December 13, 2012

Porcini Mushroom Cream Sauce

I made this dish about one week ago and finally ate the last of it for lunch today.
You know when they tell you most dishes taste better the next day? Believe them. This was still wonderful. Full of meaty mushroom flavor with that hint of Marsala and the sweetness of the cream.
Diabetic friendly for sure, but if you want to make it low fat just make a roux and use fat-free evaporated milk instead of the cream. It will still be thick, clingy and creamy.

To get the ounce of mushrooms I need for two servings I am using a mixture of dried porcinis and morels. Two mushrooms that can stand on their own.
I suggest you use the processor or blender to mince the onions, just pulse until they are minced but not pureed. If there is no processor or blender I would suggest grating them but you will have to squeeze out any excess liquid.

I used Radiatori pasta. The more ridges the more sauce will cling and since the sauce is not chunky, it makes the perfect sauce delivery system. You could also use fusilli, rotelle or campanelle, anything with curls and swirls to trap the sauce.

<u>Pasta with Porcini Cream Sauce</u>
Serves 4-6
* 1 cup water + 1/2 cup sherry
* 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste
* 2 onions, chopped fine
* Salt &amp; pepper
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
* 1 pound swirly pasta
* 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup), plus extra for serving

1. Microwave water/sherry mix and porcini in covered bowl until steaming, about 1 minute. Let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain mushrooms through fine-mesh strainer lined with coffee filter: reserve liquid and chop mushrooms into 3/4-inch pieces.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoons salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in strained mushroom liquid, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream, thyme and garlic and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add sauce and Parmesan and toss to combine. Season with salt &amp; pepper to taste and add reserved cooking water as needed to adjust consistency. Serve with extra Parmesan.

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December 11, 2012

Italian Balsamic Peppers, Onions, Potatoes and Asparagus

I have been wanting to make some sort of an Italian version of a sweet/tangy/savory mixture of peppers and onions that uses balsamic vinegar. I bought a bottle of really good aged Balsamico when I was in Florence and we all know vinegars are very healthy for digestion and glucose control.
I had 6 pee-wee potatoes left in cold storage and asparagus I will add right at the end.

The ingredient list for this dish is sparse and could almost qualify for a 5 ingredient fix. You could use chicken instead of the chops but if you do, buy the ones with the bones and roast everything in one pan.

Since this post is mostly about the topping, I need to warn you that bottled hot peppers are very hot and so is the brine that they are stored in. I only used 3 small pepperoncini and even though I seeded and de-veined them, I should have rinsed them. I am not a wimp when it comes to hot stuff but my mouth was on fire and I honestly could not finish this dish. Next time I make a version of this I will use pickled jalapenos.
Other than the heat, it was full of flavor and The Nudge enjoyed that last blast of vinegar at serving.

If your balsamic is inexpensive, you might want to boil down to half before using.

This was FULL of flavor. Every bite was an experience yet I used only simple ingredients.
Diabetic Friendly in every way, you really must make this.

Grilled Pork Chops with Peppers, Onions and Potatoes
makes enough to serve 4
* 4 pork chops with rib bone attached
* 1 large red onion, quartered with stem end intact (I used half sweet, half red)
* 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon EVOO
* dozen pee-wee potatoes, cut in half
* 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
* 1 jar roasted red peppers
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 6 peppadew, banana peppers or pepperoncini, julienned
* Course sea salt
* Aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375°.
1. Place potatoes and onion quarters on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Add peppers and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix well.
2. Bake for 10 more minutes and remove from oven. Scrape everything into a bowl and add the red pepper flakes. DO AHEAD TO THIS POINT, COVER AND CHILL UP TO ONE DAY.
3. Brush chops with oil and season with salt & pepper.
4. Heat grill pan till very hot about 5 minutes.
5. Grill for about 5 minutes per side. Remove and tent with foil.
6. Add asparagus to grill pan and cook for 2 minutes on high heat. Add potato and pepper mixture to pan, stir to combine flavors and reheat.
7. Place one chop on each plate and spoon 1/4 of the vegetable mixture over top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with additional sea salt.

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