The Man and I love The Lady on vacation… she cooks; she bakes; in general she spoils the two of us…

Last week she met Jim Tassielli, Northwest Sales Merchandiser for Sartori Foods and he graciously sent along a few cheese wedges for moi, your humble Feline Foodie, to taste and share with The Man and The Lady. One of the wedges was Gorgonola Dolcino and The Lady immediately whipped up a tangy salad dressing using it and serving it on lettuce wedges and chopped veggies from The Garden of The Man.

Yesterday, she decided to use the rest to make a pasta dish inspired by “Blue Cheese Chicken Pasta Lauren”. Here’s how The Lady adapted the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 Pound Pasta – The Lady likes penne best, but you use whatever you like or have in the cupboard

4 Tbsp. White Truffle Butter, divided

2 Tbsp. EVOO, divided

2 Tbsp. Bacon Grease, divided

Splash of Chardonnay

3 Red Onions, thinly sliced (Fresh from The Garden of The Man)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

6-8 Fresh Button Mushrooms, sliced

6 Boneless Chicken Thighs, salted and peppered to taste  – The Lady only uses Foster Farms

Fresh Herbs from The garden of The Man, chopped – The Lady used oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley

4 Ounces Sartori Gorgonzola Dolcino, crumbled

1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation:

Boil water for pasta – The Lady adds chicken bouillon rather than salt.

In a large saucepan add half of each of the butter, EVOO and Bacon grease. Melt on medium heat. Add the onions, sugar and chardonnay. Cut for about 30 minutes to caramelize, stirring every five minutes until they turn deep caramel color. Add the mushrooms for the last five minutes. The sugar adds sweetness.

In another saucepan, melt the other halves of butter, EVOO and bacon grease on medium heat. Saute the chicken thighs until cooked through and a little brown on each side. Set aside; when slightly cooled, slice into strips and toss with chopped herbs.

When the pasta is done, drain but do not rinse. Place in serving bowl and immediately add the gorgonzola and parm/reg. Mix and allow the cheeses to melt.

Add the chicken and caramelized onions to the pasta.

Toss and serve.

Get The Man to clean the kitchen… he’s really good about that…

For dessert The Lady made and served Le Gateau Nantaise… The Man and I have died and gone to culinary heaven with The Lady home and cooking. God Bless vacation…

FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

Member, Association of Food Bloggers

Pasta Marcella

June 11, 2011


The Lady loves to use ingredients she has on hand to construct meals. She calls it “The Kitchen Sink” approach to cooking. Having just returned from Dallas the night before, she feared the cupboard would be bare when breakfast rolled around. But to the delight of The Man and moi, your feeling-humble today Feline Foodie, she found enough items to make an omelette for The Man and a pasta dish for the two of us.

Ingredients:

Bacon – 4 strips
Bowtie Pasta (Any pasta you would use for mac n cheese would do – bowtie was what she had on hand)
1 Parmigiana Reggiano Rind
EVOO
Golden Glen Creamery’s Farmstead Butter
Tillamook 2-Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar (our “everyday” cheddar)
6 Eggs (3 for the omelette and 3 for the pasta
Fresh Herbs from the deck (She snipped Italian Parsley, Curly Parsley, Chives, Rosemary and Thyme)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Tomato, chopped.

Preparation:

Fry bacon in pan you will later use to assemble and cook your eggs and cooked pasta. Put aside and leave bacon drippings in pan.
Boil water for pasta. Add the Parm rind to the water. Cook pasta. Drain; do not rinse. Toss rind.
While bacon and pasta are cooking, grate cheese, chop herbs and whisk your eggs.
Add salt and pepper to taste to the whisked eggs.
Divide bacon drippings into two pans (one will be the one you used to fry bacon) and add a little EVOO and butter to each pan.
Divide eggs and put into two pans to cook. Use medium heat on both.
Add equal parts of cheese and herbs to each.
In bacon pan, add your drained pasta. Toss pasta to coat with eggs and cheese and let cook, stirring to avoid excessive sticking.
Cook omelette using normal methods and hope it comes out looking more like an omelette rather than scrambled eggs – either way it will taste great.
Serve everything when eggs are cooked.
Garnish with chopped tomato.

Eat.

Clean kitchen.


