Mushroom Risotto

Risotto. A show stopping dish that can easily impress your signifiant other come Tuesday, or your dinner party guests anytime! While it may seem intimidating it is actually fairly simple to pull off once you get the hang of it! I see risotto as a dance, a ladle of stock here, a stir of the spoon there. It really can become quite therapeutic!

This dish is hearty enough with the mushrooms to stand alone as a main dish but also pairs nicely with steak, chicken thighs, or pork tenderloin (I have an amazing recipe which I will share soon). It also would go great with my favorite garlic green beans as well! This risotto reheats surprisingly well, one of my favorite ways is to put it in a greased baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and bake till golden brown! 

xo

L

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 quarts of low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups mushrooms (diced) 
  • 1 large or two medium onions (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Protip: I always recommend seasoning at each stage in a dish, however you need to be mindful of how much salt you use while making this risotto, chicken stock can be quite salty as is parmesan cheese. Therefore I recommend putting in less salt than you think you need (a small pinch here or there), you can always add more at the end if it needs it, but you cant take it out!

In a dutch oven under medium heat sauté the onions and shallot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile place the stock on a stove under medium low heat. It is important that you have hot stock, it makes for happy risotto.

Add the mushrooms, butter, rosemary, thyme, and remaining olive oil to the pan with the onions. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and toast till fragrant (about 5 minutes); stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, be sure to scrape all of the brown bits off the bottom of pan. 

Now you begin the dance which is making risotto - ladle the hot stock into the sauté pan, you want to add just enough to cover the rice. Slowly add more and more stock as the rice starts to absorb. You want to add a ladle full every 10 minutes or so.

Continue to add stock until the rice becomes creamy and is cooked, this should take around 25 minutes. You may not use all of your chicken stock. Once the risotto has thickened stir in the parmesan cheese. Finally season with salt and pepper (be sure to use a little less since parmesan cheese is salty) and enjoy! 

Dinner Party Sides: Garlic Green Beans

I spent this past weekend with my family and friends (some old some new) up in Vermont. We had a great time and there of course was LOTs of great food! My sister and her boyfriend brought up these insane 3 inch thick bone in ribeye steaks for dinner on Saturday night. See below for photographic evidence of these bad boys. I had every intention of taking a after photo... but I forgot... sorry!

 Honestly they where some of the best cuts of meat I've ever had the pleasure of eating. I may or may not have told them that if they plan to visit me that those steaks MUST come with them or else they are not allowed in Boston. I drive a hard bargain what can I say?

After an activity packed day on Saturday we had the main event... Dinner!  Dinner ended up being one of my favorite kinds of dinner parties to be a part of, we completely divided up the labor.

Dinner party 101 - ASK FOR HELP! Do not try to do everything yourself, or else you will end up in the kitchen freaking out and not enjoying your guests, this has happened to me a few times. Also you end up trying to play catch up during dinner because you missed all of cocktail hour! Less than ideal. 

We ended up being 12 for dinner (well really 11 plus 1 a 3 1/2 year old),  my sister and her boyfriend took care of the protein (the steaks I spoke about above), a family friend brought the salad, and I was responsible for the sides! 

I decided to make two of my favorite dinner party sides that are easy and pack a punch in the flavor department - garlic green beans (recipe below!) and rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes (recipe coming soon!)! I also love these dishes because it is very easy for even a friend who does not cook to help you! For example, washing and trimming green beans is a great task to farm out or chopping potatoes.

Green beans are a great dinner party dish, they are easy to prepare - you can blanch or roast, and they are CHEAP. My roommate and I have been joking that we are on a "green bean diet." It's not actually a diet but we have been eating a lot of green beans. Anyway, you can get 2 lbs of green beans for less than $2! It's insane in my opinion.  

So, grab your friends, some wine and throw together a dinner party! I promise you can do it! Just remember to keep it simple and ASK FOR HELP!

If you have any questions feel free to leave them below, email me louisesgfkitchen@gmail.com or DM me on instagram @louisesgfkitchen

xo

L

 Garlic Green Beans 

Garlic Green Beans
  • 1 1/2 lbs Green Beans
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 garlic cloves smashed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile trim and wash your green beans. Once the water is boiling you add the green beans cooking for 2 -3 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and immediately submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. 

Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. using the flat edge of your knife smash the garlic cloves to remove the skins, then add them to the pot. You will cook the smashed garlic for around 5 - 10 minutes, until the garlic becomes golden brown. Do not let the garlic burn (burnt garlic = bitter , which = yuck). Remove the golden garlic from the pot and discard. 

