Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Breasts with Fresh Sage

Adapted from a Patricia Wells' recipe found in her book, Trattoria. Simple and delicious!

She writes: "Ever since I sampled this ultimately simple chicken preparation one weekday afternoon at Antico Fattore in Florence, it's been a family favorite......The quick marinade of lemon juice, oil, and fresh sage helps infuse the chicken with flavor, and tenderizes it at the same time. Be sure to sample the sage leaves before using: Even fresh sage can taste bitter. Do not use dried sage..."

Photo by Bruce Barone.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 28 fresh sage leaves (from my garden)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lemons, halved, for garnish


1. Place the chicken breasts in a glass baking dish. Add the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the oil, and the sage leaves. Turn the chicken to coat evenly, cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Strain the marinade into a small bowl; reserve the sage leaves separately.

3. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over moderately high heat until hot and bubbly. Add the chicken breasts, smooth side down, and cook until evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the breasts, and season the cooked side generously with salt and pepper. Tuck the reserved sage leaves around the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned on the bottom and just white throughout but still juicy, 5--10 minutes. Do not scorch the sage.

4. Remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and season the bottom side with salt and pepper. Slice the chicken breasts on the diagonal into think slices, and arrange on a warmed serving platter. Place the sage leaves over the chicken. Cover loosely with foil.

5. Discard the fat from the skillet. Heat the skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Add the reserved marinade and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. The sauce will boil almost immediately. As soon as it reduces to a brown glaze (less than 1 minute), pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the lemon halves. Serve immediately.

I served this with Roasted Green Beans and Roasted Red Peppers with Garlic and Walnuts; Pasta with a Sage Butter Sauce with Walnuts. We enjoyed a simple Malbec with this excellent meal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tortellini with Shrimp and Asparagus

This is so easy to make and it results in a meal of complex and satisfying flavors. A keeper!

Photo by Bruce Barone.

1 9 ounce package of Tortellini
1 bunch of asparagus
1 pound of uncooked shrimp, cleaned
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 "ice-cubes" of Pesto (add butter and Parmesan cheese)
olive oil
Chop onion and mushrooms and place in skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil - cook for 5 or 6 minutes. Cook Tortellini according to package directions adding shrimp 3-5 minutes before done. Chop off ends of asparagus.  Roast the asparagus and cherry tomatoes in oven at 420 for 10 minutes. Add all ingredients and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Optional: top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Saffron Chicken with Dates and Saffron Rice

This simple supper (Cooking Light, 2004) is transformed with North African staples into a meal that is beyond delicious!

Photo by Bruce Barone.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 6 whole pitted dates, quartered
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Lemon wedges (optional)(I used them over chicken and rice; yum!~)


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, and sauté 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  • Add onion, 1/8 teaspoon saffron, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in reserved chicken, tomato juice, and dates; cover. Reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes. Uncover; cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat; keep warm.
  • Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon saffron, 2 cups water, and rice in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Serve the chicken mixture over rice mixture. Garnish with sliced green onions and lemon wedges, if desired.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Turkey-Jasmine Rice Meatballs with Bok Choy


Photo by Bruce Barone.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 large egg whites 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Cooking spray 
  • Bok choy:
  • 6 baby bok choy (about 1 1/3 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions 
  • 1 tablespoon shredded peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch $


  • To prepare meatballs, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in jasmine rice; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Drain; cool. Combine rice, breadcrumbs, and next 6 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove). Shape mixture into 18 meatballs.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add meatballs; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook for 10 minutes or until done, turning often. Remove from heat; keep warm.
  • While the meatballs cook, prepare bok choy. Cut each bok choy in half lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water; drain well. Arrange bok choy in a steamer basket, overlapping pieces.
  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup onions, ginger, and 1 garlic clove; sauté 30 seconds. Place steamer basket in pan. Combine water and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper); pour over bok choy. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and steam over medium-low heat 20 minutes or until bok choy is tender, rearranging bok choy after 10 minutes. Remove the bok choy and steamer basket from pan; cover and keep warm.
  • Combine sherry and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick.