Week One: Penne Ala Vodka & Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

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Naturally, in my first cooking exploit, I knew that I had to make penne ala vodka, so I ended up trying Rachel Ray’s recipe, found on a link through Dr. Oz’s website: Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 32 oz crushed tomatoes
  • coarse salt
  • pepper
  • 16 oz penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 fresh leaves basil, shredded or torn

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté the shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add the vodka to the pan – three turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce the vodka by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While the pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir the cream into the sauce. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from the heat. Drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and the basil leaves.

And now, for the meat! This one came from a less professional source… a simple food blog: Ohh yeaaa

1 1/4 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup Pecorino (or Parm)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 egg, whisked
zest of half a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 14-ounce can storebought pizza sauce (such as Don Pepino’s)
about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (a dozen thin slices; to pile on the cheese would be to cancel out the fact that you were virtuous enough to replace fatty beef with lean chicken)

Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven. In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 11 ingredients. Shape into lacrosse-ball size balls (that would be somewhere between golf and tennis) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix one spoonful of your pizza sauce with olive oil. Brush this mixture on top of each meatball. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan. Serve meatballs with a dollop of sauce and a raw Tuscan kale salad that has been shredded and tossed with shallots, Pecornio, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Clearly this was before I was super committed to the food photography scene, so this is all I have to offer this time around.

Ignore the random eggplant that my father was making at the timem

Ignore the random eggplant that my father was making at the time

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2 responses »

  1. A rich, visually appealing and interesting cooking blog, Olivia. You clearly had a wonderful summer
    culinary experience!
    Profesor Bhushan

    Like

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