Tag Archives: fennel

Buccantini alla finnochiona, a mouthful that tastes great!

17 Jan

A quick recipe… no real back story here. I was just in the mood for pasta and came up with this. Enjoy…

Buccantini alla finnochiona

Serves 2

8 oz buccantini pasta
1/4 pound finnochiona (fennel spiked salami)
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and julienned
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté fennel in 1 tablespoon oil until caramelized. Deglaze pan with orange juice and add in sugar. Cook until the juice is reduced. Add in the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Reduce by half and puree. While the pasta is cooking, add the remaining oil into the same pan that the fennel was sautéed in and then add in the finnochiona. Let the fat render for about 2 minutes and then add the shrimp to the pan. Cook the shrimp until all the pieces are pink and almost opaque. Add the puree back in to the pan and then add the remaining water. You can add more water if you need to; you are looking for a consistency of warm maple syrup. When the pasta is cooked, toss with the sauce and meat. Garnish with a fennel frond.

Always thinking of the next meal



Christmas Dinner

26 Dec

Christmas dinnerSo Christmas has come and gone. Another day that comes with umpteen hours of planning and re-planning. Writing a menu and then re-writing a menu to accommodate all of the tastes of the guests in attendance. You want to be bold and impressive, but not be slaving in the kitchen for days. At least with Thanksgiving the menu is set by tradition. But Christmas is a different story.

This year I was entertaining my in-laws. There were 8 adults and 2 kiddies. Although they are willing to try everything I make for them, they are still warming up to my culinary experiments. I wanted to set a menu that was full flavored and inspired by Italy, but not predictable. It seemed to simple to me to have lasagna or chicken piccata. So here’s what I went with:

Christmas Dinner 2009

Mom’s Famous Italian Chopped Salad

Salute Roast of Pork, glazed with blood orange marmelade, roasted over fennel and sweet potaotes
Four cheese Italian potatoes au gratin
Haricot Vert sautéed with garlic
Roasted acorn squash with hazelnuts and balsamic reduction

And for dessert-

Christmas cookies and croquembouchecroquembouche

The salad was supposed to go out before the main course, however, a few people were late because of weather and traffic and so everything went out at once. Although, a slight change in plan, it still went over big, with the leftovers going home with my mother-in-law. Here’s the recipe for my mom’s famous Italian chopped salad.

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup candied walnuts

3/4 cup or 4 oz of blue cheese (I use Danish blue, but she likes the crumbles)

1/2 cup homemade balsamic vinaigrette

Just toss all the ingredients together and serve. Reserve a few walnuts and a few crumbles of cheese to garnish with.Acorn SquashThe recipe for the dressing is simple. 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 teaspoon honey, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup good quality olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Purée on a blender or whisk until incorporated. Toss into salad gently. This salad is good anytime. It’s light and zippy (yes, zippy) and can be easily made into a main dish by adding grilled chicken or salmon.

To make the roast, I purchased a salute roast from the butcher and brined it the night before serving in salt, brown sugar, orange juice, and fennel fronds. When I was ready to roast the piggy, I set it up on a bed of sweet potatoes, fennel, and blood oranges. I roasted it at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 40 minutes and then let it rest for 30 minutes. The meat was a perfect medium well (which was a little more than I like, but the brine helped to keep the meat juicy and flavorful.) Every 30 minutes I brushed the roast with homemade blood orange marmalade which I made a few days earlier.

Everything turned out perfectly. We had a few leftovers, but well that made a great dinner tonight as orange glazed pork tacos with fennel and black beans.

Always thinking of the next meal (which won’t be for awhile)