So this Mothers Day I decided to host dinner at my house. It seems lately I do that every other weekend anyways! But this time I wanted to make it special using that China I got from my bridal shower and all! I mean its my mom, she has cooked me countless meals, listen to me whine,washed my clothes, cleaned my room and bugged me to clean my room. I am very blessed because I have one of those mothers who goes above and beyond the call of duty! Her kids and family were her life, and now that I am married off its time to give back haha!
I started with a simple salad that consisted of watermelon, cubed into about one inch pieces, arugula (type of lettuce), and sprinkled in feta cheese. For the dressing I took olive oil,honey, shallots minced, salt pepper, and a squeeze of both orange and lemon juice. I whisked that together and poured that dressing over the salad, and tossed it together…easy right?
Then for a pasta course (yes I did courses) I made spaghetti puntanesca. You can look it up online and there are different ways to do it. The way I find best tastes just like Eccola in Parsippany, such a great place! First I make a basic tomato or marinara sauce. After I take Pastene (brand) tomatoes put them through the blender then in the bottom of a large pot I coat it with a little olive oil and brown cloves of garlic…Never be stingy with garlic. Then I throw in the blended tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and basil. My secret weapon is always dumping some red wine in the sauce!!! Then in a saute pan I take a little bit of olive oil and first saute some red onion till its softer and browning, then I throw in capers and sardines. YES! Sardines! Don’t say ewwwwwwwwwwwww because they dissolve and they give the sauce great favor. Don’t know it til you try it! Then I take kalamata olives (greek olives, purple olives, whatever!) and throw them in to…I also throw in a little of the olive juice. Let that sit together a minute and then add the tomato sauce and let that (here comes a buzz word) “marry” together…haha…did I use that right?
Then I stole a recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs simply recipes. It was for chicken marsala with a pancetta cream sauce. My family totally flipped for it. Now you can see what a real recipe is written like haha! Just a note, I used more shallots than onion, I think that made a difference. I also added in mushrooms to the mixture of shallots.
* Olive oil
* 2 oz pancetta (about a 1/4 inch thick slice), cut into 1/4 inch cubes
* 1/2 medium onion, diced (or you can use chopped shallots)
* Flour for dredging (about 1/2 cup)
* 1 lb of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut or pounded into thin cutlets
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
* 6 Tbsp heavy cream
* Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
[pancetta] [saute pancetta]
1 Coat a large skillet lightly with olive oil and set it over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until just crip and lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and cook until translucent and slightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan, and set aside.
2 Put the flour on a plate. Pat the cutlets dry. Season them on both sides lightly with salt and amply with pepper. Heat the skillet with the pancetta fat over medium high. Add more olive oil, if needed, to get about 2 Tbsp of fat in the pan.
[dredge chicken cutlet] [brown chicken cutlets]
3 When the fat is hot, dredge a cutlet through the flour on both sides. Shake off the excess flour and immediately put the cutlet in the pan. Do the same with as many cutlets as will fit in the pan without touching. Sauté the cutlets, turning once, until browned on both sides. If thin, they should cook through in just a few minutes total. Transfer the cooked cutlets to a plate and continue sauteíng the rest, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer these to the plate as well.
[deglaze with marsala] [add cream]
4 Pour off the excess fat. With the pan over med-high heat, add the Marsala and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the Marsala is reduced by about a quarter. Stir in the cream and boil until you get a nicely thickened sauce.
[coat cutlets in sauce]
Return the chicken, onions, and pancetta to the pan and turn the cutlets over to coat. Let them reheat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve with the sauce and a sprinkling of parsley.