Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cacio E Pepe

This is another recipe.  The blurb on that site says this dish is "magnificent".  I really can't argue with them.  It is a very simple dish that, to me, exemplifies comfort food.  I grew up eating a dish called alio y olio.  This dish is very similar in its simplicity but does not contain either garlic or oil.  Cacio E Pepe is quite literally translated to just cheese and pepper.  There isn't much else involved.  I never thought it would appeal to me but it is a version of, well, let's call it "Italian Mac & Cheese".  If you want to try making this, go with this version of it.  I think got it right.  Enjoy!

Cacio E Pepe
Yield: 2 servings


Kosher salt
6 ounces pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini or spaghetti)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino


Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5 quart pot. Season with sale; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender.  Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.  (I did this the day before I made this dish because I discovered that when you cook pasta and cool it over night in a refrigerator it cuts the carbs in half.  Just put the cooked noodles into hot water to reconstitute them. I'm all about reducing carbs but I love pasta.)

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer.  Add pasta and remaining butter.  Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing until cheese melts and sauce coat the pasta and pasta is al dente.  (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.)  Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Olive Oil-Confit Chicken with Cipollini Onions

This is a recipe that I got from the epicurious website.  It looked very odd to me but I have made it twice now.  I enjoyed it both times.  Instead of chicken thighs, I used chicken breast. I followed all of the other directions.  It is time consuming to make but very flavorful when done.  I also used regular onions the first time I made it because I couldn't find Cipollini onions.  I liked it both times.

Olive Oil-Confit Chicken with Cipollini Onions

Yield: 4 Servings


8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (I used chicken breast so I didn't cook it as long)
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (I have seen some people use anise instead)
6 sprigs rosemary, divided (I used rosemary leaves)
2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
12 ounces Cipollini onions, peeled
4 to 4-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil


Toss chicken thighs, lemon slices, fennel seeds, 4 rosemary sprigs, and 2-1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl to combine, then season generously with pepper.  Cover and chill at least 12 hour and up to 1 day.  

Let chicken come to room temperature, 20-25 minutes.

Place racks in top and middle of oven; preheat to 275 degrees.  Arrange potatoes and onions in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot an season with salt. Transfer chicken mixture to pot, scraping in any stray fennel seeds, and arrange chicken, skin side up, over potatoes and onions in a single layer (it will be a tight squeeze). Pour in 4 cups of oil.  The oil should come to just over the top of the chicken; if the pieces aren't quite submerged, add the additional 1/2 cup of oil. Cover pot and place on middle rack in oven.  Bake chicken, adding remaining rosemary sprigs after 1 hour, until meat is very tender but not quite falling off the bone, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Let sit until pot is cool enough to handle, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat broiler.  Use tongs to carefully remove chicken from pot and place, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet, arranging around chicken. Broil until chicken skin and potatoes are both browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes on baking sheet. 

While chicken and potatoes are under broiler, transfer onions, lemon slices and rosemary to a platter.  Strain oil through a fine sieve into a large measuring glass.

Use a fork to lightly mash potatoes, revealing some of their creamy interior.  Season with more salt. Transfer chicken and potatoes to platter with reserved onions, lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.  Drizzle with some of the strained oil (save the rest for another use).

Do ahead
Chicken can be baked (but not broiled) 2 days ahead.  Let cool in oil, then chill.