Sauté the pancetta in the oil. Remove it when it browns. Then add the onion, salt and pepper. Fry the onion until its softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste – stir and coat the onion. Then the bay leaf and the rest of the bottle of wine. Raise the heat and let it reduce – about 10 minutes.
Bring the pasta water back to a boil and cook the pasta until almost done. Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir as it absorbs it. Add some pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
Stir in the browned pancetta, the butter, parsley and Parmigiana. Check for seasoning. Serve with more grated Parmigiana.
Chicken with Vinegar, Raisins, and Onions – An interesting combination of flavors – with kind of a sweet and sour finish.
Boil the onions in salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove and place them in a bowl. Fry the pancetta in a pot until it browns. Remove and place it in a separate bowl.
Add the boiled onions to same pot with the pancetta fat and cook until they begin to brown. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the chicken to pot starting skin side down and cook, turning, until browned. Transfer to bowl with onions.
Pour off the fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to the pot and bring to a boil and deglaze. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, browned chicken thighs, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 25 – 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken and onions to a platter. Continue cooking the sauce for another few minutes so it reduces. Spoon the sauce over chicken and onions and serve with pasta or rice.
Saint Joseph is highly regarded by Italians and we celebrate his feast day on March 19th. Like a lot of other Italian celebrations, his feast day centers on food. A standard is the Saint Joseph’s pastry – zeppole and sfingi – made by Italian bakeries in March. Another is Pasta con Sarde, with a sauce made from saffron, fennel and fresh sardines.
There’s a popular sit-com called The Big Bang Theory. One of the characters, Raj, can’t talk to a woman unless he’s had a drink. His drink of choice, of all things, is a Grasshopper. I’ve heard of them but never had one, so I thought I’d try it.
It’s a simple three-ingredient cocktail –
You put all the ingredients together, shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. You get a pretty green drink that I suppose is the same color as a grasshopper. It’s a pretty cocktail for Saint Patrick’s Day.
It’s great for a sit-com but I’ll probably never have one again. It tasted just like a Peppermint Patty.
FYI – If you replace the crème de menthe with brandy, you have a Brandy Alexander (much better).
Kristina’s Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs – My daughter came up with this one. It was so good we added it to our Christmas Eve seafood menu.
1 chopped garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup plain fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
Salt and black pepper
2 large filets – grey or dover sole, or flounder
Mix the first 5 ingredients. Blot the filets dry, season with salt and black pepper and place in an oiled roasting pan. Cook in 350o oven for 12 minutes. Remove and cover with the breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
Return to oven for 5 minutes and then under broiler for 3 minutes – just enough to brown the crumbs.
Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad – An interesting recipe adapted from Bon Appetit – the mix for the marinade is also used as sauce and salad dressing.
Mix orange juice, Sriracha, honey, soy sauce and ¼ cup oil. Reserve ½ of it to be used as salad dressing and sauce. Add the shrimp to the remaining half. Let it stand 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a pan. Drain the shrimp, reserving the liquid and cook them until pink. Remove the cooked shrimp and add the reserved liquid. Boil until slightly reduced, check for seasoning and then ladle over the shrimp.
Serve with rice and salad using the marinade as dressing.
¼ cup dried currants (soaked in warm water 15 minutes)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
Olive oil for grill pan and basting
Salt and black and red pepper to taste
If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes.
Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors combine.
Remove the meat mix from the refrigerator and pull off a piece about the size of a large egg. Form this tightly and evenly on a flat skewer. If the meat is too wet, add some breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining mix.
Place the skewers on an oiled grill pan heated to medium-high. Baste with oil as they are grilling. Carefully turn once. Cook until the outside is slightly charred.