Creamy Risotto with Baby Shrimp and Bok Choy
By Ming Tsai

Thursday, August 12, 2010
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Serves 4

1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
2 cups koshi hikari or similar sushi rice (or Arborio rice)
1 cup white wine
2-3 cups chicken stock, hot
1 pound baby Contessa shrimp
3 heads baby bok choy, shredded
4 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese
Minced chives, for garnish
Olive oil to cook
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Coat a skillet over medium heat lightly with olive oil and saute the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass for about 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat with oil and season. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by 75%. Slowly add stock a ladle at a time, stirring rice until each ladle of liquid is absorbed. When just beyond al dente, add the shrimp and bok choy to heat through. Add cream cheese to melt, check again for flavor and garnish with chives. Serve.

ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Farro Salad By Annie Copps

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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The key to this hearty salad is the ancient Italian grain farro. You could substitute with brown rice, spelt, or even barley, but farro is pretty easy to find and it is more flavorful. Now that I know about it, I cook up a batch and add it to salads all the time.

3 cups cooked farro (substitute with barley or spelt)
4 to 5 sun- or oven-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 to 8 basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 to 3 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine or balsamic vinegar

In a medium bowl or zip-top bag, combine ingredients until well mixed.

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Baked Penne & Mushrooms
By Lidia Bastianich

Friday, August 6, 2010
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Pasticcio di Penne alla Valdostana

Serves 6

1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces fontina from Valle d’Aosta
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano- Reggiano, plus more for passing
4 tablespoons soft butter
1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms (such as porcini, shiitake, cremini, and common
white mushrooms), cleaned and sliced
1 cup half and half
1 pound penne
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400º. Fill the pasta pot with 6 quarts water, add 1 tablespoon salt, and heat to the boil. Shred the fontina through the larger holes of a hand grater, and toss the shreds with ½ cup of the grana (grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano).

Put 3 tablespoons of the butter in the big skillet, and set it over medium- high heat. When the butter begins to bubble, drop in the mushroom slices, stir with the butter, season with the teaspoon salt, and spread the mushrooms out to cover the pan bottom. Let the mushrooms heat, without stirring, until they release their liquid and it comes to a boil.

Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, as they shrivel and the liquid rapidly evaporates. When the skillet bottom is completely dry, stir the half and half into the mushrooms, stir, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook it rapidly for a minute or two to thicken slightly, then keep it warm over very low heat.

Meanwhile, stir the penne into the boiling pasta water and cook until barely al dente (still somewhat undercooked to the bite). Ladle a cup of the pasta cooking water into the mushroom sauce and stir. Drain the pasta briefly, and drop into the cream-and-mushroom sauce. Toss the penne until all are nicely coated, then sprinkle over them the remaining ½ cup of grana (not mixed with fontina) and the chopped parsley. Toss to blend.

Coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the last tablespoon of butter. Empty the skillet into the dish, spreading the penne and sauce to fill the dish completely in a uniform layer. Smooth the top, and sprinkle the mixed fontina-grana evenly all over.

Set the dish in the oven, and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese topping is crusty and deep golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up at the edges. Set the hot baking dish on a trivet at the table, and serve family-style.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Creamy Parsnip and Potato Chowder With Parsnip Croutons By Annie Copps

Thursday, March 10, 2011
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Creamy Parsnip and Potato Chowder with Parsnip Croutons

I fully understand that it is potentially blasphemous for me, as a proud New Englander, to suggest chowder be made without seafood. But this really lovely recipe for a parsnip chowder—it does have potatoes—does that count?

Okay even though no clams or other seafood ar ein this recipe, but I really love this chowder—it is too thick and rich to be a soup. That richness comes from potatoes and parsnips and just a bit of cream, so all this deliciousness doesn't come with a health advisory!

1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 small Russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup light cream or whole milk, as needed
Fresh lemon juice Pinch sugar

Set aside 1 large or 2 small parsnips for the "croutons." Coarsely chop the remaining parsnips.

Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sautê until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsnips, potato, thyme, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Sautê, stirring a few times, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the wine or vermouth, bring to a boil and reduce by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock, cover partway, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the parsnips and potatoes are tender enough to mash easily against the side of the pot with a large spoon, about 40 minutes.

Let the soup cool, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes (this makes it a little safer to blend). Filling a blender no more than two-thirds full, puree the soup in batches. Rinse out the soup pot and return the pureed soup to it. The soup may be made ahead up to this point and kept refrigerated (well-covered) for up to 2 days.

Meanwhile, make the parsnip “croutons:" cut the reserved parsnip(s) into 1/4-inch dice. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the diced parsnips. Season with salt and pepper and a large pinch of sugar. Sautê, stirring and shaking the pan often, until the parsnips are nicely browned. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Set aside until ready to serve. The croutons may also be made ahead and refrigerated in a single layer for up to 1 day.

