Thursday, June 16, 2016

Creamy Brussel Sprout Pasta

Now before you make an ugly scrunched up face and eject gagging noises from your person, just hear me out.

Brussel sprouts are freaking DELICIOUS if done right.  Sweet and full of flavor.  My kid and I love them.  Roasted, sauteed and even grilled.  They are SOOOO good for you too.

However, leave it to me to take something healthy and mound it up with cream, cheese and butter.  Cause that's what I do man.  And that's why I'll never be a size 2.

If you have ever turned your nose up at Brussel sprouts before, this may make you change your mind.  It really is a fabulous dish if I do say so myself.  It's hearty, and it has a flavor that you just can't get anywhere.

I know you guys will love it, so before you say "ew", just trust me.  You won't regret it!

Creamy Brussel Sprout Pasta

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves:  4-6 people

 Ingredients:

3 cups of brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBSP EVOO
4 TBSP butter
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup of good parm cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb of hearty pasta like gobetti or rigatoni
pasta water, for thinning, if needed

Method:

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

In a large, deep skillet heat up the olive oil and butter until nicely melted over a medium flame.

Add the shallot and garlic and saute until translucent.

Crank the heat up to a medium high and throw in your brussel sprouts and the thyme sprigs.  Hit with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.  (Be careful of the salt, because the cheese is salty and you don't want to kill your dish!)  Get some nice color on them.  This should take about 5-7 minutes or so.

Liberally salt your boiling pasta water and drop the dried pasta in.

Reduce your brussel sprout pan down to a medium low heat.  Add the heavy cream and simmer gently.

Add the grated cheeses into the mix and slowly incorporate til melty.

If you find it is too thick, which it probably will be, slowly add 1 ladleful of starchy pasta water to thin it out.  Continue to simmer and reduce down, adding more pasta water if necessary.

About a minute or so before the pasta is done, pull it out of the water and toss into the creamy brussel sprout mixture.  (Save your pasta water, you may need to add a smidge again!)

Crank the heat up to high and toss continuously until the pasta is fully cooked to al dente and the sauce is thickened and all of the pasta is coated generously.

Remove the thyme sprigs and top with some freshly grated parm.

Enjoy guys!  This one is a winner!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 
To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below. 

Rotund Chef - Facebook

Rotund Chef - Pinterest
Krissi Biasiello - Twitter
Krissi Biasiello - Instagram

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orange Chicken and Peanut Rice

So there was somehow a common misconception while I was on MasterChef that I "hated" Asian food.  I honestly don't know where that came from, since I am a frequent flyer at my local chinese take-out place.  (I'm a wonton soup junkie) 

I may have said that I didn't know anything about Asian cooking, but I sure as hell don't hate it.  So let's clear that up right now. 

During the restaurant challenge at WP24 (Wolfgang Puck's Asian Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles), I got a crash course in preparing Asian cuisine.  Not to mention a tutorial from the head chef at that restaurant, John Leichleidner

So I made it my mission when I got home to analyze the flavors from some of my favorite Chinese American dishes and duplicate them, if not make them better.

Orange chicken or orange beef, are up there as probably my favorite take out picks (with a huge quart of wonton ALWAYS). 

It took me a couple of tries, but I'm pretty sure I got this down now, and in my opinion, this tastes better than take out.  So much so, that I never even order it anymore.  I just make it myself. 

You guys will adore this dish.  It's quick and easy, cheap and the flavors are BANGING. 

Orange Chicken and Peanut Rice

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Serves:  4-5


 Ingredients:

For chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstartch
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper - optional
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
zest of 1 large orange
juice of 1 large orange
1 1/4 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick of butter
3 tsp of Worcestershire sauce


For rice:

1 cup of jasmine rice
2 cups of chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
5 scallions, sliced
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of plain, unsalted peanuts, chopped slightly 
2 TBSP butter

Method:

Start off my cutting your chicken breast into 2 inch pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.

In a gallon sized ziploc bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, ground ginger, salt and cayenne pepper.  Shake to mix up. 

