Sunday, September 26, 2010

BLT Chicken Risotto & Chopped Caprese Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

People think I am weird but when I am away on a business trip I miss be able to play in my kitchen. I will spend free time putting clipped recipes that are not available on the web into word documents. Do I have a problem?
Well I am home again and ready to play!
BLT Chicken Risotto
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter
2 ounces sliced pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or bacon)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded & chopped or cherry tomatoes halved
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover to keep warm.
In another saucepan, melt a tablespoons butter. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and golden; transfer to paper towels to drain. Add 1 more tablespoons butter and the onion and cook, stirring, until soft. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute; add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add about 1/2 cup stock and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Continue adding the stock a little at a time, stirring, until the rice is al dente and cooked through, about 20 minutes (the risotto will appear be slightly soupy, but not runny).
Stir in the chicken and tomatoes and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, arugula, 1/4 cup cheese and the pancetta; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Chopped Caprese Salad
2 large tomato, cut into large chunks
3 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks about half the size of the tomatoes
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade *
Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar**
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella and most of the basil in a bowl or on a platter of baby greens. Drizzle with balsamic and garnish with remaining basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* If you are unfamiliar with how to chiffonade, take a look at the video post on YouTube by Chef Jon-Paul Hutchins from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

** Flavored balsamic vinegars or even an aged balsamic vinegar add so much flavor that making a vinaigrette is not necessary. Add the vinegar sparingly as it tends to have a very strong flavor. We have fig balsamic and cherry balsamic vinegars but have never seen raspberry. While in Durham, NC, I found it in a great gourmet shop, Parker and Otis. They are open seven days a week, serving breakfast and lunch along with gourmet foods, cheese, wine and candy.It is a good thing that I do not live closer. I would be in the poor house. Click on the link above to check out their website.

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