Tag Archives: Italian

Chicken Chasseur (Hunter-style Chicken)

My Chicken Chasseur was supposed to be served for our Valentine’s dinner, however, that did not happen. I did, however, prepare this amazing dish the next evening along with my favorite smashed potato recipe, steamed asparagus and the cute little heart-shaped creme brulees for dessert!

I had been cooking SO much prior to Valentine’s Day because it had been so cold and snowy that I just could not drag myself back into the kitchen. (What else does someone like me do when the weather outside is frightful??) And besides that, we had been eating and drinking and drinking and eating, so it was rather difficult to get motivated once again to get in the kitchen. Some days this girl needs a break! 😉

Instead of terrorizing my kitchen yet again and wearing myself out to the point of total exhaustion, I heated up some Boeuf Bourguignon that was in the freezer and we had creme brulee for dessert on Valentine’s evening. Not too bad, for a last minute Valentine’s Day dinner!

With Boeuf Bourguignon one evening and creme brulee for dessert, followed by Chicken Chasseur, I am beginning feel like I am on a gluttonous French gastronomical tour! Where did my so-called diet go??? I am waiting for temperatures above 40 degrees on a consistent basis and then I will get back to more reasonable cooking. But of course, that reasonable cooking will have to wait until after my dinner party this week. Wait until you see what dishes I am preparing for that! I need to be running laps just thinking about it! 😉

So back to the chicken, Chicken Chasseur is one of my hubby’s favorites that I make. That is why it was intended for Valentine’s Day! I saw Bobby Flay preparing this dish on a Saturday morning several years back. He did a show on French classics (just my kind of stuff!). I, of course, made this dish that evening. It has since become a favorite in our home.

The ingredients are easy enough to find. There are a few steps in preparing the dish, so it is best to have everything chopped and ready to go! You will need a couple of tablespoons of clarified butter to saute the chicken. The recipe also calls for enriched chicken stock. If you do not have your own stock, you can reduce the packaged stuff by half to make enriched stock (I like Swanson’s organic chicken broth when I do not use homemade).

The recipe says to cut the chicken in quarters, however, when I watched this show, the chicken was cut into more pieces (I do not remember how many precisely). We usually cut a chicken into 8 or 10 pieces (10 pieces if the breast is very large). I do serve the chicken on the bone (this recipe says to remove the breast meat from the bone).

The sauce is incredible with the chicken, so be sure to take the time to reduce it properly. Just keep your chicken warm until your sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It does take some time. You then finish it with a knob of butter and some fresh herbs! Voila!

Here is the recipe from Bobby Flay Chicken Chasseur

We served the chicken with a lovely bottle of 1999 Crognolo. Crognolo is a Super Tuscan wine made with the Sangiovese grape. With ten years of aging it struck just the right note. It was phenomenal! This was definitely a bottle that was ready to drink! The cork was fine, but the wine had the potential to not be so good in an other year or two. My hubby took a picture of the cork. Note how far up the cork the wine had penetrated. Had the wine reached the top of the cork, the wine in the bottle would be exposed to air and begin to oxidize. This is just one way a bottle of wine can go bad. On that note, I say, drink up and Bon Appetit!

Chicken Chasseur on Foodista

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Filed under Chicken, Entrees, French, Recipes, Wine

Rustic Acorn Squash Lasagna with Browned Butter Sauce

This recipe is my second entry in the Foodista Best of the Food Blogs Cookbook contest. The other one is my Meyer Lemon Sorbet. As Donkey says in the movie Shrek, “Pick me!”, if you are so inclined. Thanks!


You may have already noticed that I love squash. It is the perfect comfort food and is synonymous with Fall and Winter. I am a huge fan of butternut squash lasagna, however, it is a very rich dish that is sometimes a bit too sweet. It also makes enough for 8 to 10 people and there are only 2 of us.

I decided to create a lasagna that I could make in small portions that would also be elegant to serve for a dinner party should I want to make it in larger amounts. This also would avoid the problem of leftovers that are not always so good with butternut squash lasagna.

This is a beautiful and yes, rich dish, however, the portion is a nice size. I made the dish using Barilla’s no boil lasagna noodles which makes a square portion approximately 3 1/2 x 4 inches. You could, of course, make your own pasta, however, these are easier and are delicious in the dish.