Drop the chicken pieces in small batches at a time into the egg mixture, then directly into the flour mixture.  Shake the bag up to coat each piece evenly.  Lay out onto a baking sheet, making sure to not overlap.  Repeat until all of your chicken pieces are coated. 

Let's start prepping while the chicken sits for a few minutes.  This will make it extra crispy. 

Zest and juice your orange.  Get the orange juice, brown sugar, butter and worchesteshire sauce ready, cause this dish moves quickly.  You want everything to be together.

Mince 2 cloves or garlic and grate your ginger up for the rice.  Chop your scallions and peanuts up also, so you have them ready. 

Alright, now let's get cracking!  In a large skillet or deep fryer, if you prefer, heat up the vegetable oil until it hits 350.  Now, as I have said before, if you don't have a thermometer, heat the oil over medium high heat for a few minutes.  Take the end of a wooden spoon and put into the oil.  If that wooden spoon starts to bubble, the oil is ready. 

Fry the chicken in small batches at a time until golden brown and crispy.  Put on a wire rack to make sure it stays crispy.

In a medium sauce pot, add the garlic, grated ginger, half of the peanuts and butter.  Sautee over medium heat until the garlic becomes translucent.  Add the rice and make sure you coat the rice evenly and toast it up nicely.  This will add some extra flavor.  Add the chicken stock, pop a lid on that suck and reduce the heat down to low and let it cook for about 15ish minutes.

Now it's time to start the sauce.  Remember, this process moves quickly, so make sure all the ingredients are ready!! 

In a medium saute pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together until it starts to bubble slightly.  Add the fresh juice and zest of the orange.  Continue to let it bubble.  Slowly add in the rest of the orange juice and take the heat down to medium.  Let reduce for about 10 minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and let it reduce down for another 2-3 minutes.

Your rice should be done.  Fluff with a fork, add the remaining peanuts and all of the scallions.  Mix together with a fork so you don't kill the structure of the rice.

Take your chicken pieces and dump them in a large bowl.  Pour the sauce all over the chicken and toss around to coat every piece. 

And that's it!  A delicious take out style meal right in your own home.  It's slap your mama good.  TRUST ME!!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 
To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below. 

Rotund Chef - Facebook
Rotund Chef - Pinterest
Krissi Biasiello - Twitter
Krissi Biasiello - Instagram

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rigatoni Bolognese with Charred Raddichio

It's been a while since I posted a good pasta recipe.  Or has it?  I don't know.  I don't feel like looking either.  I just want something quick to eat and post.  I'm starving right now.  I can't think clearly. 

Now I know I have posted the recipe for my quick and easy bolognese before (Quick Bolognese Recipe - Rotund Chef).  For this, you basically follow the same concept and just add the charred radicchio.  Which, let me just add, it is just coming to the end of the spring radicchio season in the Northeast, and I'm pretty sad, since radicchio is one of my faves.

So naturally, I find ways to incorporate radicchio into everything I can until my garden says "NOPE".

So here is this awesome hearty recipe with that added punch from the radicchio.  You will love it.

Rigatoni Bolognese with Charred Raddichio

Serves:  6-8
Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  35 minutes


Ingredients:

3 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb beef/pork/veal mix
1/2 tsp hot pepper seeds
1 beef bullion cube
1 28 oz can peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
10 basil leaves
4 ladlefuls of starchy pasta water
1 head radicchio
salt and pepper, q.b.
1 lb dried rigatoni
1/2 cup pecorino, grated

Method:

Let's start with the bolognese, since this needs to cook for at least 25 minutes. 

In a food processor (or if you feel like you want a good work out, chop away) combine the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Pulse until you almost have a thick paste.

In a large, deep skillet, add your oil and heat over medium high heat.  Drop in the hot pepper seeds and let them toast to release their oils. 

When the oil just begins to smoke, add the veggie paste and cook until the veggies start to become translucent.  (You may need to add a little more olive oil during this process).

Add the meat mix and continue to work until all the meat is browned.

Add the wine and let it reduce down.  

Add the can of tomatoes, the bullion cube and 5 of the basil leaves.  Taste for salt and pepper when the bullion cube has dissolved.  Turn down to a medium low heat and allow to simmer away. 

