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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Pasta, Peas, And Pancetta

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This is a quick easy week night meal, and a great one you can serve up to guests. Let me show you how fast this dish comes together. I’m using a Fusilli pasta for this dish.

This is what pancetta (Italian bacon) looks like. I’ts similar to American bacon in that it’s cured, it is just not smoked.You can get this at the deli counter in your local grocery store. For this dish, you do not want to get it sliced, you’re going to want one thick slice about 1/2 inch thick. The deli employees will just adjust the blade on the slicer to the thickness you’re requesting. You may even be able to find pancetta already diced and packaged.

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Prep Time: 3-5 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 pound of fusilli
2-1/2 ounces pancetta, 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, reserve 1/4 cup for serving
1 good size shallot, halved, and thinly sliced
1-10 ounce package frozen peas
Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pasta cooking liquid
1 tablespoon of finely julienned fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves

Directions:
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Heat the olive oil in a medium  (10 inch) saute pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crispy pancetta over to a plate, lined with paper towel. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon dripping from saute pan.

Add the sliced shallots and minced garlic to the pan,  saute about 3 minutes until tender. Toss in the thawed frozen peas, to warm through, stirring everthing together. Remove from heat. Add the crispy pancetta back in with the vegetables and stir through.

Add the pancetta vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano, half the mint,and half the basil to the cooked pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by the tablespoon if needed. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle remaining basil and mint on top. Serve, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

 

 

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Chicken Milanese-Updated

 

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Chicken Milanese is my favorite of all my dishes. The idea of warm chicken on top of a cool, crisp green salad, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and shaved pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, makes me, well…CRAZY

All Chicken Milanese is, is a breaded chicken cutlet that’s been shallow fried in olive oil. My grandmother had her method, she would dip the chicken breasts in beaten eggs that had been seasoned, and then the chicken would be dredged in Italian bread crumbs.  I’ve updated that a bit.

To make the best-fried chicken, the chicken should be marinated in buttermilk, for a couple of hours or overnight, as a first step. It really tenderizes the chicken and then, of course, a flour or breading would follow.  I’ve decided to use a seasoned Greek yogurt as a first step then follow that up with the breading. It makes the chicken so tender and the spices really permeate the meat. Then I follow up with the breading.

I’m a really big fan of grilled chicken on top of a Caesar salad, so that gave me this idea! I’m using my favorite brand of a creamy chicken Caesar dressing as a marinade for my Milanese. The spices are already in the dressing, and I love the flavor of a Caesar dressing. This will make a great marinade and tenderizer for the chicken cutlets.

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Chicken Milanese-Updated

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: Minimum 2 hours
Total Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large baking sheet and rack, 12-inch sauté pan, large mixing bowl, vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound of chicken cutlets (breasts)
1-16 ounce bottle of creamy Caesar dressing
2 1/2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (2 tablespoons of dried)
2 packages of prewashed mixed greens
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shaved
2 lemons
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O.
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a large bowl, marinate chicken cutlets in 1 bottle of Creamy Caesar dressing.

Note: Make sure each on the cutlets is coated on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the frig for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line baking sheet with foil and spray rack with non-stick cooking spray.

Remove the chicken from the frig. Pour the bread crumbs into a large bowl, then dredge each cutlet, shaking off the excess buttermilk, into the bread crumbs, again shaking off the excess breadcrumbs from each of the cutlets. Once they’re all breaded, set them onto the baking sheet pan fitted with a rack.

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Carefully add in the olive oil, tilting the pan away from you. Make sure the bottom of the pan is covered in oil. Once the oil has come up to temperature, ( you can test this by just submerging the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you notice the oil bubbling, surrounding the tip of the handle, the oil is ready.) carefully add the breaded chicken to the pan. Do not overcrowd the cutlets. You may have to do this shallow frying in batches and possibly add more olive oil. Pan fry about 2 to 3 minutes per side, just enough to get a golden brown color on both sides.

Transfer golden brown cutlets back onto the baking sheet fitted with the rack. Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. The internal temperature of 165-degrees F.

To serve:
Divide the mixed greens onto 4 salad plates. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over each salad. Drizzle each with a couple of tablespoons of *E.V.O.O. Sprinkle each salad with salt and pepper. Using a potato peeler, shave a few shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano over each salad. Top each of the cold crisp salads with 2 of the hot pieces of the Chicken Milanese.  Take the remaining lemon and squeeze some of the juice over all of the chicken. Serve immediately and enjoy!!!

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

 

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Whole Foods

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I was strolling through the Whole Foods market when this display wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano caught my eye. Oh yeah, the “on sale” sign too!

Right behind the Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is an enormous wall of cheeses from around the world, I mean that literally! There are cheeses from all over the world, and I’m planning on trying a few of them in the very near future.

 

The most amazing moment was watching the process of opening of an eighty pound Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel.

 

It turns out, this is a pretty big undertaking, and definitely takes some time to complete. Once that wheel is cracked open, it’s pretty awesome! I bought myself a couple of big wedges. When I returned home from the store, I placed one in the freezer and one in the frig. I think it’s going to be a pasta night!

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