS
Butter – 8 TBS
Fresh nutmeg
Pancetta – 1/4 inch thick slice – 1 or 2 depending on taste
Good quality Italian/french bread (use food processor to crumb) – approximately 1/2 cup
Salt/pepper – to taste (if you want a cleaner sauce use white pepper)
Olive Oil
Tubular or shaped pasta such as penne rigate, radiatore, farfalle, cavatappi or conchiglie – 1 pound

Prepare pasta by bringing large pot of salted water to a rapid boil, add pasta and cook until just below al dente. In a dutch oven or pot large enough to hold cooked pasta plus one quart liquid heat one tablespoon olive oil. Cut pancetta into 1/4 inch dice, when oil is heated add pancetta. Cook pancetta until crisp, remove from pot with slotted spoon and reserve. Pour off any fat left from pancetta add butter and flour and cook until combined scraping up brown bits from pan. Slowly pour heated milk into pot stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring milk to a fast simmer then add Parmesan, Asiago and Fontina cheeses stirring well to allow cheeses to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste and 4 or 5 scrapes of the nutmeg, stir well. Remove from heat, fold in cooked pasta until well coated, crumble gorgonzola cheese into mixture, combine well, cut mozzerella cheese into 1/2 inch chunks then fold into mixture

Butter a 9 x 13 oven proof dish, pour cheese and pasta mixture into pan and level top, combine bread crumbs with parmesan cheese and cover top. Bake in a 350° F oven until top is golden brown. This works well as a side dish or main course.

Loin Lamb Chops with Oregano Pesto

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If you love lamb and Greek style cooking this delicious dish will satisfy your appetite.

You will need:
Loin lamb chops – approximately 1 1/2″ thick 3 or 4/serving
Olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Kosher or Sea salt
Oregano Pesto

Heat sauté or grill pan, large enough to hold all the chops, until very hot. Coat both sides of chops with olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat oven to 400° F. Sear chops until a nice dark crust or grill marks appear turn over and repeat. Remove chops from sauté/grill pan and keep warm. Spread Oregano Pesto on one side of the chops, place on a sheet pan and finish cooking in the oven. Thickness of the chops and desired doneness will determine time. For medium rare, a thermometer inserted into the chop should read approximately 145 to 150 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil an let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with Rosemary Oven Roasted Potato.

Grilled Lamb Chops on Foodista

Grillied Pork Chop with Teriyaki Glaze

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Pork has always been one of my favorite proteins. I wanted to add an Asian element to my repertoire so came up with a simple recipe for Teriyaki Glaze to add that facet. With the summer soon to be at hand I prepared this dish with grilled pork loin chops but it works well with other cuts.

You will need:
Loin pork chop – approximately 6 oz./person.
Olive oil
Salt/Pepper

For the glaze you will need:
Soy Sauce (I used Tamari Soy for this recipe) – approximately 1 TBS/2 servings
Mirin – approximately 1 TBS/2 servings
Sesame Oil – approximately 1 tsp/2 servings
Ground Ginger – approximately 1 tsp/2 servings
Brown Sugar – approximately 1 tsp/2 servings

Grill pork chops as you traditionally would except that they need to be just undercooked as they will be finished in the glaze.
In a sauté pan large enough to hold the chops combine all elements and at medium heat cook until the sauce starts to thicken, turn off heat, cover to keep warm. When chops are ready place them into sauté pan with glaze turn once to coat the pork. Cover pan and put in oven heated to 350° to complete the cooking process. The time needed will depend on the thickness of the chops cook until internal temperature reaches 160°/165° remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

I served this dish with

Individual Beef Wellington

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Making the classic Beef Wellington could be intimidating but it is a relatively easy dish to prepare and is well worth the effort. I have taken liberties with my version, actually two versions, by adding onion to one and spinach to the other. The version here uses onion but by simply replacing the onion in the recipe/technique below with spinach you get a completely different experience.

You will need:
Filet of beef approximately 1 1/2″ – 2″ thick 6 – 8 oz./serving.
Puff pastry – 12″ square piece 1/serving.
Sweet Onion such as Walla Walla or Vidalia – 1/4″ slice 1/person (be careful here as you want to keep the slabs of onion intact – you can pierce each with a toothpick to insure the rings stay together).
Shallot – diced fine approximately 1 TBS/serving.
White button or crimini mushrooms – approximately 3 oz./serving.
White wine, Sherry or Vermouth – approximately 1TBS/serving.
Shallot – approximately 1 TBS/serving.
Garlic approximately one small clove/serving.
Egg wash (combine egg with a little water and whip until combined).
Olive Oil/Butter – approximately 1TBS each/serving
Butcher’s twine.