UPDATED 5/14/2011 – SEE BOTTOM FOR DETAILS

Ingredients:

Pasta

2 Chicken Breasts – pounded thin or sliced into thin pieces

Salt and pepper

Flour and your favorite seasonings/herbs/spices for coating chicken

Zipper bag for coating chicken

Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Zest of 1 large lemon – you want this sauce to be very “lemony”

Juice of 1 large lemon – about ¼ cup

½  teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup grated Cello Grated Romano**

Capers (optional)

Directions:

Set your water boiling for your pasta. Cook it to time up with when chicken and sauce are ready.

Prepare your chicken breasts either by pounding to make them thin or slice thin. We only use Foster Farms chicken around the manse.

Salt and pepper raw chicken pieces to taste.

Put flour and favorite seasonings in zipper bag. The Lady added a little dry chicken bouillon, celery seeds, paprika and chili powder.

Put chicken in zipper bag and toss to coat chicken pieces.

Heat olive oil in frying pan.

Add chicken and cook until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through. About 5-7 minutes each side.

Set chicken aside and cover to keep warm.

In same pan, add and heat cream until just about boiling. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic to cream. (If you choose to use capers, add them here as well.)

Cook for a minute or so and stir constantly.

Add Cello Grated Romano and stir until incorporated.

Drain cooked pasta and put in pasta bowl. Place chicken on top. Ladle sauce over chicken and pasta.

Serve.

Enjoy… I know we did… The Man even swooned.

Serves 2 plus a cat.

** Cello Grated Romano (Vacchino – made from cow’s milk) is distributed by the Arthur Schuman Company.

Romano is a hard cheese generally used for grating on top of pasta and into salads and sauces. It has a lower water content and the Romano cheese made from cow’s milk is a little milder and less salty than the pecorino version.

Romano cheese is made by a special method called “rummaging curd” which involves draining the curd quickly after molding. The surface is then pierced slightly before the cheese is salted.

It is named after the city of Rome, Italy where it has been made for more than two thousand years.

The Lady and I are very impressed with Cello Romano and she plans to use it next on pizza and then in meatballs… The man and I are grateful she enjoys cooking so much… even though it should be duly noted that I am not thrilled with her “friendliness” toward the interloper who likes to lounge on my deck…

FTC Full Disclosure – The manufacturer/distributor sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.

Updated 5/14 – The Lady made this using Cello Riserva Parmesan and it, too, was a huge hit here at the manse. Read our review of Cello Riserva.

We apologize that “play-by-play” pictures aren’t available… The lady and I review cheese and don’t consider ourselves Chefs… and when cooking… The Lady and I have one primary goal: to eat!!

From the post at our sister blog, you know that The Lady and I have fallen back in love with the Dutch cheese, Parrano, an aged Gouda that thinks it’s Parmesan. It’s quite a terrific cheese!! The Lady made Chicken Primavera Alfredo using Parrano instead of the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Parrano added a depth and complexity to the sauce that has led me to crown Parrano Alfredo Sauce, “The Best Alfredo Sauce… Ever… Seriously… The Best Ever!!”

And here’s how she made it:

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 275°.

Pasta: Use what you have in the pantry: we used Farfalla. Cook according to directions. When you drain it, do NOT rinse. The sauce sticks better to unrinsed pasta.

4 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs (we use ONLY Foster Farms, home of those great Imposter Commercials) Cut into small chucks and/or strips.

Fresh Veggies: Use what you have in the fridge: we used mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus

Murray River Flake Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Tellicherry Pepper to lightly season the chicken thighs

EVOO (for sautéing the chicken thighs and veggies)

1 Cup Heavy Cream (This is the cream that The Lady treats me to every morning: she buys it just for me; I was happy to share for making The Best Alfredo Sauce… Ever… Seriously… The Best Ever!!)

½ Stick Butter (1/4 Cup)

1 Cup Shredded Parrano (Divided)

Fresh Ground Tellicherry Pepper

Preparation:

Heat a deep sauté pan.

Add the EVOO.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.

Sauté the chicken thighs until almost cooked through.

Add the veggies and toss all to cover with the EVOO and juice of chicken. Sauté all for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Place in oven to finish cooking and remain warm.

In another sauté pan, heat the heavy cream. Add the butter and whisk to melt. Add ¾ cup of the Parrano and continue whisking. Grind fresh pepper on top.

