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Monday, February 8, 2016

Pasta con Sugo di funghi (Pasta with Mushrooms)

It's as hearty as any meat sauce without the meat.  Hard to believe?   Gather up your favorite mushrooms and stand by for one great recipe.   It's perfect for the season of Lent.   
Servings 4
4 ounces button mushrooms
4 ounces baby Portabella
Handful of dried Porcini and their soak
1/2 cup carrot diced
1/2 cup celery diced
1/2 cup onion diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
One cup of white wine
1/2 cup of water
12 ounces crushed tomato and their juice
Handful of parsley
Handful of basil
12 ounces of papardelle pasta
6 quarts  (with two tablespoons salt), water for the pasta
Heat your olive oil in a large deep pan, enough to accommodate your ingredients.
When your mirapoix is fragrant, add your mushrooms. 
 Cook for about 25-27 minutes, turning and mixing every few minutes. Add salt and pepper.   Add your white wine and mix.   Let the liquid evaporate until the mushrooms are almost stuck to the pan and add your tomatoes.   Add about 1/2 cup water  and let simmer for 20 minutes more.  Your mushrooms should be very soft.  (If you care to chop them rather than slice, that is fine, they will cook faster).  Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the oil separates from the pan.   
In the meantime bring your pasta water to a boil.
 Let it cook slowly until your sauce looks like this.
 Let simmer, slightly covered. 
In the meantime, cook your pasta until al dente.   Toss with the sauce and serve.  Don't forget extra Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.   Buon Appetito!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chicken Cacciatora in Bianco (White wine version), Hunters style chicken version 2

I have seen many versions, all through Italy of Chicken Alla Cacciatora.   "Alla Cacciatora" refers to Hunter's style chicken.  Men would go out with their dogs and rifle's, hunting birds and such..  Many would come back to a delicious meal, normally of freshly killed chicken, that was cleaned and prepared the night before.  What makes this so unique, is the addition of the vinegary capers. They give this dish a very nice finish.   Unlike Pollo alla pepperoni, chicken with baby peppers,  that uses chicken thighs or breasts, this version, uses a whole chicken, cut up into pieces.  This version, also calls for passing the chicken pieces in flour.   The dredging in flour, gives this sauce a delicious thickness. Homegrown chickens, raised in the backyard, is not as fatty as the store bought, American versions.  They are not laced with antibiotics and colorants.   You will want to have extra bread on hand to help clean your plate.  It's all delicious to me.  Buon Appetito.
This version is without tomato. Although one can add tomato to this dish if you like.  That is another version. 
Ingredients (4 people)
One 4-5 pound chicken, cup up into pieces.  Leave some of the fat on the chicken
2-3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
Flour (about 1 cup), for dredging
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 cup of white wine (for deglazing the pan)
 One tablespoon olive oil 
4-5 colorful pepper (medium), cut into slices. If you are using a jarred variety, be sure and drain them first.  Then slice them into thin slices. 
2-3 cloves of garlic (smashed, to be removed later if you like)
One large pan to accommodate your ingredients in a flat fashion.  
A lid for your pan
Salt and pepper your chicken pieces and dredge in flour.
Heat your vegetable oil in the pan.  
Brown your chicken on all sides.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  De glaze the pan with wine.  Let it reduce until all of your tiny pieces come off the bottom of the pan when scraped with a spoon. 
Let the liquid reduce until there is almost nothing left in the pan but about 1/4 cup.   Drain the liquid over the chicken and set aside.
Do not wash your pan!!!!
Place your tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and heat to medium.   Add your garlic and peppers, slivered, all at once.   Place a lid on the pan and keep for about 3 minutes or so.   You will notice your vegetables will be softening and your peppers and garlic, fragrant.   At this point, return your chicken, all of it's liquid to the pan.   Keep a watchful eye on it.  You don't want it to turn dry.  Lower the heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes.  Your liquid should thicken, but not stick.  If your chicken is sticking, your heat is to high.  Add a little water to the pan and turn your chicken over to coat.  When your chicken is almost done, place 2 tablespoon of capers into the pan.   Be sure to give the capers a rinse first under fresh water.  Salted capers or capers that are two vinegary can also over power this dish.  
Pour everything into a serving dish and serve with plenty of crusty bread.    A light, Pinot Noir is the perfect wine pairing for this dish.  
Buon Appetito!