Here are a few of the go-to recipes around our humble little abode. These are those dishes that I don’t need a recipe any more since we have made them so often. They all take less than 30 minutes, so Ms. Ray might even approve….
Chicken with Mushrooms and Crème Fraiche:
The recipe is rather simple: pound out a couple chicken breasts (no need to totally beat the crap out of them, just flatten a bit) and season both sides with salt and pepper. I also put some Bosari (the black one) on there. Sauté some garlic, onion and shallots in a bit of butter, then put the chicken breast right on top, turn once. Total cooking time about 5 minutes (you might want to check to make sure the breasts are done). Remove the chicken and keep warm. Add another hunk of butter and a bunch of sliced mushrooms to what was left in the pan and sauté. After the mushrooms have reduced a bit, add a half a cup of crème fraiche (or even sour cream) and heat until it starts to simmer. Put the chicken breast on a bed of egg noodles and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top. Wine Suggestion: This is a great dish for either a Chardonnay that has some oak on it, or a lighter ‘Burgundian’ style Pinot Noir, even a Beaujolais (gamay grape).
Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
1 16 ounce package of shell pasta (I like orecchiette)
1 pound Italian Sausage (I usually get half hot and half regular)
1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut off just above the band and discard the stems
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Put some salted water on to boil for the pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Put a dash of olive oil in the pan and add the onion once the oil is hot, followed by about half the garlic. Cook for a minute or two. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing in bite size chunks, tossing frequently. Once the water starts to boil, add the broccoli rabe for a quick blanching, removing from the pot after less than a minute (don’t dump the water, just fish out the broccoli rabe with a strainer or tongs). Quickly rinse the broccoli rabe in very cold water (or submerge in an ice bath). Once the water boils again in a minute or two, add the pasta and cook according to directions on the package. Chop the rabe, if you like into smaller pieces. Heat another pan and then add a bit of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the rest of the garlic, then the broccoli rabe. Sauté for a few minutes until the rabe starts to soften a bit. I then sprinkle a bit of sugar (maybe a few teaspoons) on the rabe, which helps to remove a bit of the bitterness (which makes it much more edible for our kids–if I were making this just for me, I’d skip the sugar). Toss the rabe in with the sausage. Once the pasta is done, strain and mix immediately with the sausage/rabe. Toss in about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with additional parmesan. Serves 6. Wine Suggestion: I would start with a Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo in mind, and depending on how much heat is in the sausages, you could go bigger with a Syrah or even a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you have no heat in the sausage, you could even go Chardonnay.
About 3/4 pound of either spaghetti, linguine, fettucini, or other “-ini food”.
5-6 slices of bacon
1/2 a head of cauliflower, divided into flowerettes (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Put a large pot with salted water to boil. While waiting for the water, cook up the bacon as if you were serving it for breakfast. Place on a paper towel, retaining the fat in the pan. Cut the bacon into bite size pieces. Sauté the cauliflower (optional) in the fat with some salt and pepper. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and add the pasta to the pan with the bacon fat (and cauliflower, if you’re including it) and toss in the bacon pieces. Toss in some Parmesan (1/4 cup or so) and salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta into the serving dish. Then, just before you take the pasta to the table, add the whole raw eggs, one at a time, stirring vigourously after each one. Keep adding eggs until the desired level of ‘creaminess’ is achieved. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan, if desired. Wine Suggestion: Chianti is a clear choice here, but really any wine you want will work. This is a classic peasant dish, and they were not known for extensive cellars.