Friday, May 28, 2010

Linguine con Vongole Piccante Salsa (Linguini with Spicy Clam Sauce)

Linguine con Vongole Piccante Salsa
(Linguini with Spicy Clam Sauce)
serves 4
This is a spicy version of linguini with clam sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes will provide a mildly spicy dish but the temperature can be turned up by adding additional red pepper flakes during the cooking or you can serve with the recommended amount of red pepper flakes and serve it accompanied by additional red pepper flakes on the side so diners can control the spiciness themselves.


1 pound dry spaghetti or linguini

3 -  6 1/2-ounce cans minced or whole clams
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons softened butter
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes preferred), drained, and hand crushed
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish
Kosher or sea salt (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente stage.  Drain the pasta. and set aside.
2.  Drain the clams reserving 1/2 cup of the clam juice.
3.  In a large sauté pan over medium heat bring the olive oil to the ripple stage and add the butter. When the butter melts add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, do not allow it to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and cook, stirring,  for 30 seconds more.
4.  Add the reserved clam juice and the crushed tomatoes.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
5.  When the clam juice/tomatoes come to a boil lower the heat to accomplish a gentle simmer, stir in the tomato paste, cover and cook the sauce at a simmer for 15 minutes.
6.  If there are large chunks of tomato still in the sauce and it's not to your liking, crush them using a potato masher to achieve the consistency you prefer.
7.  Stir the clams, basil, and parsley into the sauce. Bring back to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste.
8.  Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to combine evenly and to reheat the pasta.  
9.  For service either divide the sauced pasta among warmed service bowls garnished with additional chopped parsley or, for a family style service, plate the sauced pasta on a large service platter garnish with additional chopped parsley and serve.
Next Week's Posting: Risotto alla Milanese

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blue Birds

Blue Birds
Serves 4


4 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
4 ounces of blue cheese


1.  Lightly pound chicken breasts and dust with flour.
2.  Sauté the breasts in a heavy skillet in 1 tablespoon of butter until golden brown.
3.  In a sauce pan, over low heat melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and add the 3 tablespoons of flour (make a roux).   Cook the butter and flour mixture about 2 minutes, add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
4.  Crumble 2 ½ ounces of the blue cheese, the lemon juice, the lemon zest, and the cayenne pepper into the sauces and stir until blended.  Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasoning.
5.   Place a chicken breast on each diner's plate, pour ¼ of the sauce over each breast or, for a fancier look, first pour ¼ of the sauce onto the plate then place the chicken breast on top of the sauce and sprinkle the breast with some chopped, fresh Italian flat leaved parsley as a garnish.  Crumble the remaining blue cheese and distribute evenly over each breast.

Next Week's Posting:  Linguine con Vongole Piccante Salsa  (Linguini with Spicy Clam Sauce)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Russian Chicken Cutlets

Russian Chicken Cutlets
Serves 6
This is an elegant and interesting treatment for chicken. Since the sauce is a simple Hollandaise you can double its recipe easily.


2 slices white sandwich bread
¼ cup half-and-half cream or sweetened condensed milk
2 to 2½ cups uncooked ground chicken
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ cup finely chopped fresh, white mushrooms
7 tablespoons butter
2 cups Japanese Panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1.  Remove crusts from the bread, place bread in a large bowl and pour cream over the bread.  Let bread stand until all liquid is absorbed.
2.  Add ground chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, mushrooms, and 3 tablespoons of softened butter to the soaked bread and mix until well blended.  Chill mixture at least 1 hour so the mixture can be easy to handle.
3.  Shape into 12 pork chop shaped cutlets.  Build a breading station by placing the bread crumbs on a large plate; coat each cutlet on both sides and edges with the bread crumbs; press crumbs on firmly (the formed chicken cutlets should be sticky enough not to need the traditional flour, egg, breadcrumb station).  Chill breaded cutlets in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow coating to firmly set.
4.  Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, add ¼ inch of vegetable to the skillet when it is heated.  When oil is hot add cutlets and fry, turning to fry golden brown on both sides.  As the cutlets are browned remove from skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  When finished frying the cutlets, place them on an oven-proof serving dish into an oven that has been pre-heated to 375° F oven for about 15 minutes.   Keep the cutlets warm until ready to serve.
5.  Meanwhile, in the top of a double boiler combine the lemon juice and egg yolks and whisk to blend thoroughly.
6.  Add the appropriate amount of water to the lower portion of the double boiler and place it over medium heat.  When the water becomes hot, place the top of the double boiler in place and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the heated lemon juice and egg yolk mixture.  Beat with a whisk until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly blended .
7.  Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the egg yolk mixture a piece at a time; beating until smooth after each addition. 
8.  After all the remaining butter has been added, remove the top of the double boiler from the water and stir in the remaining salt and cayenne pepper.  Place this sauce in a sauce boat.
9.  Either serve the warm cutlets on the serving plate or transfer the warm cutlets to individual service plate along with vegetables of your choice and serve with the Hollandaise sauce on the side. 
Note: a double boiler can be approximated by using two sauce pans, one smaller than the other so it can fit inside the larger. Then putting water in the larger and “floating” the smaller in the larger.

Next week's posting: Blue Birds

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicken Louis

Chicken Louis
Serves 6
This recipe is my version of  Chicken ala King.  I  think  the use of red, yellow,  and orange  bell  peppers and the  niblets corn adds visual interest to what is  normally a rather bland looking dish while the addition of  cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and paprika add an interesting contrast to the richness of the heavy cream based sauce.
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (14 fl oz)
1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups (1/2 cup each yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, cut into ¼ -inch dice)
½ cup niblet corn
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher or  sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
¼ pound white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 slices firm white sandwich bread, toasted crust remove and sliced diagonally
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1.  Over moderate heat, in a heavy saucepan, bring to a simmer the broth and add the chicken. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through.
2.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool.
3.  Strain broth through cheese cloth or a fine sieve into a heatproof 2-cup measuring cup.  And set aside.
4.  In a small bowl whisk together yolks, lemon juice, Sherry, cayenne, and paprika.  And set the yolk mixture aside.
5.  In a large, heavy pot over moderately high heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Sauté the peppers, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer peppers to a bowl and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. And set aside.
6.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and the onions to the pot and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened and translucent but not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour and 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
7.  Whisk in 3/4 cup of broth, then all of cream and mushrooms, and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
8.  Whisk 1/2 cup sauce from the pot into the yolk mixture, then stir yolk mixture back into sauce remaining in pot. Cook over low heat, stirring (do not allow to boil or simmer or the sauce will curdle) until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
9.  Cut chicken into bit sized cubes (about ½ inch square) and add along with peppers and the niblet corn to the sauce, then cook over low heat (do not simmer or the sauce will curdle), stirring occasionally, until chicken, corn, and peppers are just heated through. Add more broth to thin if desired.
10.  Spoon the Chicken Louis over toast points arranged on 6 plates and sprinkle with parsley to dress.

Nest Week's Post:  Russian Chicken Cutlets

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