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Posts Tagged ‘Rioja’

Paella Isabella

In Recipes, Rice, Seafood on January 29, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Paella Isabella

Paella Isabella

The secret to great paella is to be vigilant during the cooking process, constantly turning the mixture as ingredients are added, while simmering on low heat. The rice should be moist, sticky and tender when finished, so taste it periodically during the cooking. Make no mistake about it, paella is not a ‘fast food’, but the attention it requires is repaid by a delicious and most enjoyable meal.

Special equipment: a carbon steel 12 to 14 inch paella pan, a wooden spoon for stirring and large spatula for turning.

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serves 4 to 6 people.

•    2 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•    4 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Thighs, halved
•    4 tbsps. Unsalted Butter
•    1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
•    1 qt.  Unsalted Chicken Stock
•    1 tsp. Saffron
•    1 Cup of Arborio Rice
•    3 Chorizos, sliced ¼ inch thick
•    ½ lb. Frozen Peas
•    ½ lb. Mussels, de-bearded and rinsed
•    2 dozen small Littleneck Clams, scrubbed and rinsed
•    2 Lobster Tails, removed from shell and quartered
•    ½ cup dry white wine
•    1 lb. Large Shrimp, cleaned and deveined
•    2 large Roasted Red Peppers, thinly sliced
•    1 small jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained

1.    Heat the olive oil on medium and brown the chicken.
2.    Remove and set aside the chicken, add and melt the butter.
3.    Add onions, sauté until translucent.
4.    Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to a low boil.
5.    Add saffron and stir well, then add the rice.
6.    Cook over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
7.    Add back the browned chicken, then the chorizos.
8.    Add the peas and remaining cup of chicken stock, reduce heat to low.
9.    For the next 30 minutes add and stir constantly the following ingredients: mussels, clams and lobster meat.
10.    When clams begin to open, add the wine and cook 5 minutes.
11.    Add the shrimp, peppers and artichoke hearts, stir until shrimp turn pink approximately 15 minutes.

Serve with Rioja wine such as: Marques De Caceres Rioja Crianza Red

Please see: Cooking in Naples…Florida, that is!

Cooking in Naples…Florida, that is!

In General Articles on January 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Here we are, on vacation, in Naples Florida, mooching off of the Nearys for a week, and guess what, first Betty and then I am called upon to cook. Sometimes one just can’t get away from the stove; but to loosely quote Harry Truman, ‘if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.’

Challenged to come up with a dinner plan a few days ago, after our hosts had outdone themselves with delicious meals, Betty hit upon the idea of making her Paella. With the help of sous chef Joan, she prepared a superb dinner that the four of us lustily consumed along with a couple of bottles of Rioja. There was very little left after several of us revisited the Paella Pan for seconds. Served preceded by a soup, or another first course, this recipe should easily feed six people.

My introduction to Paella was at El Faro in the West Village, about 55 years ago. I had never had anything like it before! Chicken, sausage and seafood mixed with rice, what’s not to like? Dorothea began making her version of it shortly thereafter and Betty’s is based loosely on hers. I say loosely, because my mother hardly ever wrote down a recipe and hardly ever measured out the ingredients, so we really don’t know what her version was, only what was in it or what was not. But as to the proportions of each ingredient that’s anybody’s guess.

Thankfully my wife kept a record of what went into her Paella this time and what quantity of each ingredient was used. She also documented each step and we are pleased to share it here with you as Paella Isabella.

Last night it was my turn in the kitchen and my challenge was to prepare something that 8 people would enjoy and which would not require me to be in the kitchen after the other 4 guests arrived. After considering Veal Saltimbocca and Veal Rollatini, both of which would require too much last minute preparation, I opted for a pasta dish with a flavorful sauce that could be prepared leisurely in the afternoon.

I decided to make a variation of Rigatoni all’ Oltrarno, reducing the amount of eggplant by about two-thirds, dispensing with the olives and hot pepper and adding instead, 2 pounds of Italian sausage, both the hot and sweet kind. Accompanied by a few bottles of Chianti Classico Riserva and several loaves of crusty Italian bread, there were no complaints from the gathered dinner guests. In honor of our generous hosts and longtime friends and traveling companions, this pasta dish has been named Rigatoni Neri.

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