Tag Archives: pancetta

home cooked for hump day…

With hump day upon us, what better way to lift our spirits than with a super delicious, home cooked meal!
After a trip to my favorite specialty food market and a chat with the fish monger… turned out that he had just received a shipment of some gorgeous monkfish… so that is just what I planned my meal around.
Once home, I wrapped my succulent fish in a pancetta hug and let it chill out in the fridge until it was time to cook! No salt, no pepper… just the pancetta was needed to infuse this filet with all the flavor it needed.
To cook, a searing hot cast iron pan was lightly coated with olive oil and the fish gently placed into it and cooked for three minutes. A quick turn and then it was into the oven for ten minutes on 425… out came a perfectly cooked monkfish with crispy pancetta.
As a side to this meal, some beautifully roasted sweet potato to play against the saltiness of the pancetta.
Light and flaky, full of wondrous flavors… I definitely recommend getting your hands on monkfish [or other firm white fish] and giving this dish a whirl!

at a low simmer…
-R

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Something to spice up the night [or at least dinner]…

Tonight it was necessary for a quick dish to be thrown together, so what simpler to do than bucatini tossed in amatriciana sauce.
This super spicy [if you’re like me] bucatini hug is made of the simplest of ingredients, but the end result will have you dreaming about it while sleeping!
Everything started with a rendering of some diced pancetta; once browned and crisp, the pancetta was set aside in a bowl and the chopped onions and crushed red pepper were sweated away in the rendered fat. While the onions were getting their workout, I got mine by passing two cans of San Marzano tomatoes through a food mill. This pulpy purée if you will was added into the sautéed onions and crushed red pepper, some salt tossed in and set off to simmer for a while!
The dish came together beautifully with a quick, rough stir of the pasta, a hand of grated pecorino and a drizzling of finishing oil…
The heat factor was just enough to make your tonsils feel the heat, but not too much to make you sweat. Love having this dish recipe in my arsenal!

at a low simmer…
-R

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‘Q’ is for quiche…

With the continued cold temperatures and brisk wind in the air, I decided tonight I would make one of my all time comfort foods… Quiche.
The beauty when making a quiche is you can’t really get it wrong, just add some of your favorite ingredients and you have yourself one hell of a ‘pie’!
To create my heavenly ‘pie’ I started by rendering pancetta until crispy, once done I sautéed a diced onion, followed by chopped green peppers in the rendered fat with these crispy pancetta critters. Once this three-way came together, I added small chunks of split breast chicken that I roasted earlier…
These darlings then were eased into a pie crust and topped with a blend of shredded monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar cheeses. Then a mix of five extra large eggs, a cup and a half milk, along with salt and crushed red pepper were poured over the cheese and chicken mixture…
This ‘pie’ was now ready for a 375 degree oven. The timer was set for forty-five minutes and it was the waiting game for this amazing ‘pie’ to make its appearance! Once cooked and slightly cooled I sliced a hearty piece and quietly savored every bite.
Deliciously simple and simply delicious is all I can say about this classic comfort food…

at a low simmer…
-R

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under the sea and onto our plates!

After a trip to the specialty food market this AM for some dinner inspiration, I happened upon the fish counter… While looking around at what were some real beauties, I noticed that there were gorgeous handmade lump crabmeat, crab cakes being prepared! I have always made crab cakes in the past, but they weren’t even making it into the casing [people were buying them like they were gold] so I knew they must be a hot commodity and a must try…
To cook these thick, circular lovelies, a touch of olive oil in a cast iron pan and into the oven until browned and golden on each side!
Once cooked, these gorgeous ‘coins’ were rested on top a bed of baby spinach that I sautéed with some rendered pancetta…
The crab cakes were incredibly light, but full of intense flavor! They were definitely the right choice… Now I grasp why those people were intent on getting their hands on them!

