Posts Tagged 'cheese'

Fettucine con Salsa di Gorgonzola (Fettucini with Gorgonzola Sauce)

Fettucine with Gorgonzola Sauce

Angela left me to my own devices this past week as she was out of town attending a wedding.  Some may look at this as a tragedy; I merely look at it as an opportunity to eat things she doesn’t like.

In college, I independently developed something similar to this recipe.  It developed as an elaboration of a fettucine alfredo recipe I found in a Betty Crocker cookbook that was owned by my roommate.  I no longer make that recipe as I’ve moved on to better and (to my thinking at least) more authentic recipes.

However, there’s a bit of a story to that fettucine alfredo recipe.  It was one of the first things I ever cooked from a published recipe.  But, more importantly to me at least, was that it was the first thing I ever cooked for Angela.

As documented in the about page, this was an effort to impress here. And apparently it worked.

But that has very little to do with this recipe as Angela doesn’t like Gorgonzola cheese (or really any blue cheese) which is why I made this recipe when she was gone. It’s a rather simple recipe. The most time was taken up in making the pasta.

My pasta making technique has been modified a bit now.  I tend to add a little bit of olive oil and salt to the dough.  I’m not sure if I can taste a difference or not but it’s been working for me.  I also use large eggs now as I’ve started buying the dark yolk eggs from Trader Joe’s.  If anything, the dough has been easier to work with with large eggs as opposed to extra large eggs.

The Gorgonzola sauce is quite good if fattening.  The flavor of the Gorgonzola definitely ripens as it is allowed to sit at room temperature but the sauce itself is very well balanced.  It went well, for me, with a 2005 Palmina Dolcetto.

Homemade Pasta

Fettucine con Salsa di Gorgonzola (Fettucini with Gorgonzola Sauce)
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/4 lbs. Gorgonzola, left at room temperature for at least 6 hours
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tbsp butter
salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 lbs. fresh fettuccine (preferably homemade)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. In a large saucepan, place the gorgonzola, milk, and butter over low heat.  Stir with a wood spoon, breaking up the gorgonzola.  Cook for a minute or two or until the butter melts.
  2. Add the heavy cream and increase the heat to medium-low.  Cook until the heavy cream has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until slightly undercooked.  Add the pasta to the sauce.
  4. Cook the sauce for 1 minute more, stirring in the pasta.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve immediately with extra grated parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 4.

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Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto, Herbs, and Cheese

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Yesterday morning, I pulled some boneless chicken thighs out of the freezer with the idea of doing something with them for dinner. My original though was to make some sort of stir fry but, when dinner time approached, stir fry no longer held the allure it did previously.

That left me sitting on the floor in front of my bookcase full of cookbooks (I think I may have a problem…) desperately trying to find something to make. Boneless chicken thighs aren’t exactly common in cookbooks but to add to the difficulty was the fact that we were out of eggs which made a breadcrumb coating impossible.

In the end, I decided to be adventuresome and forgo a recipe. This is a bit unusual for me. Normally I like the comfort and safety of a recipe (not that that’s a guarantee of success; Will can attest to my pumpkin pie failure). I also don’t find myself to be particularly creative or good at finding compatible ingredients (I think that means I wouldn’t be a particularly good chef).

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While looking through the cookbooks, I had decided that some sort of rolled and stuffed would be preferable. So, heading to the fridge, I tried to figure out exactly what I could stuff the chicken with. Prosciutto is an obvious choice as what doesn’t go well with prosciutto? Parmesan cheese would be a good complement (I had originally though of using provolone but Angela isn’t a big fan of it and it can be a bit strong). Finally, I went through some of the fresh herbs that I’ve accumulated recently and settled on thyme and savory (mainly because I wasn’t entirely sure of the taste of savory).

In the end, the chicken turned out pretty well. The only problem was that it took longer than I expected and that there were a bit too many herbs (the recipe here presents a reduced amount). The sauce it’s cooked also cooked down a bit much so there wasn’t any for pouring but the chicken didn’t need it.

