Posts tagged ‘Sun-Dried Tomato’

August 5, 2013

“The Pizza”

THE PIZZA

It’s been months since I first made this pizza (I’ve made it several times since since then too), but I’ve held off on posting it for two simple reasons: it is too damn good to describe and too delicious to name.

I just can’t wait any longer to share this little miracle with you all though, so I’m simply going to refer to it as The Pizza.

How does it taste, you ask? Let me paint you a word picture.

Every ingredient, every part, every bite in The Pizza is positively bursting with delicious flavor. The sauce alone is something to marvel at; with some bread, it would be a noteworthy appetizer in its own right. It’s full of finely diced sauteed mushrooms that melt into the tomato sauce as it simmers, creating a whole new meaty depth of flavor. The shallots and sun-dried tomatoes add another layer of zest and complexity.

But The Pizza hardly ends at the sauce. The cheese trifecta of mozzarella, parmesan and mascarpone brings creamy, sharp, and nutty notes together over each slice. That richness is punctuated by earthy fresh basil, spicy arugula and tart balsamic vinegar. And there’s extra sliced mushrooms as well – because why not?

So the next time you have a free evening go ahead and dim the lights, light some candles, crank up the smooth jazz and make yourself The Pizza. It’s a culinary imperative.

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February 11, 2013

Green Pea and Mushroom Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil

Risotto

I’m generally of the mind that when it comes to cooking, form follows function. Substance over style. The bite is more important than the bark. You get the idea.

Sometimes, though, it’s fun to cook something that just looks awesome.

This dish gives your the opportunity to do just that. The sticky, adhesive risotto can be made into a variety of shapes using everyday kitchen items. Further, the bold flavors are mirrored by bold colors that make for great presentation options.

This recipe is delicious in its own right – blending together a number of classic Italian flavors – but it’s also a great opportunity to practice your plating skills or impress a special someone with a bit of dramatic flair.

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February 26, 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil and Chèvre Macaroni and Cheese

We’re drawing close to the end of Winter, and I’m going to take every opportunity possible to make comfort food while it’s still seasonally appropriate.

So a few weeks back I trekked through the snow to meet up with a couple friends and whip up this zesty version of a classic comfort food dish: Mac and Cheese.

Gourmet macaroni and cheese is all the rage these days amongst upscale restaurants. You can’t hardly look at a menu without seeing gruyère-and-lobster, blue-and-fig-and-rosemary, green chili, or countless other variations of the dish. Some people are tired of the trend, but to me it exemplifies one of the greatest techniques in cooking: the ability to separate the flavors from the vehicle – in this case, macaroni – and apply new ones to the dish.

I chose to use a handful of Italian ingredients to liven up the profile of the macaroni and cheese. Although normally somewhat aggressive flavors, the sun-dried tomato, basil and chèvre are all mellowed by each others presence. The tartness of the sun-dried tomato is balanced by the creaminess of the sauce, while the herbal notes of basil cut through the sharp, salty chèvre. The combination creates a distinctive, but deceptively tempered, dish.

This is a hearty meal with Italian flair is perfect for any dark, rainy evening. To serve, I recommend red wine and roaring fire.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil and Chèvre Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 cups macaroni
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomato, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chèvre
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 10 basil leaves, roughly shredded
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

 

  1. Cook the macaroni al dente according to instructions. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large saucepan to medium-high. Add the butter, onion, garlic and sun-dried tomato and saute for 6-8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add the heavy cream, chèvre, mozzarella, black pepper and oregano and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Combine the macaroni, shredded basil and chèvre sauce in a large casserole dish and mix together until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top and place the casserole dish in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
August 6, 2011

Benedicto Italiano

Simply put, this dish is magnificent.

It starts with a toasty, chewy English muffin that soaks up all the extra sauce and yolk to make sure nothing slips away. The prosciutto on top of that is crisp, crunchy and salty. After that, the poached eggs are rich and creamy and the yolks run out onto the plate the minute a fork pierces them. Atop it all is a robust hollandaise with classic Italian flavors of fresh basil and sun-dried tomato.

Traditional Eggs Benedict is a great dish, but it often leans too strongly towards richness and decadence.  This Benedicto Italiano uses lighter prosciutto and cuts through the heaviness with tart sun-dried tomato and refreshing, aromatic basil. It’ll definitely leave you feeling full, but the flavors are explosive and perfectly balanced

In the end though, any attempt at describe this dish will fall short of the real deal.  The only way to know what I mean is to make it yourself!

Benedicto Italiano

  • 5 eggs
  • 5/8 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated and diced
  • 2 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 English muffin

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°.  Fill two pots with water and bring to a steady simmer.
  2. Place the prosciutto on a foil covered baking sheet and slide into the oven to cook while making the sauce and poaching the eggs. The prosciutto should cook for approximately 10 minutes, so be sure to remove it on time if you don’t finish the next steps in time.
  3. Take three eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.  Combine the yolks and melted butter in a stainless steel bowl and whisk together until thickened.
  4. Add the lemon juice and cayenne to the egg mixture.  Place the stainless steel bowl on top of the first pot, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water, and continue to whisk vigorously until the volume has increased by half. Remove from the heat and add the basil and sun dried tomato, mixing thoroughly.
  5. To the second pot add the vinegar and bring to a very light boil. Poach the two remaining eggs so the yolks are still slightly runny (If you don’t know how to poach an egg, Smitten Kitchen has an excellent how-to here).
  6. Lightly toast the English muffin. To assemble the dish, place a prosciutto slice atop each English muffin half followed by a poached egg. Top with a couple spoonfuls of the tomato-basil hollandaise and garnish with a few basil ribbons.
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