Prepare the filets – Tie each filet, with a piece of twine placed at half the thickness of the beef, tight enough to give the filet some height and uniformity in circumference. In a sauté pan large enough to hold filets without crowding place approximately 1 TBS each of oil and butter. When oil/butter began to bubble sauté filets on both sides until a rich crust is formed. Remove from pan, set aside to cool completely. All you are doing with this step is searing the meat, it will cook through when baking the Wellingtons.

Prepare the mushrooms – (Mushroom Duxelles) – Place mushrooms, shallot and garlic in a food processor and chop until the mixture has a paste consistency. Using the same pan for the beef add more oil/butter if the pan is too dry bring up to temperature and add the mushroom mixture. Sauté mixture until it starts to dry out then add the White wine/sherry/vermouth. Continue to cook until the mixture is completely dry. Remove from pan, set aside to cool completely.

Prepare the Onion – in the same pan used for the beef and mushroom add a little oil/butter if the pan is too dry. Season both sides of onion with salt and pepper then place in heated pan. Sauté onions on both sides until golden brown. Carefully remove onion slabs from pan, set aside to cool completely.

Prepare the dough – It is not a difficult task to do this step. It is easier to give you a visual so I have included this visual aid.

Assembly and cooking – Separate all of the above items into portions equal to the amount of tenderloins used. Place a portion of the mushroom mixture in the center of the dough square spread until it matches the circumference of the steak, remove twine from tenderloin and place on top of the mushrooms, place one onion plank on top of beef, follow the instructions provided to fold dough over beef to form a package. Roast individual Beef Wellington(s) until the internal temperature reaches 130° for rare, 140° for medium. Serve with a vegetable and mashed potatoes.

If you decide to add cooked spinach instead of the onion simply replace it at the step indicated above.

NB You must make sure that all items are completely dry otherwise the dough will become gooey and you will not get a good crisp crust.

Baked Ham

Easter Dinner

Not only for the holidays, a good baked ham works in so many ways. In some cases, ham tends to dry out on the inside due to the density and cooking time used, one way to insure that you get a nice, moist interior is rather simple. Approximately 90 minutes before you put the ham in the oven place it, with its packaging intact into a vessel large enough to hold the ham with an inch or two to spare. Run your tap, hot water, until it reaches maximum temperature, fill the vessel (with the ham in it) with hot tap water to at least one inch above the product. This technique raises the internal temperature enough so that the cooking time is reduced providing a moist finished product.

You will need:
Roasting Pan
One butt or shank ham* approximately six oz./person
Orange/Cognac Glaze

Set oven temperature to 250° F. Remove ham from water bath and open packaging. With a sharp knife cut grooves into fat/skin side of product just deep enough so that glaze seeps into product. The grooves should be about one inch apart to form a diamond pattern in the fat/skin. Spread one-half of the glaze over ham and place into roasting pan. Roast at 250° F for 20 minutes/pound. Three-quarters way through the roasting cycle spread the other one-half of the glaze over ham. At the end of the roasting period, remove from oven, tent with foil and let the ham rest for 10 minutes. Slice ham to desired thickness and serve.

I served this with Caramelized Sweet Potato/Carrot Medley

*Butt ham is meatier with less fat but is harder to carve due to complex bone structure. Shank ham is not as meaty and has more fat but is easier to carve due to a single bone as compared to the butt.

Chicken Marsala

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This simple yet delicious recipe will make your dinner guest crave more. As a side I serve this with angel hair pasta aglio e l’olio (garlic/olive oil).

You will need:
Boneless/skinless chicken breast – approximately 6 ounces/person
Flour
Salt/pepper
Olive Oil – approx. 1 TBS/serving
Butter – approx. 1 TBS/serving
Mushrooms – white button or crimini (sliced)- approx. 2 oz/serving
Chicken broth – approx. 1/4 cup/serving
Marsala wine – good quality approx. 2 TBS/serving

Heat oven to 350° F. Place butter and olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold breasts without crowding, heat until butter melts. Dust chicken breasts with flour, pat off excess. Place breasts in sauté pan, presentation side down, sauté until a rich brown crust develops, turn breasts over and sauté until other side develops the same crust. Move breasts to a cookie sheet or oven proof pan to finish (internal temperature should read 160° F (time will be decided by the thickness of the breast pieces).
If there is not enough oil/butter left in the pan add another tablespoon of each. Add cut mushrooms with approximately one tablespoon of flour to skillet and cook until browned and somewhat dry. Add Marsala wine and cook until wine is reduced by at least half, add chicken broth and continue to cook until reduced by half. At this stage season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove chicken from oven and add to the sauce, cover and simmer for approximately five minutes. Place breast on a serving platter and cover with sauce. Garnish with some parsley.