Remove chicken and veggies from oven. Remove top. There will be extra liquid. Put over high heat and evaporate liquid without burning or further cooking.

Add cooked and drained pasta.

Top with sauce.

Toss and serve immediately. Use remaining Parrano to top individual dishes.

Enough for 2 with just enough left over for The Lady to take to work for her lunch.

And this how you make “The Best Alfredo Sauce… Ever… Seriously… The Best Ever!!”

 

Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Grandma Maroni’s 100 Year-Old Meatball Recipe

The Lady is really good about using ingredients she has in the kitchen rather than rushing off to Freddy’s every time The Man issues a last-minute special dinner request. Last night it was “Just some good ole spaghetti and meatballs”. The Lady headed to the laptop and found the above referenced recipe and adapted it as follows:

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients, except the EVOO, thoroughly in large bowl. If mixture seems a little loose add more bread crumbs.

Roll meatballs loosely about the size of a golf ball.

Heat saucepan to medium heat.

Add EVOO to saucepan.

Add meatballs to EVOO and brown well without over cooking.

Serve with your favorite pasta and simple marinara sauce.

6-8 Servings

The Lady came across a recipe for Zingerman’s Roadhouse Mac n Cheese which in September of this year the Food Network named the #1 Comfort Food in America. For the original recipe, click here.

The Lady adapted their recipe as follows:

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 15 minutes, Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Olive Oil

4 Kalbi Marinated Chicken Thighs, grilled

sea salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped

Celery seeds

1 large elephant garlic clove
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup Half n Half
1 teaspoon deli-style mustard
1 pound grated 3 year Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Cup of frozen peas.

Preparations:

Grill chicken thighs. (The Lady buys the Kalbi Marinated Chicken at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer Meat Counter, which The Man and I find to be quite delish.) Set aside to cool and then chop into bite-size pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and stir well.  Cook according to the instructions on the pasta box. Drain it and set it aside. Do not rinse. The starch holds the cheese better on the pasta.

Meanwhile, melt the butter for the sauce in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, being careful not to scorch the butter. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté until the translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. The Lady sprinkled the veggies with celery seeds before sautéing.

Add the flour, and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk and half n half, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. Once the flour and milk are completely combined, stir in the heavy whipping cream. Keep the mixture at a simmer (not at a high boil) until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the mustard, cheese and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside.

In a large heavy bottom skillet set over medium-high heat, get the pan very hot. Add the olive oil and when it begins just to smoke, add the drained cooked noodles. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles. Toss thoroughly and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you have approximately 15% of the mixture golden brown.

Add the chopped chicken and the frozen peas. Toss and serve.

You don’t need to cook the peas in advance. The heat of the dish will cook them enough for taste.

As discussed, The Lady doesn’t measure much when she cooks…”if I wanted to measure things, I’d be a baker…”…yeah, yeah, yeah…we know…

Last night when she returned from the cheese mines, she looked in the pantry, in the freezer and in the fridge and this is what she “designed” from items on hand:

Ingredients:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Frozen Foster Farms Boneless Chicken Thighs

Chicken Bouillon Cube

Green Bell Peppers (from The Man’s Deck Garden) – cut in half and sliced

Walla Walla Sweet Onions – Chopped in large pieces

Garlic chips

Scallion – Sliced

Mushrooms – Sliced

Frozen Peas

Napa Valley Bistro Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce (half of jar)

Cream or Half n Half (nice-sized splash; The Lady used fat-free half and half)

BelGioioso American Grana Grated (about 1/2 cup grated)- The lady’s “everyday” Parmesan

Penne Pasta (half of package)

Preparation:

Heat Large Frying/Saute Pan.

Add EVOO; reduce heat to low/medium.

The Lady put the chicken thighs in the pan frozen and covered with lid. Let cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. By covering the pan, you keep all the water and juice from the chicken and makes a nice broth.

While chicken is cooking, slice and chop vegetables.

Prepare penne and if ready before time to add to chicken/veggie mix, rinse and let stand in cold water to stop cooking.

When chicken is cooked, add the bouillon to the broth and add the veggies (except the frozen peas) all on top of the chicken and cover again. Let veggies steam for a few minutes and then stir to let them saute.

Add the pasta sauce; the frozen peas; the American Grana and the cream.

Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Dish up and serve.

Easy and delish…