Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts Risotto

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1/2 pound Brussels Sprouts
1 cup Arborio rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
16 ounces chicken broth
1/4 white wine

Romano cheese grated

1. Remove the outer leaves and stems of the Brussels sprouts, rinse with water and cut in half (If very large Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters), set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Gently put the Brussels sprouts into the boiling chicken broth. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. With a small strainer, remove the
Brussels sprouts to a bowl and set aside. Keep the chicken broth to use when preparing the risotto.
3. In a large frying pan, add the olive oil and onion, saute until tender. Add the pancetta and cook a few minutes more, until golden. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and cook until
lightly toasted, continuously stirring while cooking. Add the white wine and continue cooking until the wine is absorbed.
4. With a ladle, spoon the chicken broth in the pan one ladle at a time until the liquid is absorbed before adding another ladle of chicken broth. Continue Until you have the last ladle of
chicken broth to add, then put the Brussels sprouts in the pan at the same time as the last ladle of chicken broth. Cook until rice is al dente, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. At this time taste the risotto, if a bit too hard, cook a few more minutes until more tender.
6. Serve immediately, garnishing with grated Romano cheese on top.
7. ENJOY! – “Risotto” is the new rice!

This recipe is one that originally came to me from an email newsletter I subscribe to called Sunday Pasta, which sends different recipes for Sunday dinner.
The website is garrubbo.com.

The combination of Brussels sprouts and pancetta in risotto piqued my interest enough to attempt to prepare this recipe. But the recipe was for twice the amount then I wanted to make, so I took the liberty of adjusting the ingredient amounts to half. My preference was to use chicken broth and Romano cheese in my version of the recipe and I eliminated the pepper.

The traditional Sunday dinner is disappearing from my own family’s dinners. Sunday dinner was sacred at one time. Dinner time was late afternoon, no one played with their cell phones and the meal would last for 3 hours. Whether dinner was at home or at an Italian restaurant it was never rushed. Just a few weeks ago, I tried to plan for my kids and grandkids to come to a Sunday dinner at our house in the upcoming weeks. Well, Sunday will not work out because of prior commitments, but Saturday will work. At this point, I am thrilled to have the family for dinner no matter what day of the week it is. Times are different but the value of sitting down to a meal together with generations of family remains the same. Of course, Sunday Pasta will be served!

Somebody Else’s Mom – Lorraine’s Chicken

lorraine chicken 2

Lorraine’s recipe –

Chicken cutlets
Mozzarella cut in slices
College Inn Chicken Broth
Flavored bread crumbs
Jar garlic
Butter

Bread cutlets and place a slice of mozzarella on cutlet and roll it.
In a pan saute tsp of garlic and 3/4 stick of butter. Add can of chicken broth and cook for 5 minutes.
Add mixture to pan of cutlets. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Uncover for
the last 10-15 minutes.

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My recipe of Lorraine’s recipe after I prepared it at home –

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4 large boneless chicken breasts
8 to 12 ounces of mozzarella
3 eggs, beaten
chicken broth, 14 ounce can or homemade
Italian bread crumbs
1 to 2 teaspoons of jarred minced garlic
4 to 8 tablespoons butter

1. Slice chicken breasts very thin, try to get 3 cutlets out of one large breast.
2. Dredge chicken cutlets in egg and then bread crumbs, set aside.
3. Slice mozzarella into even slices per chicken cutlets, (ex., if you have 13 cutlets, cut mozzarella
into 13 slices). Place one slice of mozzarella onto a breaded cutlet and roll. Place the cutlets
into a 9 x 13 pan to fit tightly.
5. Oven to 400 degrees.
6. In a medium frying pan, add 6 tablespoons butter. Add minced garlic to butter and sauté. When
garlic tender, add chicken broth and cook 5 minutes longer or until heated through.
7. Pour garlic chicken broth mixture over cutlets in pan.
8. Cover with foil and bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook 15 minutes more.
9. Serve immediately, over pasta or on the side. Serves 8.
10. ENJOY – Chicken and cheese – please!

We met my husband’s cousin, Ricky, and his wife, Lorraine, way back in the day when Tom and I got married over 30 years ago.  Lorraine, Ricky, and their daughter, Melissa, lived together in a two family house in Rockland County with Lorraine’s parents. I always envied and admired their lifestyle; it was all about family. They lived side by side, sharing meals and laughter, all reminiscent of my own childhood in a two family house with my aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandmother. When Tom and I visited, we would join her mom’s dinner table, seated amongst several generations of family.

Fast forward to the present, and the family ties and traditions still hold fast. Lorraine and Ricky now live in a two family house with their daughters, Jennifer, and Amanda and her family. We recently celebrated their granddaughter, Savannah’s, first birthday party with them, and shared a meal and laughter with their extended family. The birthday party was in the backyard, and home cooked dishes were served, including this recipe from Lorraine. The envy and admiration of this close knit family living arrangement still tugs at my heartstrings. To have your children and grandchildren living in the same house together is a very special blessing.  Lorraine is a cook’s cook. Some of the best cooks I know don’t always have a recipe in front of them. They are artists! I believe that you can take liberties with anyone’s recipe and make it your own to suite you/your family’s specific tastes, all without insulting a good cook such as Lorraine.

When I prepared her chicken dish, I cut the butter amount to 4 tablespoons, instead of her suggestion of 6 tablespoons, but then I felt her chicken was juicer and mine could have been a bit more moist, but it was still delicious. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to Lorraine’s recipe in the first place when it came to the butter, and I will the next time I prepare it. As far as the jarred garlic was concerned, I questioned using it rather than using fresh garlic. Lorraine said she only uses the jarred garlic for this recipe, and fresh garlic for everything else. Go figure…..but that was a good enough answer for me, and jarred garlic it is.

Looking forward to the next family gathering and some home cooking at Ricky and Lorraine’s…..BIG HINT if you are reading this, Lorraine)!