Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tuscan Beef Stew with Polenta

By: The Food Hunter

It's September in Arizona, temperatures are in the 100's and there's no break in sight but I am craving stew. Not any old stew either. I want a stew that will instantly transport me back to our time in Tuscany with one bite. I found just the stew on epicurious.com.

This stew is hearty, delicious and exactly like the stews we ate in Italy. It's suggested that you multiply the recipe by 1.5 and I couldn't agree more. Leftovers, if there are any, will make a great weekday lunch.


Tuscan Beef Stew with Polenta
serves 4

For the stew
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, cut into medium dice
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds stew beef, such as boneless chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium tomatoes, halved
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In heavy, large saucepan over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add beef and sauté, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme, stir well, and bring to boil. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then lower heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, until beef is tender, about 2 hours.
While beef is simmering, make polenta

For the polenta
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)

Pour olive oil into large serving bowl and swirl to coat. Set aside.
In heavy, large pot over moderately high heat, bring stock to boil. Lower heat to moderate and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, about 10 minutes. Transfer to oil-coated serving bowl and keep warm.

To Serve
When beef is tender, use tongs to remove tomato skins (if desired) and thyme sprigs. Transfer stew to large serving bowl. Serve polenta alongside.






Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine

By: The Food Hunter

About this time every year I start reminiscing about our past trips to Italy and all the delicious food we ate while we were there. These memories spur a desire to cook more authentic Italian dishes like the pasta below.

Orecchiette lightly coated with a veal, capers and dry white wine sauce is a meal typically served in Southern Italy. And although, I've never been to this particular region I prepare this recipe, from Food and Wine, at home frequently.


Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound ground veal
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed & chopped
1 pound orecchiette
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the veal, season with salt and pepper and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

Add the white wine to the skillet and boil over high heat until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary and capers and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley and butter. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.



Monday, August 27, 2018

Chicken Scarpariello

By: The Food Hunter

Although our weeknight meals need to come together quickly; we are not willing to skimp on taste. That being said hubby and I spend a lot of time trying to find recipes with just the right combination of ease and deliciousness.

Chicken Scarpariello is an Italian American one-pot meal that is packed with flavor.  Though the origins of this dish are unclear, the name Scarpariello means shoemaker in Italian; and according to some refers to the resourcefulness of cobblers in Italy to create delicious dishes with simple ingredients.

If you search the internet you will find there are many ways to make this dish. I found the one below, adapted from Food & Wine, to be my favorite.



Chicken Scarpariello
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs 
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise and lightly smashed
2 large rosemary sprigs, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 cup chicken stock, water or a combination of the two
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup sweet cherry peppers, sliced

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned and crusty on both sides, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 3 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the rosemary and garlic in the skillet.

Add the stock or water to the skillet and cook over high heat, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and butter and swirl until emulsified. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the peppers and cook, turning the chicken until coated in the sauce, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and sauce to the platter and serve.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Ricotta & Pancetta Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

By: The Food Hunter




Ricotta & Pancetta Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

3 ounces pancetta, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 baby bell peppers
olive oil
fresh basil, chopped


In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a bowl. Add the peas and red onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add it to the pancetta and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, combine the parmesan, ricotta, basil and cooled pancetta mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to 450.  Cut the bell peppers open to form boats. Toss peppers with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast until soft about 10-15 mins. Remove from oven allow to cool and stuff with the cheese mixture. Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Vanilla Vodka & Melon Sangria

By: The Food Hunter

The crisp, refreshing taste of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio makes it, in my opinion, one of the best bottles for day drinking with friends. Pair it with some chopped melon and vanilla vodka to make an intense Sangria that is ideal for sipping on hot summer afternoons by the pool.

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio starts with fully ripe Pinot Grigio grapes, harvested by hand from Alto Adige vineyard in the Italian Alps. They are aged for several weeks, until the signature dry golden apple taste develops. It's a pleasing to the palate versatile wine.


Vanilla Vodka & Melon Sangria
(makes 1 pitcher)

8 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 bottle Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio
1 honeydew, chopped
1 watermelon chopped
Seltzer water
fresh mint springs

In a pitcher, combine Vanilla Vodka, Pinot Grigio and fruit.

If serving immediately top off mixture with seltzer and stir. If not refrigerate until ready to use, adding the seltzer at that time.

Pour into glasses and serve with fresh mint.