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tomato pastry
Tomato Ricotta Pastry

chicken prosciutto
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken / Pimiento Sauce

risi i bisi
Risi e Bisi

Menu Plan for the week of March 22, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

Tomato Ricotta Pastries
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken / Pimiento Sauce
Risi e Bisi

Cooking time:  45 minutes for menu     Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       Yes, I know, tomatoes are not in season yet. But, the hot house tomatoes actually work better for something like this - less juicy. We strive to eat seasonally; we don't have to be perfect.... And I really want to get in to summer cooking!

Tomato Ricotta Pastries                                Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
   The tomatoes I used are a local variety, large in diameter but rather flat.  If you have tomato left, save for another use. The green garlic, tomato and ricotta make a mini Italian feast!

1 large tomato
3 green garlic or 3 green onions and 1 clove garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup ricotta
puff pastry

Pastry:  Thaw puff pastry, if needed.  Cut out 2 circles, 5 - 6" (12 - 15cm) in diameter.  (Use a bowl as a guide). Lay the cut pastry on a baking sheet.  Using a table knife, lightly score a line .5" (1.25cm) inside the edge of the pastry.
Green Garlic:  Cut the stem ends off the green garlic and remove the outer layer.   Slice about 1/8" (.3cm) thick including green tops. If using green onions, trim and slice the same way and mince garlic.  Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add green garlic or onion and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes.
To finish:
  Cut 2 - 3 thick slices from tomato, enough to cover the pastry inside scored line.  Divide the ricotta and spread  on the pastry out to the scored line.  Top with sliced tomato.  Spoon green garlic on the tomato.  Bake in a pre-heated oven, 400F (200C), for 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove and serve. 

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breasts on Pimiento Sauce              Time:   40 minutes
     These are easy to make: slice a pocket, fill and tie.  The Prosciutto wrapping infuses the chicken with flavor and helps keep it moist.  The Pimiento Sauce adds just a bit of spice to it.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2oz (60gr) Gruyère or other hard cheese, thinly sliced
4 slices Prosciutto (about 3oz, 90gr)
1 tbs olive oil
kitchen string
Pimiento Sauce:
4oz (120gr) pimientos (pimentos) or roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbs tomato paste  use the stuff in the tube
1 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 cup (2-4oz, 60-120ml) chicken stock

With a sharp knife make a long slit in the edge of the chicken breast - cutting horizontally and being careful not to cut through the other side.  Make the cut on the 'straight' edge of the breast.  You should have a pocket the shape of the breast with 1/2 inch of 'uncut' chicken around 3 sides. 
Tuck the sliced cheese inside. 
Lay 2 slices of Prosciutto side by side.  Close the chicken breast and lay it on the Prosciutto at a slight angle,  Roll and wrap, covering the chicken breast completely in the ham, as best you can. 
Wrap the entire parcel with kitchen string to hold it together - and keep as much cheese inside as possible. 
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes total.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let finish cooking, another 10 - 15 minutes.
To finish:  Remove chicken from heat.  Snip the string in a few places and remove.  Spoon some Pimiento Sauce onto the plates, place the chicken in the center and serve, any remaining sauce on the side.
Pimiento Sauce:
Put pimiento/pepper, garlic powder and chili powder into a blender.  Add just enough of the chicken stock to enable it to purée.  Pour into a small saucepan and stir in tomato paste.  Gently heat until it starts to simmer.  Remove from heat, stir in yogurt and cover to keep warm. 

Risi e Bisi                                                          Preparation and cooking time:  25 minutes
    This classic Italian dish is normally served as a first course (as are all pasta and rice dishes in Italy).  We think it makes a great, creamy side dish.  The original is more like a thick soup, but I made this a bit thicker.  Still, like all risottos, it should be creamier than the American adaptations.  

1 cup frozen peas  use fresh if available
1/3 cup Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto - Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/3 cup dry, white wine
1 - 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 shallot
1 tbs butter
1/3 cup (1.5oz, 45gr) Parmesan cheese - freshly grated

Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.  Finely chop shallot.  In medium sauce pan heat butter; add shallot and sauté until transparent, then add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 - 3 minutes until rice has white center.  Add white wine and stir.  When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/4 cup of stock and stir.  If the peas are frozen add to the stock (not the rice) now.  When the rice has almost absorbed the stock add another 1/4 cup stock and the peas if they are fresh.  Continue adding stock, 1/4 cup at a time, and stirring.  Before the last 1/4 cup is added taste a few kernels of rice.  They should be just 'al dente' - slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked.  You may not need the last 1/4 cup.  If more stock is needed add it 1/8 cup at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.  At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff - it will not hold it's shape on a plate.  If using frozen peas, strain them from any remaining stock and add now. Stir in the Parmesan.   Pour into a bowl and serve immediately.  

Cooking Schedule: 45 minutes for menu
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
small skillet, baking sheet, medium skillet with lid,
small saucepan, 2 medium saucepans, kitchen string,

Turn oven on, 400F (200C)
Thaw puff pastry if needed
Shell peas if using fresh or remove from freezer
Slice chicken breasts
Slice cheese
Stuff chicken with cheese
Roll in Prosciutto, tie with kitchen string, set aside
Heat stock for rice
Trim, slice green garlic, sauté
Cut puff pastry, place on baking sheet, score
Spread ricotta on pastry
Slice tomato, lay on ricotta
Top with green garlic, set aside
Chop shallot for rice, sauté
Grate Parmesan
Bake pastries
Add rice to shallots, sauté

Sauté chicken
Add wine to rice, stir well
Add stock to rice, stir
Purée pimientos, spices
Put pimientos in saucepan, gently warm
Stir rice
Turn chicken
Add stock to rice, stir
Remove pastries
Stir rice, reduce heat to very low or off
Reduce heat under stock to very low
Add frozen peas to stock or add fresh peas to rice
Reduce heat under chicken, cover, cook
Serve pastries, relax, enjoy
Increase heat under rice,  stock
Add stock to rice, stir
Remove pimiento sauce from heat, stir in yogurt
Continue with risotto until done, strain peas, add
Stir cheese into risotto
Remove chicken, remove string
Spoon Pimiento sauce on 2 plates, top with chicken
Spoon risotto into a pretty bowl, serve

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