Saturday, September 10, 2016

Chicken Tuscan Style~Pollo al Forno

I have so much Rosemary in my yard,  I could probably start selling it at the local market.  For this recipe, plenty of fresh Rosemary is always on hand. In "the style of Tuscany" usually refers to something grilled.  This "oven baked" chicken will remind you of that due to the abundance of fresh Rosemary.  Your house will be infused with the smell of fresh Rosemary.  Reminds me so much of those long walks in the Tuscan countryside.
 A cut up chicken works very well for this recipe. Any combination will do. I will normally add the chicken breast about 30 minutes into the cooking time. For this recipe,  I had two small packages of chicken thighs  which was plenty for us.  Even had some chicken leftover  for chicken salad the following day.
Ingredients for 4 people:
I cut up chicken (About 4-5 pounds) or
2 small packages of chicken thighs (about 8 pieces)
2  good handfuls of fresh rosemary
3 cloves of garlic cut up
7 small -med red potatoes cut up thin sliced into a bowl/ rinsed/dried and set aside
2 tablespoons of olive oil for your potatoes
2 teaspoons of salt/
2 teaspoons of pepper
One cup of dry white wine

Clean and dry your chicken pieces.  I like to leave about half the skin on the chicken for baking.  You can remove your skin completely if you like.  I do not.  It is not necessary to add any additional fat to your pan for your chicken. You can always remove your skin before serving.
Salt and pepper your chicken with one teaspoon each of salt and pepper and set aside.  Add your rosemary, garlic  and toss. Reserve several sprigs for garnishing your plates.
Preheat your oven to 400 bake.

Prepare your potatoes.  Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add one teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Place your chicken in a large baking pan, skin side up.  Spread your rosemary sprigs over your chicken pieces.   Turn your oven down to 375 bake.   Cook for 30 minutes.   Add your potatoes  and spread them around your chicken.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes. 
Carefully remove your pan from your oven to your stove top.  Add your cup of white wine.   Carefully place your pan back into oven.
Bake again for an additional 30 minutes.  Your wine will evaporate but leave your chicken and potatoes with great flavor.  Your chicken and potatoes should be golden.  Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving. Discard the Rosemary and add some fresh Rosemary for garnish before serving.   Buon Appetito~

Special hint:  If your chicken is not golden, remove your potatoes (they should be golden but soft and somewhat crisp), put your oven on low broil for 5 minutes to crisp up your chicken.   Let cool before serving.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pasta e Broccoli (2nd version)

This is a fine example on how minimal ingredients can yield a great result.  This dish, typical of the Puglia region of Italy is very familiar to so many of you here in the United States.  The "Andy Boy" variety out of California, is the variety of choice.  
Don't be intimidated by the anchovy.  You may use anchovy paste if you like however you will not get the best result as the paste breaks down a little two quickly.  Buy some good anchovies from Portugal.  They are inexpensive and last once they are opened.  The anchovy adds great flavor and disintegrates into the hot olive oil.  
I came across this special pasta (little Harmonica shapes),  from Puglia in a speciality food store here locally on sale.  For under $15 for the entire dish, a little goes a long way. 
Ingredients:
12 oz of dry pasta of your choice. (Spaghetti, Penne, etc)
1lb plus 1/2 lb of Andy Boy Broccoli (Broccoli rabe)
4 anchovy fillets (small) under oil
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
I tablespoon of salt for your water
1 pasta pot filled with 6 quarts of water.
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Method:
Put a 6 quarts of water in a pasta pot to boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt. 
Clean your Broccoli and drain.
Add your baking soda (addition of baking soda in your greens will help them remain bright green after they are cooked).
Boil for 10-12 minutes from the time your water comes back to a boil. 

Remove your Broccoli from the water.  Reserve your water in the pot.  You will be using this water to cook your pasta later. Add more water if necessary right to the pot.
In a large skillet,  heat your olive oil.  Add your garlic and after 10 seconds add your anchovy fillets.

 Your heat should be turned down some since the anchovy will sizzle when it hits the pan.  Slowly turn your heat up to medium and your anchovy will disintegrate into the oil, creating a lovely, fragrant aroma.  At this point add your drained Broccoli.  Be careful as it hits the pan.  Saute until all of your liquid has evaporated and your Broccoli has not quite stuck to the pan.  Set aside. 
Bring your water from which you cooked your Broccoli back to a boil.  There is no need to add anything. Cook your pasta until al dente.  Drain your pasta.  Toss and serve. Add more salt if you wish.   Buon Appetito