Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mom's Italian Supper Soup

6 links hot Italian sausage
2 medium onions chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large can Italian tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 zucchinis, peeled and sliced
1 cup cooked pasta
2 cups red wine
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Cut up sausage and brown. Drain fat from pan and remove sausage to another bowl. Add a bit of olive oil and cook the onions and garlic thoroughly. Return sausage to the pan. Add the tomatoes, mash, add herbs-include salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer as long as you have time for...I did about 40 minutes. Then add the bell pepper, zucchini and pasta for another 15 to 20 minutes. I actually cooked the pasta al dente and then added the last 5 minutes of cooking so it would not be over cooked when you reheat it.
Serve with grated parmesan and a nice crusty bread.

Super yummy and comforting during this cold grey weather:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Baked Penne and Chicken with Mushrooms

Table salt
1 lb penne
4 tbls olive oil
1 1/2 lbs cremini mushrooms, wiped clean & sliced 1/4" thick
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 oz porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 8 tsp)
1 tbls minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs), trimmed
8 oz shredded Italian cheese blend (about 2 cups)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbls fresh parsley leaves

Bring 4 qts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tbls salt and pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta through colander and toss with 1 tbls olive oil; leave in colander and set aside.

Wipe pot dry, add remaining 3 tbls oil, and set over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add cremini mushrooms, onion, porcini mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are dry and browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, wine, and cream.

Add chicken, partially cover, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover completely, and cook until thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Remove chicken and set aside to cool; keep sauce covered. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces. Stir shredded chicken and 1 cup cheese into sauce with cooked pasta until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer t0 13x9 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.

To Freeze: Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap , then with foil, and freeze.

To Serve: Thaw 24-48 hours. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap dish and cover tightly with foil sprayed with vegetable oil spray (or nonstick foil). Bake until sauce is bubbling around edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until hot through-out and browned on top, 25-30 minutes longer.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spicy Sichuan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian) with Shitakes

Serves 8 as a main course

* 1.5 ounces dried shitake mushrooms
* 16 ounces ground pork
* 6 tablespoons soy sauce
* 4 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)
* 2 generous pinches ground pepper
* 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
* 8 tablespoons Asian sesame paste (available at Asian stores - NOT the same as tahini; mine was labeled "Chinese salad dressing - but it was 100% sesame seeds) or peanut butter
* 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
* 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 2 tablespoons minced ginger
* 12 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 tablespoons)
* 1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
* 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
* 2 pounds dried Asian noodles (width between linguine and fettuccine)
* 6 medium scallions, sliced thin (about 1/3 cup)
* 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, toasted in small dry skillet until fragrant, then ground (optional; mine were called "dried prickly ash peppers")

1. Soak shitake mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water until softened, 15 to 20 minutes; drain, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid. Trim and discard stems; cut mushrooms into 1/4-inch slices and set aside.

2. Combine pork, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sherry, and pinch pepper in small bowl; stir well with fork and set aside while preparing other ingredients. Whisk together oyster-flavored sauce, remaining soy sauce, sesame paste, vinegar, and pinch pepper in medium bowl. Whisk in chicken stock and reserved mushroom liquid and set aside.

3. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot over high heat.

4. Meanwhile, heat 12-inch skillet over high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add canola oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add pork and cook, scraping along pan bottom and breaking up pork into small pieces with wide metal or wooden spatula, until pork is in small well-browned bits, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sesame paste/mushroom liquid mixture; bring to boil, whisking to combine, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to blend flavors, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Stir in shitake mushrooms along with sesame oil.

5. While sauce simmers, add noodles to boiling water and cook until tender (refer to package directions, but use them only as a guideline and be sure to taste for doneness). Drain noodles; divide noodles among individual bowls, ladle a portion of sauce over noodles, sprinkle with scallions and ground Sichuan peppercorns, if using; serve immediately.

From frozen:
Defrost sauce pack and warm over low heat, stirring to incorporate sesame oil. Prepare noodles as directed and top with ladled sauce, onions, and peppers.