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Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

IMHO fregola is the tastiest version of couscous. For the dinner tonight the point of departure was couple recipes in Bugialli’s “Foods of Sicily and Sardinia” book.
Took me less than half an hour to come up with a great dish!

Serves 4.

1lb of shrimp, peeled.
1-1.5 cups of fregola cooked al dente.

tiny dice (i pulsed the stuff in food processor) – leaves from a bunch of parsley, white part of 2 bunches of scallions, 4 celery stalks, 2 plump garlic cloves.
in a large skillet sauteed the battuto in olive oil with 4oz of very small cubes of pancetta on med heat. Increased the heat, added shrimp, roasted for couple of mins turning once, mixed in fregola, covered and put into 375F oven for 10mins.

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Came up with a new filling: chicken and eggplant.
Two globe eggplants (about 1.5 lb) halved, deeply scored, salted, sprinkled with cumin seeds and brushed with olive oil and roasted on thyme branches in 425F convection oven until sligtly charred and soft. The flesh is scooped out and drained. Don’t discard a skin before trying snacking on it – delicious! The flesh is whizzed in food processor, stopping before it turns to paste.
1lb of boneless skinless chicken thighs partially frozen, cut in 0.5″ cubes and pulsed in food processor until finely cut, in two batches. Mixed with eggplant and some thinly sliced scallion greens added. Salt and a lot of black pepper.
Panfried gently.
Served with greek yogurt and zaatar. And spanish ketchup (minced piperade).

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Fish department at Wegmans does really a great job. Their fresh mussels and squid (not the frozen one – avoid this) are excellent. I used it for some crazy fusion of two recipes – turkish for pilaf and sardinian for fregola paella. Strangely (or maybe not) both recipes have a lot in common so it was not difficult to imagine that the resulting dish might actually belong to both cuisines – same seafood and spicing (dill!).

Fregola with Mussels and Squid

Served with eggplant allioli.

The recipe is pretty straigforward – steam 2lbs of mussels in 1cup of water until opened (usually 4-5mins). Shell and save the liquid – this is your stock for paella. Warm some oilve oil, add whites of scallions (abour 1bunch), add cut up squid (3/4 lb), cook for a min, add spices (used cinnamon stick and a bit of dill) and green raisins, add 1.5 cup of fregola and pour the stick (2cups). Steam until squid and fregola are ready – about 10-15mins more. Stir in mussels and some more dill and scallion greens. Done.

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Greek cuisine has so many interesting dishes involving scallions and dill – my favorite herbs. Like this one i found in one of the books of Aglaia Kremezi. Chicken thighs braised with plenty of scallions and some white wine, braising liquid and scallions pureed and some lemon juice and dill added towards the end. The sauce is so nice – light, creamy and fragrant.
One trick i learned from Jeremiah Tower – marinate chicken for several hours in a paste of olive oil/garlic. This time i made a paste of scallions and olive oil. Scrapped it off before browning, but added the marinade to the braising liquid.
Served with brandy roasted baby artichokes.
In the morning shredded the remaining chicken, boiled some sour trahana (greek pasta) and dump then in the warmed sauce.
Sour Trahana

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