Tag Archives: Parmigiano-Reggiano

Thursday Dinner: Mushroom Risotto

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I have made mushroom risotto here before without thinking much about it. Usually what happens is that I sweat some mushrooms, make a basic risotto, and combine them at some point.

What I liked about this offering from Closet Cooking was that it took the mushrooms more seriously than the rice. You actually create a mushroom broth to supplement the flavor of the risotto. The recipe is for a true mushroom risotto, rather than just a risotto with mushrooms. Continue reading Thursday Dinner: Mushroom Risotto

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Meatless Monday: Ramp Risotto a la DOC

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For the past couple of years, I’ve been reading menus and recipes that feature ramps prominently. Never having seen them before, I figured they were a type of mushroom, not unlike a morel.

I was wrong.

Ramps are actually a member of the lily family and are closely related to onions. They look like a flowery scallion, taste like a leek, and take little effort to prepare. After a thorough cleaning, trim the little hairy end from the bulb, toss any of overly tough leaves and you are done. For this recipe, you use both the white and green parts of the ramp.

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So, why are ramps so difficult to find? First, most people do not know how to use them. They are most widely found in the wild through the Appalachian mountains. In addition to being a largely regional food, they grow only during the spring months. Last, because they are mainly a wild vegetable, there are concerns about sustainability and overharvesting. So, don’t look for them anytime soon at your local Wegmans. I found them at the Central New York Regional Market recently and the staff at that particular farm’s table said that they may only be around for another week.

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If you see them, grab a bunch.

Continue reading Meatless Monday: Ramp Risotto a la DOC

Christmas 2013: Orzotto With Pancetta and Peas

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I don’t care what she did. I don’t care what she snorted. I love Nigella Lawson.

She could have drowned puppies. She could make weekly visits to daycare centers to kick babies.

I don’t care. She is wonderful. The only thing she has done wrong, as far as I’m concerned, is marry Charles Saatchi.

No Christmas meal in an Italian home should be without a pasta dish, but I was looking for something out of the alfredo/marinara realm. Enter Nigella and her orzo recipe, which may be the most copied recipe from her 2012 cookbook Nigellissima. I happened to find it at Williams-Sonoma.

Continue reading Christmas 2013: Orzotto With Pancetta and Peas

Meatless Monday: White Beans with Rappi and Lemon

Sometimes I love Wegmans. Sometimes I hate them. Take Sunday, for instance, when the store looked like its shelves had not been replenished in weeks. Skim milk? You had to open the door and shout back to the poor bastards in the cooler. Yogurt? Fat chance. Picked that up at Target. But anchovies were the one that threw me. Apparently, a run on anchovies in the Western suburbs left Wegmans out of stock and me S.O.L. for this recipe.

Epicurious and Bon Appetit offer this as a side dish, but this is not much different than escarole and beans. It worked quite well as a standalone dish, anchovies or not. It would probably go quite nicely next to roasted chicken or pork tenderloin.

WHAT WORKED: The lemon. It helped to take some of the pungency out of the rappi and provided a nice acid to the end product.

WHAT DIDN’T: Wegmans and the Great Anchovy Shortage of 2013.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Honestly? I have no idea. I either wasn’t listening or…yeah, who am I kidding?

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Likely as a side.

White Beans with Rappi and Lemon
Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add lemon, anchovies, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lemon is softened and brown in spots and anchovies fall apart, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and 1/2 cup water to pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and liquid is reduced by half (you still want it to be saucy), about 5 minutes. Mix in parsley and 2 tbsp. Parmesan.

Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and top with more Parmesan.

Meatless Monday: Hearty Escarole, Barley, and Parmesan Soup

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I got into a rut last year with Meatless Monday where everything was a soup. Frankly, it’s the easiest thing to assemble when we are talking about a completely meat-free meal. This year, I seem to be stuck in a pasta cycle when it comes to the first weeknight meal of the week. So, to break one rut I decided to reach back to the salad days of soupmaking on Mondays.

As advertised, this is a very hearty soup. The escarole and barley not only give the soup bulk, but a unique flavor that could ordinarily get lost in the mirepoix, tomato or soy sauce.

WHAT WORKED: Parmesan rind. That’s the other thing I wanted to mention. This is a mandatory ingredient. Parm rinds not only bring the salty, nutty cheese flavor to the stockpot, but it helps to thicken the broth. Just make sure to discard before serving because eating this would be disgusting.

Continue reading Meatless Monday: Hearty Escarole, Barley, and Parmesan Soup

Stromboli Sunday: Rappi Stromboli

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Two weeks in a row constitutes a streak, if you ask me. So, I think we can officially christen this feature Stromboli Sunday.

For this week’s episode, I tried a variation on something that was on my Pinterest wall for a while. Broccoli rappi has been a long-loved food by the Paventis and seems to be more popular downstate. It’s not unheard of to see nicer pizza shops use it as a topping or stuffing in calzones or rolls. I thought we would give it shot here on Sunday.

Continue reading Stromboli Sunday: Rappi Stromboli

Meatless Monday: Penne with Tomato, Cream and Five Cheeses

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The best recipes really aren’t recipes at all. They are guidelines; a framework of ingredients and preparation that allow for improvisation. For instance, take the Penne with Tomato, Cream & Five Cheeses recipe that ran on Food52 recently. They picked it from a cookbook written by the owners of a Rhode Island restaurant named Al Forno. The accompanying article talks about how the restaurant will swap in seasonal ingredients and is implicit about using whatever cheese you have on hand, rather than buying five cheeses specifically for the dish.

The cheese part was easy enough. I had Pecorino romano, ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, sharp provolone and mozzarella in the fridge. I grabbed fontina and gorgonzola while shopping on Sunday. The end result is a fairly inexpensive, filling dish that goes together very quickly. Healthy it’s not, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a little LDL in the name of dinner.

Continue reading Meatless Monday: Penne with Tomato, Cream and Five Cheeses

Last Week’s Dinner: Chickpea Soup with Parsley and Parmesan

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You know how a week can get away from you?

I don’t remember making this last week. I don’t remember what night it was supposed to be dinner. I know it was made last week, because I just asked The Wife. She also does not remember on what night it was prepared. There is a leftover quart of it in the freezer and I’m looking forward to enjoying it again with a crusty hunk of Italian bread, as opposed to whenever it was that I made it and whatever it was that accompanied it.

2013-11-05 at 17-09-36Here’s what I do remember:

WHAT WORKED: The chickpeas. When mashed with a wooden spoon, they make for a thick, stick-to-your-innards soup. Oh, at the end I tossed in a handful of spinach leaves for fun. They add a nice extra vitamin punch and color to the soup.

WHAT DIDN’T: The chickpeas. When mashed with the wooden spoon, the skins fall off and make for an annoyance.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “The skins were annoying.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, though with another type of bean.

2013-11-05 at 17-14-58Chickpea Soup with Parsley and Parmesan
From MarthaStewart.com

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cans (about 15 ounces each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 qt. chicken vegetable broth
1 cup water
Coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving
Toasts or bread, for serving

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Cook until oil is infused and garlic is just beginning to color (do not let brown), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer garlic chips to a plate.

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Add chickpeas to oil in pot, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until heated through and creamy, about 5 minutes. Smash some of the chickpeas with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Add broth and water; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Divide soup among 4 bowls. Top with parsley, Parmesan, and garlic chips. Drizzle with oil and serve immediately with toasts.