Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken Miccata

Last night I decided to make chicken piccata because I had some nice lemons (not the first time I've heard that) and some chicken cutlets on hand.  Then I looked in the fridge and realized that I needed to use up the crimini mushrooms before it was too late, hence chicken "miccata" was born.  Yes, my creativity astounds me.  I present to you Exhibit A:

Let's get it on:

Chicken Miccata
(Makes 4 Servings)

12 oz. thin spaghetti
1/2 cup plus 5 Tbsp flour, divided (I prefer Wondra for almost everything)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt & pepper
1 lb. chicken cutlets
2 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 (10 oz.) package crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
3 fat cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. capers, rinsed
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large pot of water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
In a measuring cup, whisk 5 tsp. flour and chicken broth until smooth.  Set aside.
Place remaining flour in a shallow dish, season chicken with salt & pepper and dredge in flour.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet (large enough to hold pasta & sauce) over medium-high heat.  Add chicken (in batches, if necessary) and cook until browned on both sides (2-3 minutes per side).
Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until they release their juices and start to brown (about 5 min.).  Transfer to a small bowl and cover to keep warm.
Add garlic and cook for one minute, then add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes.
Add broth-flour mixture and lemon juice and cook until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, capers, butter and parsley and cook for 1 minute.  Add salt & pepper to taste.
Remove 1/2 cup of sauce from skillet and reserve to spoon over chicken later.
Toss the drained pasta in the skillet with the remaining sauce, let it sit for a few minutes, then toss again.
Serve pasta topped with chicken and reserved sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese to taste.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shrimp Risotto With Asparagus and Thyme

Since my finicky offspring was intent on eating his leftover hoagie from lunch for dinner, I jumped at the chance to whip up something he'd never eat for the hubby and me.  Allow me to elaborate...

This right here is what I'm talking about. Shrimp risotto with asparagus & fresh thyme. It's crazy delicious and easy to make (if you don't mind stirring a whole lot).

This recipe serves 4

4 cups chicken broth (approximately)
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 bunch thin asparagus, sliced into 1 in. pieces
2 large garlic cloves, peeled & minced
1 cup Arborio (or medium grain) white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
Additional grated cheese for serving

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan and add shrimp.  Turn off heat, cover and let stand until shrimp turn pink (about 3 minutes).  Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a small bowl and cover to keep warm.  Cover the broth to keep hot.

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and add asparagus.  cook for several minutes, until tender but still firm. Remove asparagus with a slotted spoon to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Add chopped onion and cook for several minutes until tender.  Add minced garlic and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.  Add rice and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.  Add wine and cook until it is absorbed (about 3 minutes).  Add chicken broth, about a cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender but al dente and mixture becomes creamy (allow broth to become almost completely absorbed between additions).

During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and asparagus to heat through.

Remove risotto from heat and gently but thoroughly stir in parmesan cheese and most of the fresh thyme.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Divide risotto in shallow bowls, sprinkle each with a small pinch of the remaining thyme and serve with additional grated cheese on the side.

Round out this dish with a garden salad and a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio for a special meal.


Captain's Log: Day 1

Well, this is my first official post on my brand new blog (I'll hold for applause).  I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, I'm unsure about the design or direction of this thing, or even if I like the name.  In short, I've been up and running for about 10 minutes and I'm already having an anxiety attack.  But, I figure if there are zillions of other people out there who can do it, so can I.  Uh, right?  Anyway, I'm hoping to learn something new and have some fun in the process.  Bloggers always seem to have such interesting lives that I'm also hoping to appear more interesting.  And witty.  And Martha Stewart-ish.  I hope that you enjoy this journey with me (and when I say "you", I mean the readers, of which I have none at the present moment).