Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti



***I have a new obsession...It comes in the form of a crunchy cookie that when dipped in coffee becomes one of the most decadent bits of deliciousness that I could imagine.  What is this, you say?  Biscotti, of course!! 

I posted a recipe for Dreamy Coconut Biscotti  back a few weeks ago, that really was the stuff that dreams are made of...haha.  I wanted to try another biscotti recipe, and this one for Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti sounded amazing for two reasons:

#1.  I recently purchased a big bag of the most beautiful whole hazelnuts that I needed just the right recipe for.
#2.  Chocolate - That's the best reason I can think of to make anything!

In one bite of this heavenly biscotti, you might get equal parts crunchy goodness from the hazelnuts, and equal parts gooey goodness from the chocolate morsels.  Like any good biscotti, they are incredibly crunchy on their own, but when dipped into your favorite coffee, they become the perfect consistency.  They have the most fantastic hazelnutty flavor, too.

I found this recipe over at Fresh From the Oven.  She took Martha Stewart's recipe and made a few of her own changes.  The only change that I made was in the size of the biscotti cookies.  Instead of three smaller logs, I made one larger one.  Because of this, I did have to bake mine a good bit longer to make sure that they were baked all the way through.

Be careful...You might just become biscotti-obsessed too if you make these!!

Bon Appetit!!***

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
adapted and modified from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups(about 8 ounces) blanched hazelnuts
2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 eggwhite for glaze (optional), at room temperature
Sanding sugar (or granulated)for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa,baking soda,salt, 2 cups of chocolate morsels and hazelnuts, until chocolate chunks and hazelnuts are the size of peas. *if you don't have a food processor, coarsely chop the nuts and chocolate and sieve the flour.

In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs, and granulated sugar until the mixture holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface for a few seconds when you raise the whisk.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture. When it's well combined, add in the nuts and chocolate and stir by hand, using a large spatula.

Martha Stewart's proper way:
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide into 3 equal pieces. Shape each pieces into an 18 inch log. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. With the palm of your hand, gently press the logs to flatten slighlt. Brush egg wash over logs. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if using.

OR

Mandy's lazy not messy way:
Using the spatula as a guide, drop the dough by spoonful into a 2.5-inches wide and 18-inches long log directly onto the parchment paper. Slightly flatten it to 1/2-inch thick. Leave 2 inches space between logs.*** Brush eggwash over logs. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, if using.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until logs are just firm to the touch, 20-24 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

When the logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut biscotti log on the diagonal, into 1/4-inch thick, or if you like, 3/4-inch thick (which is more durable to be send off as care package.

Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down on the rack.Bake until biscottis are firm to the touch and completely dry. 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove pans from the oven;Let biscottis cool completely on the rack. They can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. I keep them in the freezer when I don't feel like sharing with others. They can be kept there for months.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Zin-Zen Chicken


***Do you love Chinese food?  I know I do! This recipe from Rachael Ray is like having Chinese takeout at home.  It's packed with amazing flavors - orange, bell peppers, red onion, fresh ginger, Chinese Five Spice...I mean, wow!  This was the first time that I've cooked with 5-spice powder, but I liked it.

And the rice...YUM!  The rice is flavored with orange zest, orange juice and scallions, which results in one amazing side dish.  The citrus adds such a fresh taste to this entire dish and will leave you wanting seconds.

It's easy to halve this recipe too.  I made dinner for just Brad and myself, so I simply cut all the ingredients in half.  It worked like a charm.

Next time, skip the expensive Chinese restaurant and make your own delicious meal at home!

Bon Appetit!***


Zin-Zen Chicken
Source:  Look + Cook cookbook by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange, divided
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1-inch chunk ginger, peeled and grated or 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup Zinfandel wine
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder
  • 4 scallions, sliced on bias

Preparation:

In a medium pot over medium-high heat combine the rice, chicken stock and zest of the orange. Bring the liquids up to a bubble and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the rice until it has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes. 

While the rice is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, 6-7 minutes. 

Remove the chicken from the skillet and reserve it on a plate. 

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the peppers, onion, garlic and ginger to the pan. Sauté until tender, 4-5 minutes. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and push everything over to the sides of the pan. Add the butter to the flour to the pan and sprinkle the flour over the melted butter. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the wine, tamari and Five Spice powder to the skillet and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until thickened and heated through, 2-3 minutes. 