Since there are a number of steps involved, my suggestion would be to make the fillings ahead, soak the noodles and then make the béchamel. Once you have assembled the lasagna and your dish is baking, gather the ingredients to make the butter sauce. You can then top the lasagna with the butter sauce, freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano and serve it for a romantic dinner for 2 or a dinner party for 6. I have made the recipe so that it should be easy to cut the ingredients in half (to serve 2) or add extra servings, as needed.

By the way, this dish has the major thumbs up and the ultimate hubby stamp of approval. That is generally the highest compliment (because he is incredibly picky!), so I hope you will enjoy this as much as he does!

Rustic Acorn Squash Lasagna with Browned Butter Sauce

Serves 4

Acorn Squash Filling
2 whole small acorn squash
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds. Turn halves upside down in a baking dish. pour in about 1 inch of water. Bake until flesh is cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. Turn right side up and cool enough to handle. Scoop out cooked flesh, put in a bowl and mix with rest of ingredients. Set aside.

Ricotta Cheese Filling
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (Calabro is my first choice. It is the best I have found.)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt (or to taste depending on your cheeses)

Mix all the ingredients together and set aside. Refrigerate if necessary.

Bechamel
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
5 Tbsp. flour
5 cups whole milk
1 fresh Bay leaf
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Melt butter over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Slowly add milk in a stream, whisking constantly. Add bay leaf and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes until thickened and reduced. Add salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Remove from heat and place in a bowl large enough to dip lasagna sheets. Cover with plastic until ready to use.

Lasagna
8 Barilla no boil lasagna noodles

Place noodles in a Pyrex dish. Boil water and pour over noodles to cover. Be sure to separate them gently so they do not stick together. Let sit about 5 minutes until pliable. Remove and place on kitchen towel until ready to use. Cover.

Assembly
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking dish with butter that is large enough to hold assembled lasagna. Cut noodles in half. Dip noodle halves in bĂ©chamel (be sure to coat completely). Place in baking dish and top each with about 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. ricotta mixture. (Do not spread out completely as mixture will spread during baking.) Repeat with another noodle half, dipping in bĂ©chamel. Place on top of cheese and then spread with about 2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp. squash mixture. Dip another noodle half in bĂ©chamel, place on top of squash and top with another 2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp. ricotta. Finish lasagna with one more noodle half dipped in bĂ©chamel. You can use a bit more of the fillings, but it will weigh down the noodles. (There will be a little bit of the fillings leftover if you use 2 1/2 Tbsp per layer.)

Cover dish with aluminum foil (be sure dish is deep enough so the foil does not hit the top of the lasagna). Bake 20 minutes until heated through. Let this rest while you make the browned butter sauce. * A little of the cheese will spread out from the lasagna, but just scoop up the cheesy goodness along with the lasagna before serving!

Browned Butter Sauce
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, chopped
Additional Parmesan Reggiano for serving

Melt butter in a pan on low heat. Add sage and stir and cook until butter is almost brown. Pour over lasagna and serve with grated Parmesan Reggiano.


Buon Appetito!

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Filed under Acorn Squash, Bechamel, Cheese, Entrees, Italian, Lasagna, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetables

When Life Gives You Meyer Lemons…Make Budino!

This picture of Budino is featured today on Foodie Views! It was my first time submitting a photo and it was selected as one of the best food pictures on the web! Please go to the following link to vote for my picture! Thanks!
Click here to vote for my picture on Foodie Views.

Meyer Lemons are delightful. They are wonderfully fragrant. Originating in China, they are a combination of a regular lemon and a sweet orange (like a mandarin). So, they are perfect for lemony desserts when you want a little less tang. Unfortunately, their season is somewhat brief (beginning in November to as late as April). However, I usually do not see them for that number of months. They seem to peak right around this time.

So, naturally, I had to purchase a few when they were in great abundance at Harry’s Farmer’s Market the other day. You have to get these precious fruits while you can! So, with Meyer Lemons in hand, I decided to make this wonderful dessert, Budino (which is pudding in Italian). It is light and lemony; not too sweet.

You may or may not know that we have been on a new lifestyle change program for the New Year. We are also participating in Ten in 2010 (ten weeks to a healthy lifestyle), so I am not making too many desserts these days. We are, however, allowing ourselves one day a week (most likely a weekend day) to eat whatever we would like (within reason, of course). This dessert was the perfect finale to a really lovely dinner Saturday night (our “off” day).