Place your water on to boil your pasta.  When it comes to a boil add a nice handful of salt and cook per the directions on the box.

Intermittently add a ladleful of the starchy pasta water to the bolognese mixture.  You want enough to coat all of the pasta, so keep that in mind.  The sauce will reduce down, so keep an eye on it and use your judgment in adding the water to make the right consistency for your sauce.  This is usually about 4 good ladelfuls during the entire cooking process.

Now while the sauce and pasta are simmering away, let's get started on that radicchio. 

Heat a cast iron skillet until its screaming hot. 

While the skillet is heating up, remove the core from the radicchio by slicing into it in a funnel shape. 

Slice the radicchio horizontally into 1 inch slices.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Lay the raddichio slices into the skillet until they just start to char.  Flip them to the other side and then set aside.

By this time your sauce and pasta should be done.  Lucky you! 

Take the almost al dente pasta and transfer it directly into the sauce.  Crank up the heat and toss constantly for 1-2 minutes. 

Turn the heat off and add 1/4 cup of the pecorino.  Mix well.

Transfer onto a platter.  Top with extra sauce, the remaining basil leaves and the charred radicchio.  Finish it off with the remaining pecorino and you got yourself a party about to happen directly in your mouth. 

Enjoy!!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 
To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below. 

Rotund Chef - Facebook
Rotund Chef - Pinterest
Krissi Biasiello - Twitter
Krissi Biasiello - Instagram

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Potato Frittata

MasterChef........

Inasmuch as I would love to forget most of my kind of awful experience in Los Angeles, there are a few key moments that are embedded into my memory. 

Joe Bastianich tasting, no......... DEVOURING my potato frittata is one of those memories that still gives me butterflies.  His mother, Lidia Bastianich, if you didn't know, is my culinary idol.  Like, I literally worship the stove she cooks on.  For Joe to tell me that my frittata (like MY frittata guys..... the frittata I grew up eating and feed my son 3-4 times a week......SHRIEK) tastes like his mothers???? STOP IT.  JUST STOP IT.  I could have died right then and there.  DIED.  I'm still glowing from that. 

Seriously though, one of the highlights of my life.  And honestly?  It's the simplest thing really.  However, again, like most of my dishes, there's complexity in its simplicity.  The levels of flavors really stand out individually and kind of make a breakfasty brunchy party in your mouth. 

Many of you have asked and even begged for this recipe.  So, here it is. 

POTATO FRITTATA

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  15 minutes
Serves:  1-2

 Ingredients:

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 large russet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small onion or shallot, minced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBSP butter
4 large eggs
1/4 cup of heavy cream
fresh basil, julienned (garnish)
freshly grated pecorino (garnish)



Method:

Scrub your potato and peel if desired.  (I leave the skin on for a more rustic taste)  Cube into 1 inch cubes.  Try to keep the sized uniform for even cooking.

In a medium non-stick skillet, heat up the olive oil and drop in the potatoes.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then drop in the onion and garlic. 

Add the salt, pepper(s) and ground cumin.  Cook over medium heat until the potatoes just become fork tender. 

While the potatoes are cooking.......... in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and cream until nice and foamy. 

When the potatoes just reach fork tender status, reduce the heat to low and throw in the butter.  Mix the potatoes around to make sure that they all get coated evenly in the butter. 

Slowly pour your egg mixture directly into the pan.  Start to scramble the eggs and potatoes until they just start to get some body to the eggs, about a minute or so. 

Pat the egg and potato mixture down so that it is all of even height.  Pop a lid on your pan and cook until the sides and top have just become set.  This will take about 5 or so minutes.

Now, here is the part that took me a while to perfect.  ;-)

Get a plate.  Place it over the pan.  Flip the frittata onto the place and then slide it back into the pan so that the other side gets some good caramelization on it.  Crank the heat up and cook on high for about 1 minute.

Slide the fritta onto a clean plate and top with fresh basil and pecorino. 

Enjoy!!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 
To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below. 

Rotund Chef - Facebook
Rotund Chef - Pinterest
Krissi Biasiello - Twitter
Krissi Biasiello - Instagram