Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pasta con sugo di Salvia e bisteca di Maiale (Sage sauce with Pork chops)

What a wonderful way to inaugurate the growing season. Fresh sage is in abundance in my garden.  Several handfuls is all you need for this intensely flavored sauce, where sage is the main ingredient.   A few extra sprigs is all you need to serve this wonderful dish.  I like to put some fresh in a vase right on the table. 
Ingredients:  2 handfuls of fresh Sage ( you will be discarding the sage in the sauce before serving, so it's best to leave them whole so you can remove them later)
4 pork chops about 1/4 inch thick with bone in
2 cloves of garlic (optional, discard after flavoring oil)
3 tablespoons olive oil
one teaspoon of sea salt
one teaspoon of black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce (freshly jarred or canned, plain, cut up with their juice or pureed in the the blender)
1/2 cup of white wine

Method:  Heat a large skillet of olive oil in a pan.  Add your garlic until fragrant and discard.  At this point add your sage and cook in the oil until soft and fragrant.  Do not fry.  If you do not have enough fresh sage, you may used dry, add about a teaspoon.  Add your meat directly to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  Make sure they are golden.  Place your water for your pasta on to boil. Add your tomatoes,  1/2 cup of white wine and let reduce.  Add a few sprigs of fresh sage and keep cooking for about 10 more minutes. In the meantime, cook your pasta.  You will notice a ring of oil will separate from your tomatoes.   Remove your meat from the pan and continue to let your sauce reduce 5 more minutes.  Remove the used, wet sage leaves from the sauce. Set you meat aside in a serving dish.
Grate some Parmigiano cheese to your liking.

I like to use Bucatini Pasta for this dish.  You may use Penne.  Really anything tubular in shape will do, as you want the Pasta to trap the sauce inside, creating great flavor. 
Serve these great Pork Chops with some Crusty Italian bread as a second course.
Always remove your pasta when al dente, drain well and toss with this wonderful, fragrant sauce.  A great way to begin the Spring Season. 
Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.  Buon Appetito!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Shrimp Fritters (Crocchette di Gamberi)

I found some Frozen, large cocktail shrimp in my freezer, about 10.  Yes, you can use fresh Shrimp if you like.  The texture will be different.  Starting off with cooked shrimp (thawed), yields a better cake or fritter texture   I had just a few roasted red peppers that I needed to use up in a jar.  Just not enough to serve, but enough to add to a recipe.  A good Home-cook is a creative one.  Making the most out of very little.  I was craving something similar to a crab cake, so why not use Shrimp cake?  These cook in a hurry.  It will be hard to resist just one.   I must admit, a little tomato Compote is the perfect little dipping sauce.  I am not sure the infatuation with dipping sauces in this Country, but it works for these fritters, so why not?   Truth be told,  you can eat them,  once cooled,  without anything at all,  just pick one up with your hands.
About 10-12 Large, cooked shrimp, peeled, tails off, cut into a small dice (they should be tiny pieces)
1/2 cup plain bread crumb (plus extra for your plate before frying)
1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons diced parsley plus more for garnish
One egg
Method:  In bowl combine all your ingredients.  You should see a thick paste.  Roll each 2 inch spoonful  into your hand, then into a little ball and flatten.  Pass each fritter in additional bread crumbs and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Keep going until they are all done.
Makes 12 small appetizers:

At this point they can either be placed in the refrigerator to harden and set some.  Otherwise just put them in a container into the freezer for a later date.   They didn't last very long in my freezer at all. 
You can pan saute or fry.  I elected to pan saute until golden in a little sunflower oil.  They cooked in a hurry.  Just a few minutes in hot oil,  on each side until golden.  
For the sauce: 
Ingredients:  1/2 cup diced Spanish onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh Roma tomatoes and all the juice
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoons of salt
Optional basil for garnish
Pepper to taste
In a medium saute pan, heat your oil and  cook your onion until fragrant and almost golden.  (Just like you would any tomato sauce for pasta).  Add your tomatoes and cook.  Add your white wine and let boil away.  Add your salt and pepper and let cook for about 8 minutes until thick and the oil separates from the pan.   Pour into a small serving cup and serve beside your fritters.  Enjoy!

Buon Appetito!