When the rice is ready, fluff it with a fork and stir in the scallions and orange juice. Serve the stir-fry over the rice. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leeky Chicken Soup



***With all the snow and flurries that have been floating around outside lately, a delicious and hearty chicken soup is the perfect remedy to warm you up from your head to your feet!  Rachael Ray's recipe for Leeky Chicken Soup does the trick and takes regular ole' chicken soup up a notch!  I recently had some beautiful leeks in the fridge, so this dinner sounded perfect on a cold winter evening.  It's easy to throw together and will feed about 4 people.

I paired the soup with an easy grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread...Yummy!  You'll notice in my photos that I used whole wheat rotini pasta instead of egg fettuccine or tagliatelle.  It just came down to what I had in the pantry.  The rotini tasted fantastic!  That's really the only major change or substitution that I used. 

WATCH THE VIDEO:
If you'd like to see Rachael Ray in action, you can click HERE to see her making this Leeky Chicken Soup in real time!!  She gives lots of great advice and pointers along the way.  Just click the link above, and you'll see the video for this dish towards the bottom of the page.

Bon Appetit!***


Leeky Chicken Soup
Source: 
Look + Cook cookbook by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, halved
  • 1 large bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 large leeks, trimmed, washed and dried
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
  • 2 cups egg pasta, such as broken egg fettuccine or tagliatelle
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Crusty baguette, sliced
  • Soft cheese, such as goat cheese, robiola, Camembert or Boursin
Preparation:
Cook's Note: To clean leeks, chop them first and then wash them. Trim the tough tops and root ends, halve them lengthwise, then slice them 1⁄2-inch thick. Fill a large bowl or sink with water, add the leeks and separate the slices to let the grit fall away. Remove the leeks with a skimmer and dry in a salad spinner or on a clean kitchen towel.

Place the chicken and bay leaf in a small pan and add water to almost cover. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and poach the chicken until cooked through, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic, season with salt and pepper, then stir, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes. Add the wine and cook out for 1 minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and dice, then stir into the stock. Strain the poaching liquid and add it to the soup. Add the egg pasta, thyme and lemon zest. Cook at a low boil until the pasta is tender. Stir in the parsley and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread spread with soft cheese.


 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Piquillo Pepper Chicken with Spanish Rice


***I don't know what I did to deserve such awesome readers, but I tell you what - You guys ROCK!  I keep getting such sweet e-mail messages from you all...I can't explain to you how much I appreciate these messages.  They always make me smile!  You guys are the reason that I keep writing this blog.  You continuously inspire me to keep cooking and sharing it with the world! 

On that note, I couldn't wait to share this recipe.  We had this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious!  You know what they say - "You eat with your eyes first."  This meal is the perfect example of this.  The vibrant colors of this dish just make you WANT to eat it!  The gorgeous yellow of the rice...the ruby red pepper sauce on the chicken...the green speckles of fresh parsley spattered about throughout the dish...WOW!  This chicken dish is both beautiful on the plate and in your mouth!

The rice just might even be better than the chicken...The rice has the perfect little touch of sweetness from the golden raisins, paired with the savory goodness of toasted almonds.  This rice kicks butt!  I will definitely be making this rice again and again.  It will pair easily with so many other main courses.

This recipe is yet another from Rachael Ray's Look + Cook cookbook.  If you can't tell already, I am really enjoying this new cookbook.  In fact, I gave an autographed copy to one of my little sisters for Christmas, and she's hooked too.

Try this soon...You'll love it!

Bon Appetit!***

Piquillo Pepper Chicken with Spanish Rice
Source Look + Cook by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small handful golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pinch saffron threads or 1 envelope saffron powder
  • 1½ cups white rice
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-3/4 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 jarred piquillo peppers or 2 jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted (a generous handful)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the broth, raisins, 1 tablespoon EVOO, turmeric and saffron to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 18 minutes.
  2. While the rice cooks, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper; add to the skillet and cook for 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add the piquillo peppers to the pan and heat through, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and boil until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter and half the parsley and turn off the heat, stirring to melt the butter. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
  3. Add the remaining parsley and the almonds to the rice and fluff with a fork. Serve the rice alongside the chicken.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms


***Marsala wine and mushrooms are quite the perfect pair!  Ina Garten takes advantage of that perfect marriage of flavors in her recipe for Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms.  On my way home from work tonight, I stopped by The Fresh Market (Which, by the way has to be my favorite grocery store!!).  There, I picked up the extra-large mushrooms, sweet Italian sausage and Italian mascarpone cheese that I needed.  


Once at home, I got to work on these yummy little mushrooms!  After they are stuffed, they need about 40 - 50 minutes in the oven, so be sure to give yourself enough time.  Ina calls for 50 minutes, but I found that mine were ready after 40 minutes....Just keep an eye on them!