To serve, gently reheat the soup, adding the cream or milk until you achieve the consistency you're after. Taste for salt and pepper. Just before serving, add a squeeze or fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon), to taste. Ladle into soup bowl, garnish with parsnip "croutons" and remaining fresh thyme.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Chicken Noodle Soup By Annie Copps

Thursday, March 3, 2011
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chicken noodle soup

It's almost universal: our appeal for chicken soup. I don't have any hard evidence that it cures anything, but I do know it's what I turn to when I've had a rough day.

Just about every culture has their version of chicken noodle soup which is a simple saute of onions, carrots, and celery, chicken stock and pasta. Once you get the basics, noodle around yourself using different shapes of pasta, or stir in some spinach or kale, or try grating some ginger, lemongrass, and some chile flakes for an Asian twist that open any stuffed nose or go Greek and whisk in a beaten egg and some lemon juice. Either way, make some chicken noodle soup.

Yield: 6 servings

1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock, home made or low-sodium store bought
2 ounces angel hair pasta cooked al dente
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large soup or sauce pot, heat oil over medium heat.

Cook carrots, celery, and garlic 3 to 5 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic.

Add stock and raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer 5 minutes.

Add noodles and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Variations on Chicken Soup
Noodle around with different pasta shapes: little ones love pastina or alphabet shaped pasta (no need to pre-cook); try cooked egg noodles for richer flavor; or flavored pastas such as tomato or spinach.

For an Asian twist add 2 tablespoons grated ginger, 1 stalk lemongrass (smash the stalk to release some of its flavor), and a few pinches of dried red pepper flakes when you are sautéing the other vegetables. (Remove the lemongrass before serving.) This may not cure a cold, but it will certainly open your nasal passages and offer some relief—oh, and it tastes great.

Go Greek and make avgolemono soup. Substitute 1 cup cooked rice for the pasta and whisk together 2 eggs and the juice of one lemon. Add one cup of hot broth to the egg and lemon, whisk well, then whisk back the mixture back into the larger pot—do not boil again.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)


annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Tapenade-Stuffed Lamb Roasted With Carrots And Shallots By Annie Copps

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
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tapenade stuffed lamb

I love the slightly sweet and herbaceous flavor of lamb and as we move into late winter, a roasted lamb makes me think about the coming warm weather of springtime. This recipe is for a boneless leg of lamb with a Mediterranean stuffing of garlicky olives called tapenade.

You can make your own tapenade by pulsing olives, capers, garlic and shhhhh a bit of anchovy in your food processor or give yourself a break and buy some. Also, I have every confidence that you can de-bone a leg of lamb yourself, but your butcher will do it for you and likely do a much, better job.

Lay the lamb out on a flat surface and smear tapenade all over the top. Roll it and tie it. Then poke holes into the roast and stick slivers of garlic and small clips of rosemary into the holes. Place thelamb into a roasting pan with carrots and shallots and scatter any leftover rosemary around. Drizzle the whole business with olive oil and roast until a meat thermometer hits 130 for medium rare.

Once the lamb is cooked to your desired doneness, it is very forgiving and will wait for you, on a cutting board with a tent of foil to stay warm until you begin slicing—it's still good if it comes back to room temperature.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

1 boneless leg of lamb (about 4 pounds)
1 cup store bought olive tapenade
3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
2 leafy sprigs of rosemary, torn into small sprigs
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 to 12 small shallots, peeled
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks the size of the shallots
Extra-virgin olive oil

If the lamb is rolled or tied, remove any string or netting and lay it out flat on a cutting board. Trim away any excess fat that the butcher may have left, taking care not to cut any large holes in it.

Arrange the lamb so that it is bone-side up and fat-side down. Spread the surface with the tapenade and roll the lamb up into a cylinder. Don't worry of some of the tapenade spill out of the roll.

Using butcher twine, secure the roll by tying loops of twine at 1 1/2 inch intervals along its length. Fishing by weaving a long loop of twine lengthwise though the loops. Collect any tapenade that may have squeezed out and rub it over the surface of the lamb. Using the point of a sharp paring knife, make incisions all over the roast and stuff each one with a garlic sliver and small rosemary sprig.

The lamb may be prepared several hours ahead up to this point. Refrigerate the lamb if you plan to wait more than 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If the lamb has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Lightly oil a roasting pan. Place the lamb in the pan, and arrange the shallots and carrots around it.

Season the meat and vegetables with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oi. Scatter any leftover rosemary over the vegetables, and toss to coat.

Roast in the lower third of the oven, stirring the vegetables once or twice, until the meat reaches 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (for medium), 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Remove the strings and carve into 1/2-inch thick slices for serving.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

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