Sunday, January 31, 2010

Leftover Alfredo Pastries

Using leftovers from the "Perfect Alfredo" recipe, and some sheets of puff pastries in my freezer I concocted this little meal for my family. It was a hit so I am posting it, try it and see what you think too!


Left over Perfect Alfredo - refridgerated until solid
5 slices plain thick cut bacon, fat removed
1 or 2 sheets puff pastry depending on how much leftovers you have.

Heat oven to 400. F
Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in a pan to your preferred crispy stage.
Allow your puff pastry to defrost, and on lightly floured surface roll it out a bit. 
With a knife cut your solid alfredo leftovers into a square or rectangle shape. (see picture)
Cut out desired size of pastry, enough to wrap around teh entire piece of alfredo.
Place alfredo and wrap pastry around it. tucking and squishing in corners and edges, so that when cooking there are no holes for the creamy alfredo sauce to come out.
Whisk an egg and a tsp of milk together and lightly brush over your pastry.
Repeat for all leftovers.- I made mini pastries for my kids so feel free to do what you like size wise.
Put foil on top of a cookie sheet and bend up the edges to catch any juices that may escape while cooking so it won't make your oven dirty.
Allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes, until pastry is cooked and the inside is bubbling. It's easy to tell this by the steam and bubbles moving the pastry. Your pastry should be dark golden brown.
Like I said this is largely dependant on how many leftovers you have.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Perfect Alfredo

This is based on a recipe by Giada DeLaurantis, with some helpful hints from my sister in law Melinda.  In this particular instance I used chicken, but feel free to use this base and add in your preference, shrimp, scallops, mushrooms would all be scrumptous.
Sorry I have no picture for this one.... we ate it too fast to catch it on the camera!


2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
12 TBSP butter
2 cups grated parmagiana reggiono cheese
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts (sliced into bite size pieces)
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp butter
1 lb Mostaccioli pasta ( or whatever your preference, make sure it's a firm pasta that won't turn to mush)

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm to the bite (aldente). Drain.
Heat the 2 tsp butter and garlic in a skillet on low until melted and starting to heat the garlic (without burning it) add in chicken and allow it to grill and reduce butter to create a nice browning on each side of the chicken pieces.
Rinse the large pot you used to boil the pasta and dry. Stir 2 cups of the cream, add the butter (12 tbsp) and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. 
Add the pasta and toss through the cream mixture. Add cheese, mix through, add remaining 1/2 cup of cream. Season with salt and pepper. Toss over low heat until mixture starts to thicken slightly (it will thicken upon cooling as well with the cheese in there)
Add in chicken, mix throughout - serve hot.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Risotto with Mixed Seafood:Risotto alla Chiogiotta

Easily Serves 4

Based on recipe by Mario Batali

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped, plus 1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
5 Lobster Tails
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (Vialone Nano brand preferred)
1 cup dry white wine
Approximately 2 cups large shrimp
6 Large (the ones that are about 2 1/2 inches across) - cut in half
1 cup small bay scallops
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup

Bring 3 quarts water to boil with the coarsely chopped onion, carrot, and bay leaf. Prepare the ice bath. Plunge the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and submerge in ice water 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In a 12 to 14-inch frying pan with 3-inch sides, heat the olive oil and onion and tomato paste over medium heat until softened but not brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and, stirring constantly, cook until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine, then the lobster cooking liquid, ladle by ladle, until the rice is covered. Turn the heat to high and, stirring constantly, continue to cook, maintaining the level of liquid just above the level of rice, for 10 minutes (keep ladleing the lobster broth to maintain the liquid level. Continue cooking 5 minutes.

Taste to make sure the rice is nearly aldente before the next step adding more liquid if needed.
Remove the lobsters from their shells, chop the meat into 1-inch pieces, and toss into rice, along with the shrimp and scallops. Continue cooking until rice is soft but still al dente and seafood is completely cooked (do not overcook it or it will be rubbery) Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and stir in butter and parsley. Serve immediately

Pine Nut Cheese Crisps

These tasty crisps were the perfect addition to my salad. Either crumble them on top or let them sit elegantly on some crisp romaine. Super tasty, easy and they look like you are a magician in the kitchen.

Based on Food Network Magazine Recipe

1 1/2 cups Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
4 tbsp chopped pine nuts

Pre-heat oven to 425 F.  Place parchment paper on a cookie tray. Mix pine nuts and sage together.  Place 9 tablespoon-size mounds of cheese on cookie sheet.  sprinkle each mound with pinenut sage mixture. Bake at 425 until teh cheese is golden and the edges are slightly crisp. approx 8-10 minutes.  Allow them to cool slightly so you can touch them.  Remove each crisp with a thin spatula and carefully wrap them around a rolling pin handle to give them a curve shape. Allow them to cool completely.
Repeat until mixture is done.

Sausage and Herb stuffed Mushrooms

Based on a recipe by Tyler Florence

The stuffing of in these mushrooms is SO tasty you could almost serve it by itself!

8 large green olives, pitted

1/4 cup pine nuts lightly toasted
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves
1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casing
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, dried out
24 large white mushrooms, stems removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
To make the stuffing, put the olives, pine nuts, parsley, and garlic on a cutting board and chop, and put into a mixing bowl. Add the sausage and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Drizzle the stuffing with about 1/4 cup of olive oil to moisten and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; mix well with your hands to combine. Put the bread crumbs in another bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add 1/4 cup of the Pecorino; season with salt and pepper.

Oil the bottom and sides of a casserole dish which is large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a single layer. Arrange the mushrooms snugly in the pan, cap side down; season the insides with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Stuff each mushroom with a generous spoonful of the sausage stuffing and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top; drizzle with even more oil. Bake for 20 minutes until the stuffing is browned and the mushrooms soft, rotating the dish periodically for even cooking.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

1 cup crab meat
1/2 cup cream cheese softened
1/2 cup italian parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Approx.15 mushroom caps (small/medium sized white)
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated parmesan
nonstick cooking spray
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper

I recommend making the cream cheese mixture a day ahead. It lets all the flavors incorporate well.
Combine the crabmeat, cream cheese, parsley, green onions and Parmesan.  Season with salt, garlic salt and pepper - season it to taste.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
combine breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp parmesan in a bowl.
Stuff the mushroom caps with teh mixture and top with bread crumbs.  Drizzle the tops with olive oil.  Place them either on a cookie sheet or in a glass casserole dish. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is hot and the tops crispy.
Serve hot!

Perfect Glazed Baby Carrots

Based on Recipe by Anne Burrell
Makes 4-6 Servings

1 bag (approx 1 pound) baby carrots
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 sprigs of thyme
pinch pepper

Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water, when they are cooked but still have a slight crunch left, plunge them immediately into the ice water. When cool, use a clean tea towel to rub the skin off (if they had any on). Reserve.

To a large skillet add teh butter, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, pepper and about 1/2 cup of water. Bring the pan to medium heat swirling occasionally. When most of the water has reduced and the mixture seems blended together, remove teh garlic and add the carrots, stir until they are coated. Allow it to cook for another 5 minutes on medium low. The carrots should be completely coated and hot!