The flavor of the stuffing is incredible.  The mascarpone and parmesan cheeses add a luxurious texture.  The only change that I made was with the scallions.  I simply substituted the scallions with some minced green bell pepper.  It worked beautifully!

I could definitely see these served as part of a Thanksgiving dinner...They taste special enough for a party, but are easy enough to serve as part of a stress-free family dinner.  The extra large mushrooms are filling and meaty themselves, so when the stuffing is added they almost become a meal in themselves!


Bon Appetit!***

BEFORE going into the oven!

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms
Source:  How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 16 extra-large white mushrooms
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, mince (I substituted with minced green bell pepper)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly. 

Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lemon Chicken Breasts - Ina Garten

***Folks, I've tried a lot of lemon chicken recipes over the years, and this one might just be my new favorite.  In her brand new cookbook Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?, Ina Garten mentions that this particular recipe is one of her favorites...and one of her go-to recipes.  After making this for dinner tonight, I can certainly see why.

First of all, the flavors are incredible.  The chicken was tender and juicy, with just the right amount of lemony goodness.  It's not always easy to infuse chicken breasts with a lot of flavor, but Ina does it beautifully here...And the recipe couldn't be easier!  After just a little preparation, everything is put into a dish and is popped into the oven.  About 40 minutes later, your guests will adore you because not only have you prepared a delicious and gorgeous meal, but you'll be relaxed too.  And we all know, if the dinner host is relaxed, your guests will be too!  Another plus is that you don't have to have a fancy dinner party to serve this - It's simple enough for a quick weeknight meal.  Thanks to Ina, we can all eat fabulously every day of the week!

It's also worth mentioning that Ina's new cookbook is awesome!!  She really focuses on easier recipes that do not require a long list of expensive ingredients, but that certainly are not lacking in the flavor department.  Just think....less time in the kitchen and more time with your family and/or guests.  I very highly recommend this cookbook...It will make the perfect addition to your collection.

Bon Appetit!***


Lemon Chicken Breasts
Source:  Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? cookbook by Ina Garten
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just one minute — but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt, and pour into a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in eight wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for two minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Yellow Chicken and Rice - Rachael Ray

***Wow...what a fun and adventurous day we've had around here!  Last night, a winter storm blew through our area, so we woke up this morning to everything covered in several inches of snow and a thick layer of ice.  Needless to say, businesses, schools, and virtually everything shut down.  

A few days ago, the bread aisle at my local grocery store was nearly wiped out.  See, the thing is, we don't get that much snow here in Birmingham, AL.  So when we do, everyone sort of freaks out and goes and buys up a bunch of break, milk, etc...all the essentials.  In fact, some folks are lovingly referring to this storm as "Snowpocalypse 2011!"  Here's a pic that I took with my camera phone, so you can see what I'm talking about...I think it's sort of funny:

Brad and I had a lot of fun playing in the snow and ice today.  We hiked about 1/2 mile to his parents' house to surprise them.  The roads were incredibly icy, so we didn't want to risk driving anywhere.  In fact, all of the interstates and state highways are still shut down as I type this.  The real problem is the ice...If there wasn't so much ice on the roads, we'd be doing a lot better.  What a mess!

This Yellow Chicken and Rice makes the perfect cozy meal when the weather outside is cold and icy!  It made a beautiful presentation, but tasted just as delicious, too!  Like most of Rachael's "foolproof" recipes, this one was packed with flavor, while not being too complicated to make.  The cinnamon and turmeric in this recipe give it a yummy Indian feel, along with great depth of flavor.

Bon Appetit!***

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon (about 2 pinches) saffron threads
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, cut in half
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) broken spaghetti (I used whole grain spaghetti)
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped 
Directions:
Place a medium-size pot over medium heat with the saffron and chicken stock. Bring the up to a simmer and reserve warm.

Place a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and 1 tablespoon butter. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the pan until golden brown, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve, covered with foil.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the pan. Add the pasta to the pan and cook until toasted and golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the rice to the pan, tossing to coat in the butter, along with the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron-infused stock and reserved chicken to the pan. Bring the liquid up to a bubble, cover the pan, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, 15-18 minutes. Stir in the peas and parsley, remove and discard the bay leaf, and serve.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dreamy Coconut Biscotti



***For me, there aren't many flavors more decadent and yummy than coconut.  At the same time, it can transport you to a sunny beach in the south pacific or bring back memories of your grandmother's coconut macaroons.  Wherever you are, one thing is certain - this Coconut Biscotti could be said to have magical coconutty powers.  

