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BREAKING NEWS: Barbecued Chicken Parmesan
Aug 10th, 2012 by

I love the colors in this photo: the red tomato sauce; the multi-colored table; and the green grass beyond.

I love the colors in this photo: the red tomato sauce; the multi-colored table; and the green grass beyond.

Here's my new skillet for the grill. I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of this.

Here's my new skillet for the grill. I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of this.

We interrupt this menu from Nice to let you know about a wonderful dinner I created this week with ingredients I had on hand.

Last Christmas my brother gave me a skillet and roasting pan that are designed to use on the grill. I had a craving for chicken parmesan and didn’t want to turn on the oven so I came up with this recipe for the grill.

I made the tomato sauce ontop of the stove in the RootsLiving kitchen. But everything else was cooked and baked on the grill.

Quick Tomato Sauce
(This simple recipe comes from the classic Italian cookbook, the Artusi).

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes (About 1 1/2 pounds, preferably Roma or plum tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper (Just a dash, to taste)

What I did:

Blanch the tomatoes: that means drop them in boiling water for about a minute. This makes it easier to peel them.

Peel, de-seed and chop them.

Drop the tomatoes into a pot with just enough water to keep them from sticking to the bottom.

Simmer the tomatoes until done (About 20 minutes; no more than 30 minutes). Stir occassionally. And add salt and pepper.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor.

Barbecued Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • Chicken cutlets (About 1.5 pounds will serve four people)
  • Tomato Sauce (see recipe above)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (2-3 large balls)
  • American Cheese (I know foodies out there are grimacing. I decided to use small strips of American cheese because I wanted something to melt over the chicken and fresh mozzarella doesn’t do that too well. Trust me, the flavor combination works!)
  • Parmesan cheese (Just enough to sprinkle over each layer of cutlets. And for heaven’s sake, use the imported Parmesan. That stuff they sell in a jar in the supermarket is plastic. There, did I redeem myself?)
  • Eggs (1 large)
  • Breadcrumbs (About a cup)
  • Milk (Just a splash)

What I did:

Mix the egg and the milk in a bowl until well blended.

Dip the cutlets into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs being sure to coat both sides.

Spread olive oil over your grilling skillet with a paper napkin or towel.

Cook the cutlets one or two at a time in the skillet over the grill. Turn over so both sides are cooked.

Line your roasting pan for the grill with aluminum foil. And coat the foil with some olive oil.

Spread some tomato sauce over the foil and then put down a layer of cooked cutlets.

Top the cutlets with slices of fresh mozzarella and then top that with a small strip of American Cheese.

Cover the cutlets with tomato sauce and then sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over that.

Make layers of this until you run out of cutlets.

Loosely cover the roasting pan with some aluminum foil. Put the pan on the grill and cover the grill. Cook until the cheese melts and the sauce bubbles.

Serve with a salad and/or rice. Or serve it with some corn on the cob (for something really different, try this Italian Corn on the Cob recipe from Mario Batali).

The smoked flavor of this dish really makes this different than the usual chicken parmesan. In the winter you could get a similar flavor by using smoked mozzarella and an oven. But winter is a long time off!

Gnocchi Di Pollo E Patata Soup
Nov 28th, 2010 by

Roll the dough into a snake with your fingers before cutting it.

Roll the dough into a snake with your fingers before cutting it.

Gnocchi di pollo e patata sounds so much better than chicken and potato gnocchi. But they both taste the same: light, savory, elegant.

This recipe, from The Art of Eating Well, by Pellegrino Artusi, makes many gnocchis so it’s great to make and freeze. And then when you crave gnocchi, you’ll always have it on hand.

First the broth:

Ingredients:

  • A whole chicken (1)
  • Celery Stalk (1, split in half)
  • Carrot (1 whole, peeled and cut in half)
  • Salt/Pepper (to taste)

What I did:

Put a whole chicken in a large pot and cover with cold water.

Add celery and carrot, and salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for an hour or more.

Remove chicken. Pour broth through strainer into a large plastic container and refrigerate over night.

The next day, take the fat off the top of the broth with a soup spoon.

To make the gnocchi:

Ingredients:

  • Mealy potatoes, peeled, boiled and pressed through a ricer or strainer  (1/2 pound)
  • Small chicken breast, boiled  and minced (Use one from the chicken you used to make the broth).
  • Parmesan cheese (3/4 of a cup)
  • Egg yolks (2)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (a pinch)
  • Flour (3-4 tablespoons)

What I did:

Mix all of the ingredients, except the flour, together well.

Work the flour into the mixture to bind it.

Roll the mixture on a floured surface into a snake, the diameter of your little finger.

Cut the snake into 1-inch lengths. Put what you don’t use into a large freezer bag and put in a freezer for later use.

