Posts tagged “olive oil

Basic Risotto

Risotto is fabulous. This is a basic recipe for a base risotto. What you add to it is up to you. Or even what you do with it. I made this today and plan on using it tomorrow for Arancini. Stay tuned. But first, the basic risotto recipe.

  • One medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 16 oz. box of risotto or arborio rice
  • about 4 cups of chicken stock or 3 cups plus one cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • freshly-ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the chopped onion until soft.

Heat chicken broth to boiling in another pan. Reduce heat and keep at a simmer.

Add rice to the pan with the onion and stir well to cover in oil.

Add enough broth to cover rice, and stir continuously until absorbed. If using wine, start with all of the wine and cook until all the wine is absorbed and then add the broth in batches. Continue this process until all, or most, of the broth is gone, and rice is al dente, stirring the whole time. This should take about 20 minutes. I use a ladle and add about two ladlefuls each time.

When all the broth is absorbed, add the cheese and pepper and stir well. Serve immediately.

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Spaghetti Carbonara

I know this is not exactly health food, but, it is good food! I had it in Italy and wanted to try it ever since we returned home.  I found some techniques here and there and came up with this way of making it. Enjoy it and all its lovely fat it provides. After all, winter is coming. And, do not fear the raw eggs! It’s okay.

About 4 servings

  • 4 ounces of pancetta (cured Italian bacon), diced
  • 1 lb of spaghetti
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 4 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg, beaten
  • black pepper

Heat a large pot to boiling. Add a small amount of salt and begin to cook your spaghetti.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil. Enough to just coat the pan. When hot, add diced pancetta and cook until crisp. Not too crisp though. Just enough to have a little crunchy exterior and soft interior. About 15 minutes over medium-high heat.

Once it is done, drain off the fat. I did this because I thought there was enough fat already. Let’s save a few grams, shall we? I must’ve drained off a quarter cup. But this step is entirely up to you. Let it cool down for a few minutes.

While that is cooking, beat the four yolks and whole egg together in a bowl until well blended. 

Mix in cheese and stir together very well, until completely incorporated. Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Add the egg and cheese mixture to the pan with the pancetta and mix well. I added a couple spoonfuls of the cooking water to loosen it up.

At this point, the pasta should be finished cooking. When draining, do not drain it super dry. Leave some water so the sauce loosens a bit to coat the pasta. I actually pulled most of it out with my tongs. You may also want to keep some of the pasta water in case the sauce is too thick.  You would add this a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Once the pasta is drained, pour it into the pan with the sauce, mix well. Sprinkle some extra cheese on top if desired.

Serve immediately.


Fajitas

Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines. I’ve been making fajitas for years and through trial and error, I’ve finally came up with something we really love, and this is it.

  • 2 lb sirloin steak, boneless or boneless chicken breasts (you can either keep them in one piece or slice them and do a stir-fry type of cooking)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 half packet of Sazon Goya Picante seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced in thin strips
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced into thin strips
  • canola oil
  • lime juice
  • 12 fajita-size flour tortillas

Place steak or chicken in a glass baking dish.

Combine oil, lime juice, Sazon, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper  in a bowl, stir well, and pour over steak or chicken.

Cover and marinate for about two hours, flipping meat once.

Meanwhile, slice the peppers and onions and place in a bowl with a little oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

A great way to slice peppers nicely is to cut off segments, leaving the ribs and seeds behind. Then, all you have to do is cut each segment into lovely julienned pieces.

As I mentioned earlier, you can either prepare your meat one of two ways. Today, I am going to leave it whole and grill it. Sometimes, especially in winter, I prefer to pre-slice the meat and cook it like I’d do a stir-fry. This is the easier way because it is already sliced when it’s done cooking and you don’t have to worry about slicing up hot meat.

When you are ready to get cooking, prepare your grill or whatever cooking vessel you prefer. Remove meat from marinade and cook until desired doneness. I like my steak for this medium rare and of course I like my chicken cooked well done, as I’m sure everyone does.

Whilst that is cooking, heat a pan to cook the veggies. You can use a skillet, grill pan, whatever you have. Just pour the veggies into the hot pan and cook until tender-crisp. I usually squirt a little lime juice on at the end for a little sizzle and extra burst of flavor. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

When the meat is done, let it sit for about five minutes and then slice it into thin strips. If using steak, slice it across the grain.

Transfer your veggies to a serving dish, and place the sliced meat on top.

Heat the tortillas in the mircowave in either a tortilla server or on a plate covered with a damp paper towel, about one minute for ten tortillas. Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way and heat them in a pan or on the grill. It’s entirely up to you. I’m using the microwave because it’s just easier and they come out nice and soft and pliable. And also because I have this nifty, little, tortilla-warmer-upper-thingy.

Assemble your fajitas and top off with guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream, if desired.


"It's Just Awesome" Balsamic Dressing

I love this dressing.  That’s all I can say about it.

  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp.  red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)

Combine vinegars and mustard in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.  Add remaining ingredients and shake again.

Store in refrigerator.