This recipe was originally published in Bob Appetit in September 2006.

Budino

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter six 3/4-cup custard cups or ramekins. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Whisk in milk.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until frothy. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in 2 additions.Divide mixture among prepared custard cups. Place custard cups in roasting pan.Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups. Bake puddings until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Remove cups from water. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, if desired.

* Be sure not to overcook the pudding. You want to have the wonderful runny, lemon pudding at the bottom of the custard cups. They only took 25 minutes in my oven.

* Also, be sure to remove them immediately from the hot water bath and away from the heat (for the same reason) and allow them to cool, or eat immediately.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful dessert while Meyer Lemons are in season. It is a lovely ending to a meal, it cleanses the palate and it special enough for guests. Buon Appetito!

Lemon Pudding Cake on Foodista

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Filed under Desserts, Italian, Meyer Lemons, Pudding, Recipes

Mamma Mia! Bunkycook’s Blog made it on La Famiglia Del Grosso’s Facebook

Very exciting! Bunkycook’s made La Famiglia Del Grosso’s Facebook page from the blog that talked about Aunt Mary Ann’s Sunday Marinara Sauce (December 18).

Here is the link and be sure to check the older posts as it made already have scrolled to the next page!

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/LaFamigliaDelGrosso?ref=nf

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What’s in the Pantry for Dinner? Del Grosso pasta sauce!

I had really good intentions for cooking a wonderful chicken last night. I had almost everything I needed for dinner, but I ended up out in crazy holiday traffic running errands and got home too late to do the required marinating for the chicken. So, tired and hungry, I stood in the kitchen looking at the pantry, fridge and freezer wondering what the heck I was in the mood to cook….The answer is always pasta of some sort when it gets that bad. You can never go wrong with pasta.

I honestly would not even write about cooking a pasta dish with prepared sauce, but this one was really good! We purchased a jar of La Famiglia Del Grosso sauce a few months ago when it was on sale. We bought their Aunt Mary Ann’s Sunday Marinara (gotta love the name!). We thought we would give it a try on a night just like tonight. It looked better than the usual bottled stuff and it should be at $7.99 a jar (regular price). It appeared to be cream based, but I checked and it was not. Just the usual suspects with a notch up…Italian plum tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, olive oil, onions, sea salt, garlic, basil, black pepper and parsley. Sounds just like something you would make at home and it was! We usually combine a can of imported crushed tomatoes with sautĂ©ed garlic and onion in olive oil and add fresh basil, possibly some parsley, salt and pepper when we are throwing a marinara sauce together in a hurry.

I also happened to have some sweet Italian sausages in the freezer, so I thawed those. I started to saute a large onion and a green pepper in olive oil, threw in the sausage (that I sliced into larger pieces), browned the sausage and cooked the vegetables. How Italian is that? Sausage, onions and green peppers…I prepared some penne and wow! It was better than eating pasta at any Italian restaurant that we could think of that serves traditional Southern Italian cooking. And I should know. I am married to a good Italian boy and I am from Philly.

Of course, I went to the Del Grosso website today and found that this is truly a family business that is cooking up and marketing old family recipes. This all started with a small cafe in Altoona, Pa. where one of the original family that immigrated from Italy began cooking up old an old world recipe for spaghetti sauce. It evolved over the years to where they were selling sauce to patrons to take home. Now there are 8 sauces for 8 different family members (how about Uncle Joe’s Vodka Celebration?) as well as pizza sauces and salsa, etc. They even own an amusement park in Tipton, PA. Who knew sauce could be so profitable (other than Paul Newman)???? From what I read on the website, their sauces are quite the rage and they are participating in many culinary events. I guess it MUST be really good stuff. I missed all this until now since we do our own….

I did not take a picture of our dinner because it’s pasta! And I did not realize it would be so good with so little effort. I, of course, topped it with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano. (Yo Adrian, you gotta do that!) We really were impressed. I will definitely buy this sauce again to have on hand in case there is another night like last night. There are many days when you just want to take it easy. This sauce is perfect for a night when you don’t want to do major cooking, but it tastes as though you did. Thanks Aunt Mary Ann!

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Filed under Italian, Pasta