Simmer the gnocchi in the broth. They are very delicate and may fall apart. Don’t be too concerned as when they fall apart, they flavor the broth.

Find more recipes in the Food section.


(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Florentine Rags (Cenci)
Jan 28th, 2010 by

Some people add a little lemon juice or lemon zest to the dough but this recipe did not call for any.

Some people add a little lemon juice or lemon zest to the dough but this recipe did not call for any.

Here’s another recipe from the classic 19th century Italian Cookbook, The Art of Eating Well, by Pellegrino Artusi.

Cenci are a Florentine winter treat, made from Epiphany to Mardi Gras. This deep-fried pastry looks like little rags and tastes a little like fried dough, but not as heavy and never greasy.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • All-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups)
  • Butter (2 tbsp.)
  • Confectioners’ sugar (1/3 cup, plus more for dusting the finished cenci)
  • Large eggs (2)
  • Brandy (1 tbsp.)
  • Salt (just a pinch)
  • Water (Optional; 1/4 cup or less; just enough to make dough)
  • Vegetable oil or lard (enough for deep frying)

I recommend using a cast iron skillet when deep frying. Get the oil good and hot, but not smoking.

I recommend using a cast iron skillet when deep frying. Get the oil good and hot, but not smoking.

What I did:

Making the Dough: Mix all of these ingredients in a bowl, making a fairly stiff dough. You may have to add a little water to incorporate all of the ingredients. Knead the dough thoroughly on a lighted floured surface. Add a little flour if dough comes out too soft. Shape into a ball and flour it. Let it rest, covered, for about an hour.

After it rests, the dough will much softer and easier to roll out. (If the dough formed a crust while it sat, knead it a little before rolling it out.) Roll it out into a thin rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick).

Use a pastry wheel (or knife) to cut it into strips as long as your palm and two fingers wide.

Twist and crinkle the strips and then fry them in the hot oil or lard.

Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to catch the extra oil.

Transfer to a clean plate and when cool, dust them with confectioners’ sugar.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Easy Weeknight Pasta
Nov 17th, 2009 by

This old classic is quick, easy, and delicious: perfect for a weeknight.

This old classic is quick, easy, and delicious: perfect for a weeknight.

Sometimes you need a recipe like this to remind you how easy perfection can be. This is a simple tomato and pasta dish that dates back to the classic Italian cookbook, “The Art of Eating Well,” published in 1891 by Pellegrino Artusi. Artusi travelled throughout Italy collecting the best family recipes from each region.

This one is from Naples and is called, “Neapolitan-Style Macaroni II.”

Ingredients:

  • One pound of macaroni (Penne can be used as it absorbs the sauce well)
  • Two large slices of onions
  • 1 1/4 pounds of peeled, seeded tomatoes (4 or 5 will do)
  • Fresh basil (a bunch minced)
  • Butter (1/2 stick, plus two tablespoons)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (about a 1/4 - 1/2 cup)

What I did:

Saute onion in two tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. The onion will split into rings as it cooks. When it browns, press it down with a spoon and then discard.

Stir in the tomatoes; add basil, salt and pepper.

Simmer until done. About 1/2 hour or until it’s not watery.

Cook pasta until al dente. Add sauce; 1/2 stick of butter; and grated parmesan cheese.

Serve with garlic bread and a salad, if you like.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Lenten Spaghetti
Jun 30th, 2009 by

Good Italian food isn't all about red sauce, as this dish proves.

Good Italian food isn't all about red sauce, as this dish proves.

This is a little different, but very good, simple and easy to make.  Pellegrino Artusi, in his famous 1891 cookbook, said that some might exclaim, “What a ridiculous dish!” But we both like it. It’s Romagnan and a little sweet.

Ingredients

2 1/2 ounces of shelled walnuts

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar

1 heaping teaspoon of spices (see below)

1 lb of spaghetti

Spices

  • The lenten spaghetti recipe calls for a mixture of spices that several other recipes in the Artusi use, so I made a batch of this that I keep in my cupboard. Called “Spezie Fini” or “Choice Spices” you “grind in a bronze mortar” (or chop in a mini foodprocessor; or however you choose to grind):
  • 2 whole nutmegs
  • 2 ounces stick cinnamon from Ceylon
  • 1 ounce (4 1/2 tablespoons) all-spice
  • 4/5 ounce (4 tablespoons) cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sweet almondsThen “strain the powder through a silk strainer” (or whatever) and store it in a glass bottle. It should keep for years with the same potency.
What I did:
Mash walnuts with bread crumbs, and add some confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of spices.
Drain the pasta, season it with oil and pepper, stir in the spices and serve it.
(Should serve five)
(Find more recipes in the Food section.)
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