We celebrated my wonderful hubby's birthday just a few days ago, and he requested a Dark Chocolate-Coffee Cake for his big day.  I had just the cake in mind - There's a chocolate cake recipe that I've used countless times, making a few changes here and there until it's just right.  You can see the recipe HERE.  For Brad's cake, I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, and can I just say - WOW!  Everyone really loved this cake.  It was delish!

Earlier in the day, I surprised Brad with his own little personal heart-shaped birthday cake, which I made with the extra cake batter.

 Here's a quick pic I was able to get of the inside of the cake, before it was devoured. ;-)


Now, I wanted to think of something special to make that would go along with Brad's cake.  After some debate and brain-storming, I had a plan...Biscotti!  For one thing, biscotti and coffee go together like rock and roll, salt and pepper, shake and bake...well, you get my point.  Because the cake had coconut flavoring baked into it, I knew that Coconut Biscotti just might be the perfect thing!  In the end, it paired beautifully with the coffee and coconut flavors of the cake.  Picture this - A decadent slice of dark chocolate coconutty cake, a heaping spoon-full of creamy vanilla ice cream over the top, and a steaming cup of coffee and coconut biscotti on the side.  This folks, was the yummy dessert that we enjoyed on Brad's birthday.  Perfection!

Make this Coconut Biscotti soon...You'll be convinced of it's magical powers in no time!  Like all biscotti, it's best dipped into a hot cup of your favorite coffee, which makes it just the right consistency.  You could also dip half of each biscotti into melted chocolate.  In fact, that was my original plan, but Brad loved it just the way it was. 


Bon Appetit!!***




Coconut Biscotti
Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, April 2005

¾  teaspoon  baking powder
¼  teaspoon  salt
¼  teaspoon  baking soda
⅛  teaspoon  grated whole nutmeg
¾  cup  sugar
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2  large eggs
1  cup  flaked sweetened coconut
1 ½  cups  all-purpose flour


Directions:
Preheat oven to 300°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Place sugar, vanilla, coconut extract and eggs in a large bowl;  beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until thick.  Add flour mixture and flaked coconut, stirring to combine (dough will be very sticky).   Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface and knead lightly 7 or 8 times.  Shape the dough into a 15 x 3-inch log and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone liner.  Pat the log to 1-inch thickness and bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.

Move roll to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 20 (1/2-inch-thick) slices.  Return the slices to the baking sheet, standing them upright (not on either side as this allows both sides to be baked at the same time and does not require turning half way through baking).  Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake 20 minutes - note that the cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool.  Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool completely on wire rack.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Marsala Sauce and Pasta


***Once again - Thank you ALL for sharing the past year with me.  I've gotten some of the most awesome e-mails from some of you lately, and your comments always make me smile.  I hope you all are blessed with a very prosperous New Year!  I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store!

While thumbing through Rachael Ray's new Look + Cook cookbook, I came across this recipe and realized something - I've never made a pasta dish with pork!  Can you believe that?  It's always the same ole' chicken or beef.  I've never really thought about it, but this dish struck me as something that would be delicious.  I gave it a whirl, and it was indeed scrumptious!  

We had leftovers the next night, and it tasted even better after all the flavors had time to sit there in the fridge and get all cozy together.  ;-)

Rachael's method of pounding out pork medallions from the pork loins is genius.  Because I was making dinner for just the two of us, I was able to use only half of one loin and put the other half in the freezer for later use.  I simply halved the rest of the ingredients, as well.  

The flavors in this dish are heavenly, and are perfect for the cold winter months that are upon us.  Marsala wine is always divine with sauted mushrooms, and the combo makes for a killer sauce in this dish.

Bon Appetit!***


Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Marsala Sauce and Pasta
Source:  Look + Cook cookbook by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound pappardelle pasta or 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 2 pork tenderloins, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds total, trimmed of connective tissue and silver skin (a task your butcher can do for you)
  • 5 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, as needed for coating
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Yields: 4 servings

Preparation:
Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water is boiling, add some salt and cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions.

While the water comes to a boil for pasta, slice each of the pork tenderloins into 2 inch pieces. Arrange meat in batches between parchment paper and pound meat into thin medallions, 1/8 inch thick. Season meat with salt and pepper and dredge in about 1/2 cup flour to coat lightly.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO at a time in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown medallions about 2-3 minutes on each side. Keep cooked meat on platter covered with foil.

When the pork is finished cooking, add the butter to the skillet. After it melts, add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 7-8 minutes, adding garlic to the pan after 3-4 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons flour and cook for a minute more. Add the Marsala to the pan and cook until reduced by about a half, a minute or so. Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring the sauce up to a bubble, stir in parsley and slide meat back in.

Remove the pork cutlets and arrange on a platter or dinner plates. Toss the cooked pasta with the remaining sauce and serve.