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Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto, Herbs, and Cheese

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 slice prosciutto
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only, diced
1 sprig savory, leaves only, diced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
1 cup chicken stock

  1. Spread the chicken thighs flat and season the inside with salt and pepper. Place one slice of prosciutto on each chicken thigh and then sprinkle with cheese and herbs. Roll up the chicken thighs along the longest axis. Tie in two places with butcher’s twine or secure with toothpicks. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper on all sides. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine or vermouth, scrapping up any brown bits. Add the chicken stock and return the chicken. Cover and simmer until the chicken reaches 165ºF, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from the skillet and top with the sun-dried tomatoes. Cut the butcher’s twine on the chicken or remove the tooth picks.

Serves 2.

Cheese Soufflé

Cheese Souffle

Last night, I was all prepared to make Chicken Cordon Bleu. Because it takes a bit of time, I started by grating the cheese. I then went to get the chicken out of the fridge and realized that it had gone bad. Into the trash that went. So the million dollar question at that point was what to do with about a cup of grated Swiss cheese (well, really Jarlsberg but close enough).

To complicate matters, the Von’s near to our apartment had a grand reopening sale (as far as I can tell all that changed is they put a wood floor under the produce section and now carry a larger amount of alcohol) and had 18 eggs foisted on us for free by the checkout clerk (he actually had them send someone to go back and get us our free eggs). Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Ipod Shuffle like the gentleman ahead of us (when told he had won it, his response was “what is that?”). This meant that we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 eggs in the refrigerator. This partially spurred the Cinnamon Pound Cake the day before.

Our initial thoughts drifted towards some sort of scrambled eggs and I started looking through some cookbooks for ideas. In my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (it was cheap at Costco and isn’t a bad cookbook, despite the name) and I saw a recipe for cheese soufflé.

While I’ve had (and made) dessert soufflés, I’ve never actually had a savory soufflé. I’ve never seen one on a restaurant menu (including when I was in France several years ago). They seem delightfully old fashioned (to me at least).

While I’m sure America’s Test Kitchen has a good recipe for a cheese soufflé (why do I consistently want to capitalize soufflé?), when it comes to classic French recipes (and particularly when making them for the first time), I stick with Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One.

The soufflé was quite tasty and significantly more filling than the lightness suggested by a soufflé would imply. Mine, however, did not rise nearly as much as was promised in the recipe. Either my soufflé mold (yes, I have one; it was on clearance at T.J. Maxx and was a good price, despite it being Emeril branded; you can only tell if you look at the bottom) is larger than 6 cups (I didn’t measure it but it looks like it might be) or it could be the fact that when I finished the soufflé batter, the oven had preheated all the way so it had to sit out longer. I would also probably add some cream of tartar to the egg whites to help stabilize them (it was recommended in the introduction to soufflés if you aren’t beating them in a copper bowl but I forgot about it). The soufflé almost completely collapsed once we started serving it (you’re guess is as good as mine as to how to do it; Julia Child’s instructions were a bit lacking on serving).

Beaten Egg Whites

Cheese Soufflé
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup boiling milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of nutmeg
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Butter a 6 cup soufflé mold (or something similar in shape and size) and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of cheese.
  3. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes.
  4. Remove the sauce pan from heat and whisk in the boiling milk. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and grated nutmeg.
  5. Over medium-high heat, cook the mixture until thickened (about a minute).
  6. Off heat, whisk the egg yolks into the mixture.
  7. Beat the egg whites until stiff with a pinch of salt. A pinch of cream of tartar will probably allow your soufflé to rise and stay risen better than mine.
  8. Add 1/4 of the egg whites into the sauce pan mixture and mix well. Add all but 1 tbsp of the cheese into the mixture and mix well.
  9. Fold in the remaining egg whites into the mixture.
  10. Carefully pour the soufflé mixture into the prepared soufflé mold. Level the top and sprinkle with cheese.
  11. Put the soufflé in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 375°F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is well browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out cleanly.

Serves 2.