Monday, July 28, 2008

Pasta with Lemon Basil Cream Sauce, Chicken, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Spinach & Artichoke Hearts

CSA Items used in this recipe: Basil, Garlic, Zucchini and Summer Squash

It's been awhile since I've posted. I've actually done a lot of cooking since the last post. Some of that cooking was done last weekend when visiting a friend in Columbus, Ohio. We both love to cook and together we prepared some fabulous meals, but as this blog is dedicated to recipes that incorporate CSA produce from Crabtree Farms, I didn't blog any of those recipes. I've also created a few other new dishes, but feel a couple of them need refining, so when I try them again and feel they are worthy of the time it takes to document them, I will definitely share them.

On to tonight's recipe. I've been getting a bunch of basil and a head of garlic each week for the last few weeks in my CSA and I've made several batches of pesto. I also get lots of summer squash and zucchini each week. So tonight I made up another batch of pesto. I love pesto. I think I could eat it every day and never ever tire of it, but I did decide to change things up a bit and use it as a seasoning rather than the predominant flavor of the dish. The result was a delicious lemon wine sauce with a hint of pesto. Tim and I definitely enjoyed it, but we weren't the only ones. One of our babies, Fossie (short for Foster - long story) begged at our feet the whole time we were eating and as soon as we turned our heads, was licking our platters clean.

RECIPE: Pasta with Lemon Basil Cream Sauce, Chicken, Summer Squash, Zucchini & Artichoke Hearts
Serves 4 to 5

1.5 lbs boneless butterflied chicken breast
1 T. olive oil
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper

10 oz. dry pasta, cooked according to package directions (I used a spiral pasta called Gemelli)

1/2 cup summer squash, chopped into 1/4 inch X 1 inch strips
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped into 1/4 inch X 1 inch strips
1 jar artichoke hearts (not marinated) drained
3 T. prepared basil pesto (click here for recipe)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 T. goat cheese
2 cups spinach leaves

Grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

Cut each chicken breast into quarters and pound with a meat mallet to a uniform thickness (about 3/8 in.). Press between paper towels to remove excess moisture and season each side with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Heat olive oil in a large grill pan set over two burners to medium high heat. Brown chicken on each side and cook until meat thermometer measures and internal temperature of 160º. Remove chicken from grill pan, place on a plate and tent with foil.

Add summer squash and zucchini to pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Add artichokes and basil pesto and stir to combine. Add lemon juice, wine, cream and goat cheese and stir. Slice chicken into 1/4 inch wide strips. Add chicken back to pan with 2 cups spinach and continue stirring until spinach is wilted. Add cooked and drain pasta to pan and toss to combine. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Serve pasta with grated cheese.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Baked Panko and Romano Breaded Green Tomatoes with Sautéed Kale and Pesto and Red Pepper Aiolis

CSA Items used in this recipe: Ripe Tomato, Basil, Garlic, Kale

I can't think of many summer foods I look forward to more than fried green tomatoes and since I've been trying to cook on the lighter side, I decided to apply America's Test Kitchen's baked chicken parmesan technique to fried green tomatoes since it resulted in perfectly crispy breaded chicken when I made their recipe and and also when I applied the technique to mahi mahi in my fish taco recipe.

The green tomato was not part of my CSA produce.  I picked it up at the Chattanooga Market.  It was very firm, but I didn't think much of that.  So once I removed the breaded tomatoes from the oven, they were still very firm.  Since this recipe involves browning the bread crumbs in a skillet before coating the tomatoes, next time I will brown the bread crumbs a little less and cook the tomatoes 2 to 5 minutes longer.  I cooked the tomatoes for 10 minutes, but I've altered the recipe below to reflect a longer cooking time.   I think after a few more minutes, the tomatoes would have been just fine and I'll definitely try this again with a longer cooking time.

The fried green tomatoes were still very tasty despite being firm and Tim and I enjoyed them on a bed of sautéed kale and chopped vidalia onions alongside two aiolis I made by combining basil pesto (see my recipe in linked post) and ghoulash cream with light mayonnaise, respectively.  I also topped the finished dish with chopped ripe red tomato.

Recipe: Baked Panko and Romano Breaded Green Tomatoes
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer

1 large green tomato, sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices (about 8 large slices)
1.5 c. panko bread crumbs
1 t. olive oil
1/4 c. grated pecorino romano (or other hard italian grating cheese such as parmesan or grana padano)
2/3 c. unbleached flour
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1 whole egg, whisked
Cooking Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 450º.  Line a baking sheet with foil and set a baking rack inside baking sheet.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat, add the panko bread crumbs and oil and stir to mix evenly.  Continue stirring bread crumbs until lightly browned.  Pour bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and allow to cool.  Mix grated cheese evenly with the bread crumbs.

Spray baking sheet evenly with cooking oil spray.  Mix flour evenly with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Working one at a time, coat each tomato slice with flour, then dip in the egg, then coat evenly in the panko/cheese mixture.  Lay each tomato slice on baking rack.  Once all slices are coated, spray the top sides of the tomatoes evenly with cooking spray.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Serving suggestion:  Serve on a bed of sautéed kale and vidalia onions and top with chopped ripe tomatoes. Serve with basil pesto aioli and/or another dip of your preference.