Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sausage Empanadas with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream:

1 cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, packed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions: In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.

Sausage Empanadas:

16 ounces spicy hot breakfast sausage
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
½ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, finely chopped
2 (14-ounce) packages frozen empanada/turnover discs (dough) 5-inches diameter, thawed * See Note Below
1 egg, beaten
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Directions: Over medium heat, crumble sausage into a large heavy skillet. Add onion and cook, breaking up sausage, with back of a wooden spoon, into small pieces. Cook until sausage is brown and onions are soft. Drain fat from pan. Add garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, oregano, pepper flakes, raisins and olives. Cook about 2-3 minutes, continuing to break sausage into small pieces. Cool slightly. Place dough/circle on flat surface; add about 2 tablespoons sausage mixture down center of each circle. Fold dough in half, forming a half circle. Slightly moisten dough edges and tightly seal dough by crimping edges with moist finger tips. (Could be prepared to this point 5 to 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.) Spray shallow baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray or line with parchment paper. Place empanadas on prepared baking sheets. Prick each empanada top, several times, with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking. Lightly brush tops with beaten egg. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with Cilantro Lime Cream. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Yield: 16 Empanadas

*I omitted the raisins and olives

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stuffed Shells with Chicken, Arugula and a Creamy Alfredo Sauce

2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups Arugula
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works well)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

4 TBS butter
1 clove garlic minced
2 TBS all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 TBS chopped fresh chives
1 cup plus 3 TBS grated parmesan
1 cup grape tomato halved
italian parsley for garnish

large jumbo pasta shells (conchiglioni)

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13" baking dish and set aside

Bring a large pot of water to a boil add the pasta and cook for approximately 9 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse under color water being careful not to break the shells. Set aside.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. In a large bowl mix together the ricotta and Parmesan. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and cook one minute, being careful not to brown it. Stir in the arugula until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped chicken and still well. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add chicken mixture to cheese mixture and stir carefully . Stuff each shell with approximately 1/2 cup of the cheese filling and place in prepared baking dish.

For the sauce, heat the butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant but not brown. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the cream and milk and whisk until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Remove from the heat and add the chives, 1 cup parmesan, cherry tomatoes and gently stir. Pour sauce over the shells and sprinkle with remaining 3 TBS of parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley.