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

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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.

The Lady made a new mac n cheese (something she does a lot… making new mac n cheese recipes) using cheeses she had in the fridge: President Comte (a more-detailed review will be posted later today), Bellwether Farms Carmody and Kirkland Signature Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar. It was divine; these three cheeses complimented and made for a sweet, nutty and complex flavor combination. The Lady is constantly searching for the “Perfect Mac n Cheese” and I must say her journey may have ended right here, with this one… The Man swooned and after my half-share, I had to nap before the fire… of course during the winter my favorite napping place is in front of the fire… but I digress.

Here’s how The Lady made this mac n cheese recipe:

Ingredients:

½ Stick Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter

¼ Cup minced sweet onion

1 minced garlic clove

¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes

1/3 Cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ Cup Half and Half

1 ½ Cup 1% Milk

6 ounces President Comte – grated (1 ounce reserved for topping)

6 ounces Bellwether Farms Carmody – grated (1 ounce reserved for topping)

6 ounces Kirkland Signature Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar – grated (1 ounce reserved for topping)

½ teaspoon Cyprus Flake Artisan Salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

½ – 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs for topping

8 ounces of penne pasta

Non-stick Spray Oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare pasta per package instructions. Time to remove from heat when cheese sauce is ready to use. When you drain the pasta, do not rinse. Sauce will stick better to unrinsed pasta.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chipotle pepper flake and sauté lightly just till onion becomes translucent. Whisk in flour and continue whisking for 2 – 3 minutes to cook and release the starchy taste.

Slowly add the half and half and milk, whisking constantly (The Lady used this combination because that’s what she had available – you can use whole milk or your own combination). Cook until the sauce thickens which will be several minutes. Make sure and continue to whisk to avoid lumpy sauce.

When thick, add the cheeses (reserving one ounce of each to top the dish), the salt and the pepper. Stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and stir for a minute more until very creamy.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spraying oil. Add the cooked pasta to the dish and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. It will look like a lot of cheese sauce but not to worry… the pasta will absorb enough to thicken it slightly.

Mix Panko Breadcrumbs with reserved three cheeses and top the mac n cheese mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven to Broil setting and brown topping until golden brown. Watch it carefully and don’t let it burn.

Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Serve to grateful family. Enjoy.

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…

kitchen sink mac n cheeseThis is an old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese, made with bits and pieces of whatever The Lady found in the fridge and the pantry. The Man and I love when she makes any “Kitchen Sink-style” casserole. 

Please note: The Lady isn’t big on measuring ingredients – so what follows is “guesstamations” at best… as long as it tastes good…that’s all that really matters…right???

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 12 ounces macaroni product – The Lady used some penne, far falle, elbow and corkscrew – all organic and whole wheat
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 4 Chicken and Spinach Sausage Links – The Lady used some fully-cooked ones from Costco – she sliced them into disks before browning them
  • Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • Chopped Orange Bell Pepper
  • Chopped Anaheim Chili
  • Chopped Garlic Clove
  • Chopped Onion
  • Chopped Scallion
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded cheeses – The Lady used up bits and pieces of Roth Kase Gran Queso, Parrano, Golden Age Super Sharp Cheddar, Grana Padano, Willamette Valley Brindisi, Emmi Gruyere and Roth Kase Butter Kase
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs*

Preparation:

Boil macaroni in salted water, following package directions. Drain under running cold water.

Shred cheeses.

Slice Sausage and sauté in EVOO until brown on both sides. When nice and brown add the chopped veggies and sauté them till tender.

Cover bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with layer of macaroni, a layer of cheese, sausage , veggies, chips of butter and pepper.

Continue layers until all ingredients are used, ending with a cheese layer.

Whisk milk and egg together, pour over the top, cover with bread crumbs and more butter chips, and bake in a 350° oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
Serves 4 to 6.

Mixing the ingredients on a warmed platter will help them melt quickly to make a satiny sauce. For the best results, use dried pasta, which doesn’t break as easily during tossing as fresh egg pasta does. (Although for taste, fresh pasta can’t be beat. The Lady buys her fresh pasta at PastaWorks on Hawthorne in Portland. And I can confirm, it is divine…)

(The Lady likes to take this recipe to another level and she adds grilled chicken breasts and sautéed fresh asparagus. I would prefer she use grilled Scapanus latimanus, which was plentiful in the Burbank neighborhoods where I originally met and adopted The Lady and The Man. Sadly, they aren’t available here in the Pacific Northwest. I have searched the area around Salmon Creek and none are to be found…)

1 lb. dried fettuccine

1⁄2 lb. unsalted Kerrygold Butter

1⁄2 lb. finely grated BelGioioso American Grana (about 3 1⁄4 cup)

1. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. If you use fresh pasta, you will only need to cook it 2-3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut Kerrygold Butter into thin pats and transfer to a large, warmed platter. Drain pasta (do not rinse – the sauce will adhere better to the pasta when not rinsed), reserving 3⁄4 cup pasta water, and place the pasta over the butter on the platter.

3. Sprinkle grated American Grana over the pasta and drizzle with 1⁄4 cup of the reserved pasta water.

4. Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more pasta water as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.) Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated, about 3 minutes.

(For a quicker preparation, bring the reserved 3⁄4 cup pasta water and the butter to a boil in a 12″ skillet; then add the pasta, sprinkle with the cheese, and toss with tongs over medium-low heat until the pasta is creamy and coated, about 2 minutes.)

5. Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.

SERVES 4 – 6

Adapted from Saveur Magazine