at a low simmer…
-R

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a true Italian classic…

So since today was such a cold and snowy day, I decided that something with a bit of spice was perfect for dinner! Originally I had other dining ideas, but figured that can be done tomorrow… To warm us up this evening, I made some luxurious bucatini amatriciana!
I started by rendering some pancetta, once crisp they hung out on the side… then in the same pot and using the pancetta fat, it was time to sauté onions and a healthy handful of crushed red pepper. After the onions became translucent, into the pot went a can of San Marzano tomatoes that I passed through the food mill, along with a can of tomato purée. After seasoning appropriately, back in went the rendered pancetta and I let the sauce simmer down a bit…
While simmering, I threw some bucatini into boiling, salted water and cooked till al dente. As soon as the pasta was just right, into the pot of sauce it went for a vigorous spin to coat perfectly, finished off with freshly grated pecorino and then it was to the island to devour!!
Spicy from the crushed red pepper, salty from the pancetta and all around delicious… I love recreating these classic restaurant dishes when dining out during the week isn’t an option!

at a low simmer…
-R

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uh oh… my soup bowl has a ‘leek’

As the evening set in and the air became a bit brisk, the idea of soup for dinner ran through my head…
This past Sunday, I was given a beautiful leek and thought making a potato and leek soup was the perfect way to use this mildly flavored veggie!
To start cooking up this soup, I rendered some pancetta. Once browned, the pancetta was put aside, while the chopped leeks and some minced garlic got a quick sauté in the pancetta fat. After cooking till softened, in went a quart of chicken broth, some water, along with five peeled and cubed yukon gold potatoes. Everything was brought to a boil, then reduced down to a simmer. As soon as the potatoes were fork tender, I puréed them with an immersion blender and then added in a touch of cream, as well as some shredded extra sharp cheddar for a bit of richness…
Back into the soup went some of the pancetta for texture and flavor. Once heated through, it was time to eat!
Creamy, velvety, slightly crunchy and perfectly seasoned… this soup warmed us completely! Seconds were definitely in order…

at a low simmer…
-R

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no boxed meals here…

Tonight was a play on an old comfort food… amped up mac and cheese! For mine, I incorporated shards of four different Italian cheeses. The players in this food game were asiago, pecorino romano, parmesan and provolone.
I started by rendering some pancetta [then set aside], then cooked an onion that I diced in the pancetta fat and a few tablespoons of butter. Once softened, I added some flour and whisked till it was a grainy texture. Then I slowly added some milk and stirred till it began to thicken. Once the mixture started to boil, I reduced the heat and cooked for a few extra minutes. For a little spicy kick, an addition of some cayenne pepper and then all of the cheeses. Everything was stirred till melty. Lastly, the pasta shells that were cooking got tossed into the cheese mixture, as well as the pancetta that was set aside…
Onto a plate and thrown quickly under the broiler to brown and crisp everything up, and then dinner was served!
Salty from the pancetta, gooey thanks to the cheeses, and just a touch of heat from the cayenne brought everything together…

at a low simmer…
-R

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Wilted and wonderful!

Tonight was a quick, but delicious meal. Oven baked chicken cutlets served alongside a wilted romaine salad tossed with rendered pancetta and sweet cherry tomatoes!
The salad was salty from the pancetta and sweet from the cherry tomatoes, with a slight crunch left from just a quick sauté of the romaine. For the chicken, well thats simple… eggs, breadcrumbs and an oven.

at a low simmer…
-R

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not your mommas’ sprouts…

Today I had an incredible craving for brussel sprouts… not the boring kind you remember as a kid though. Mine have levels of complex flavors.
I blanch and shock the sprouts, then toss them into sautéed shallots, garlic and pancetta. I round out the dish with a touch of red wine to bring some extra vibrancy.
Still crunchy, slightly tangy and salty, but never lacking in flavor.

at a low simmer…
-R

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pazzo for pasta…

So tonight I made a spicy pasta sauce chock full of goodness! I started by rendering some pancetta, then added in homemade tomato sauce with a healthy ‘pinch’ of crushed red pepper. After simmering for a bit, I added one of my super secret elements… a touch of aged balsamic vinegar [I know who knew] to add some additional depth of flavor. That cooked for an additional twenty minutes to really thicken the sauce and bring all the flavors together.
While the sauce was coming down the home stretch, I boiled water to cook some perciatelli. Prepared till just al dente, the pasta was tossed and then swirled into the simmering sauce until completely coated! Freshly minced herbage for freshness and dinner was served…
Someone is the lucky recipient of leftovers for lunch!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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