Friday, September 23, 2022

ChezCindy: Pasta Risotto with Chicken and Mushrooms


Making pasta in the style of risotto is not a new thing.  I simply had not tried this process before now.  It is good!  The pasta takes in flavor, absorbing the stock, garlic and vegetables as it hydrates and cooks.  It becomes full of flavor with great texture.  The tradeoff is the amount of time and attention it takes to make the pasta risotto.  You will need to tend to the pasta adding stock stirring for roughly 20 minutes.  I found it be a relaxing transition from a full day while I enjoyed a glass of wine.  

Pasta Risotto with Chicken and Mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups brown or white button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups dry gemelli or penne pasta
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
black pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Working with a large Dutch oven pan over medium-high heat, add in the olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add in the onion, garlic and mushrooms, stirring to coat in oil.  Cook while stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes, then add in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Add in the tomato paste, stirring to incorporate with the mushrooms.  Add the dry pasta to the pan with the mushrooms, stirring together, then add in the wine, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  The wine will bubble and absorb into the mix.  Lower the heat to medium.  

Meanwhile, have the stock on the stove in a pan over a low temperature to stay warm.  Once the wine has absorbed into the mix, begin ladling 1/2 cup of stock into the pasta mix, stirring to combine.  After the ladle of stock has absorbed into the pasta, continue adding 1/2 cup at a time until you have added 2 cups.  At this point taste a piece of pasta to determine the tenderness.  It will mostly likely be too firm.  

Add in the chicken thighs and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, stirring with the pasta.  Cook the chicken while continuing to add more stock and stirring.  Check the chicken for doneness of internal temperature of 165 degrees.  When the chicken has reached correct temperature, taste the pasta for texture.  You will want a tender pasta but not soft.  You may not use all of the stock.  

Remove from the heat, adjust for seasoning, garnishing with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.  

Friday, September 9, 2022

ChezCindy: Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin


When has cauliflower looked better?  This recipe is a simple 5-ingredent, minimal time and cleanup dream.  A dream only if you like cauliflower.  In my house, that is just me and the dogs!

My recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay, downloaded from the Food Network years ago.  It is super healthy by way of the cauliflower but watch out for the calories coming from heavy cream and three types of cheese.  Serve it with a green salad or a simple piece of grilled fish or chicken.  

Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup heavy cream
6-ounces goat cheese
2 ounces grated fontina cheese
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the cauliflower florets into a medium size casserole dish, spreading out into an even layer.  Pour in the cream.  Crumble and scatter the goat cheese over the florets, along with the fontina and Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle on the kosher salt.   

Place the casserole dish into the hot oven, roasting for 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has slightly thickened.  Remove from the oven, resting for 10 minutes before serving.

Note:  Other cheeses can be substituted such as gruyere and Pecorino, and herbed goat cheese work well together.  

Thursday, September 1, 2022

ChezCindy: Summer Corn Cauliflower & Chickpea Salad


Inspiration for this salad came from thoughts of Mexican Street Corn.  Which would have been fabulous as a salad, but I took this salad in a different direction to the Mediterranean.  I used Greek yogurt in the salad dressing, chickpeas, feta cheese with fresh mint and parsley, which all compliment the sweet summer corn and cauliflower.   

The salad is wonderful for sharing and can be made ahead of time as it holds up well fully tossed with the salad dressing.  It may even get better after sitting for 20-30 minutes as the ingredients marinate in the dressing bringing out the best of each. 

Summer Corn Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs
1/2 of a large cauliflower head
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
3 large ears corn, cut from the cobs
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1 head bibb lettuce

Creamy Yogurt Salad Dressing (recipe follows)

Cut the cauliflower into large pieces, placing each into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse until chopped into small bits.  You should have about 4 cups for the recipe.  Transfer the chopped cauliflower into a large bowl.

Add the drained chickpeas to the bowl with the cauliflower.  Add in the fresh cut corn as cut from the cobs, chopped red bell pepper, chopped parsley and mint.  Sprinkle on the salt and pepper.  Using a large spoon, gently stir to combine.  

Pour 6-8 tablespoons of the Creamy Yogurt Dressing over the salad, tossing to combine.  To serve, place individual leaves of the bibb lettuce onto a platter, spooning the dressed salad into each lettuce leaf, piling the remaining salad into the center.  Crumble the feta cheese over the salad.  Garnish with additional herbs, and a drizzle of additional salad dressing.  

Creamy Yogurt Dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plain full fat Greek yogurt

In a small bowl, add the Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper; whisk to combine.  Add the vinegar; whisk to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking vigorously while doing so.  Whisk in the yogurt.