Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Risotto Milanese with Veal Osso Bucco and Gremolata

This classic Northern Italian composition is the definition of comfort food.  This dish takes 2 hours, costs $30 and feeds 2 very well.

Risotto Milanese - 1 hour
1/2 organic white onion, diced
1/2 organic leek, diced
1/4 cup shallots, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pancetta, diced (optional)
1 cup white wine, pinot grigio 
1 1/2 cups Arborio rise
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoon of butter
salt and pepper

Combine water, stock and saffron threads in a medium saucepan and place on low heat. Start a seperate large high sided sauce pot or very large sautee pan on medium low heat (4 of 10) and add olive oil and butter. Then add the chopped onions, leeks and shallots and cook until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Now add the 2 cups of Arborio rice. Stir the rice and vegetables until it begins to toast a bit and becomes translucent, about 4 minutes. Now add the wine and stir until most of the wine has cooked off. Now add three ladles of the warmed stock. Stir the rice well until all of the liquid is almost all absorbed. Then add three more ladles of stock and stir it in again until absorbed. Stir the pot every 3-4 minutes or so, don't walk away. Keep adding the three ladles of stock every time the liquid is almost absorbed. It should take about 35 to 40 minutes for the rice to stop absorbing the liquid rapidly and begin to get tender. About 5 to 6 times of adding the stock. Once the rice is tender but with a little bite left, turn off the heat on the risotto and add the butter and Parmesan cheeses and mix well.  Let stand and mix again gentle, serve immediately. 

Veal Osso Buco - 1.5 hours
2 tablespoons pancetta, finely chopped
2 oz vegetable oil
2 veal shanks
1/2 medium yellow onion, rough chop
1/2 medium red onion, rough chop
2 celery stalks, rough chop
1/2 leek, chopped
2 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups stock (veg, chicken or beef) I used chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme, parsley and oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper

Turn the oven on to 325. Start a large dutch oven (oven proof pot with lid) or enamel coated cast iron cooking vessel (ie. le crusset) on low heat. Add the pancetta and let that melt and render out the fat, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked pancetta and reserve it for later. Salt and pepper the veal shanks and coat with a bit of flour. Add the veg oil to the pancetta fat and turn the heat to medium. Add the veal shanks and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until they get a nice brown on them. Remove them from the pot and set aside. Turn the heat back to low and add the onions, scallions, tomato, garlic, carrots and reserved pancetta. Let that cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Now turn the heat to medium and add the red wine. Let that cook for about 5 minutes. Now add the chicken stock. Cook this for about 10 more minutes. Now turn off the heat. Add the reserved veal shanks to the pot, the liquid should be about half way up the shanks. Top the shanks with the fresh herbs. Cover the pot and place the whole thing in the oven. This whole technique is called braising.  Let that cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and throw away the herbs. Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside. Puree the vegetables and liquid using a stick blender or traditional blender, then strain the liquid from the vegetables. Using a small knife or fork, take out the cooked marrow from the bones and add it to strained liquid. Reduce the sauce for 10 minutes or until desired consistency. Remove the meat from the bone and fat and add the shank pieces back into the sauce to heat up. Remove and serve. 

Gremolata - 20 minutes
1/2 bunch of parsley, stemmed and fine chopped
1 garlic clove, fine dice
1 lemon completely zested, no juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all the ingredients and let stand for at least 20 minutes up to 1 day.

Buon Apetito!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Asian Style Baby Back Ribs

I made these ribs for my going back to New Jersey barbecue party and they were amazing!  There were 9 racks in total, half Asian and half traditional.  These Asian style ribs were amazing but using traditional or any form of custom spice and sauce with this technique will ensure a finger licking outcome.  This recipe for three racks takes 1.5 hours of prep and 3.5 hours of cooking time, costs $40 and feeds 6 to 10 people.

Hoisin Glazed Baby Back Ribs
3 racks of baby back ribs, cleaned of membrane
1/2 cup asian dry rub
 - 5 tablespoons five spice powder
 - 5 tablespoons kosher salt
 - 5 tablespoons brown sugar
 - 2 tablespoons ground ginger
 - 2 tablespoons garlic powder
 - 2 tablespoons chilli powder
 - 1 tablespoon cumin
 - 1 tablespoon cayenne
 - 1 tablespoon coriander
2 cups Hoisin Glaze
 - 8oz Hoisin Sauce
 - 8oz BBQ sauce, Bullseye or Sweet Baby Ray's
 - 1 small ginger root, peeled and rough chopped
 - 2 cloves or garlic, rough chop
 - 2 tablespoons Nama shoyu, or regular soy sauce
 - 2 tablespoons ponzu sauce
 - 1 tablespoon sesame oil
 - 1 tablespoon dry rub

First you have to clean the ribs of the membrane along the back side.  This is tedious and annoying (among other expletives) but makes for a fall off the bone tender result. Using a sharp pairing knife cut the fat between the ribs and then pull off as much of the membrane and fat as possible.  See the video Once the ribs are cleaned, cover liberally with the dry rub and wrap individually in heavy duty aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 12 hours.  Preheat oven to 270 degrees.  Place foil wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 1 hour.  Remove and then open the aluminum foil.  Baste the ribs on both sides with the Hoisin Glaze and place back in the oven for 1 hour uncovered.  Remove from the oven and glaze again.  Cook 30 minutes and repeat the glazing process.  Cook 30 more minutes.  Remove the ribs from the oven a turn the oven to low broil.  Place the ribs on the bottom rack for about 15 minutes or until then begin to brown a bit.  Remove, slice and serve.

These turned out very tender with a sweet and smokey flavor.  Thanks to everyone for coming out to the party!! Buon Apetito