Add the green beans and sauté for 5 minutes until reheated and coated in the olive oil, garlic, and butter mixture. Serve immediately! 

Pro Tip 1: The green beans and garlic butter oil can be made in advance! the green beans can be made up to 6 hours in advance, the garlic oil can be made up to 2 days prior to the main event. Simply reheat the oil and add the green beans to bring them to temperature. 

Pro Tip 2: When you smash garlic and heat it as we do above the garlic will infuse the oil with tons of garlic flavor, more so than if we diced the garlic. This way your guests will get the aroma and flavor of garlic without biting down on large chunks of garlic. 

 

 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

This is a recipe that I have been working on and tweaking since college, it all started in the kitchen of Ridge 15 (Shout out to my camels!), we were doing a family dinner and I wanted to make a simple and fresh pasta sauce. What started with some olive oil, garlic, parmesan, and a pint of cherry tomatoes has since evolved into what I call "Crack Pasta."

Chances are if you come over to my apartment for dinner and I am feeling lazy - crack pasta will be on the menu. It is probably one of my favorite things to eat - and I have shared this recipe with many a friend looking to impress their boyfriend/friends/parents etc. It is super simple, flavorful, and above all satisfying. 

It is also very versatile - don't have cherry tomatoes, cook down roma's. Fresh or dried herbs will both do the trick! I prefer a short pasta like a fusilli - but if you only have spaghetti? Go for it! No mozzarella - feel free to sub in copious quantities of Parmesan, Fontina would work, ricotta, even goat cheese!  The one thing you cannot skimp on is giving those tomatoes time to stew in their own juices - you can do it in as little as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours. But do NOT cheat the tomatoes people! I promise you will not regret it. 

Enjoy!

xo

L

PS. Update your iPhone's people! New Emojis!! 

Crack Pasta aka Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (I prefer the yellow tomatoes - they are sweeter, however red or heirlooms work great as well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (If you are a garlic lover like me - go with 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes (if you like more heat feel free to add more!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 lb. Short Pasta (I like penne of fusilli) 
  • 1 cup graded parmesan cheese
  • 1 container ciliegine mozzarella or 1 ball fresh mozzarella (this i the little cherry tomato sized balls)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Pro Tips:
1. Cooking Your Pasta: Pasta water should be as salty as the ocean, this is your chance to flavor the pasta! Also be sure to use a large pot, it help help keep your pasta from sticking, it is important to have enough water so that each piece can cook evenly. 
2. Cutting Mozzarella: If you could not find the ciligenine (aka cherry tomato sized mozarella) place a ball of fresh mozzarella in the freezer for 5 minutes and then use a seraded knife to cut it, this will make cutting the mozzarella easier. 
3. Finishing Your Pasta: Once your pasta is al dente drain and immediately add it directly to the pan with the sauce, this way the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, and the starchy liquid will help thicken your sauce. 

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil under high heat. 

In a medium sauce pan under medium low heat add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. sauté for 5 - 10 minutes or so until the garlic becomes fragrant and begins to brown slightly. Be sure to stir constantly - once the garlic begins to brown add the cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt, pepper, oregano, and dried basil. 

Allow the tomatoes to cook on the stove top for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will begin to burst creating the sauce for your pasta. Feel free to use the back of your spoon to help some of them along.  Once the tomatoes have burst turn the stove down to low. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, once finished cooking reserve 1 cup of pasta water. 

Add the pasta directly to the pot with the sauce, stirring well to combine. Add the parmesan and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Once the sauce has begun to thicken sprinkle the mozzarella balls around the pan. Cover for 5 minutes or until the mozzarella has become melty. 

Sprinkle with fresh basil (if you have it) and serve immediately! 

 

Saffron Risotto with Chicken & Peas

So not to go all Scrooge on you guys, but, I am really not a valentines day person. AND I am not just saying that because I am single, I just don't think you need a day to tell someone that you love them, you should do that every day!

What I do celebrate is Galentines Day! Galentines Day is the creation of none other than Leslie Knope (shes the best). Best put by the boss herself,

"February 14, valentines day is about romance, February 13th Galentines Day is about celebrating lady friends, its wonderful and it should be a national holiday." 

I got a big group of my girlfriends together and we had an awesome time celebrating each other! 

So instead of getting all bent out of shape about not having a boyfriend or getting stressed out about what to get your man, get your best girls together and have a ladies night! I promise you wont regret it. Also if you want your friends to love you forever, make them this risotto. It is super flavorful and so easy!

xx

L

Saffron Risotto with Chicken & Peas

  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 3 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (diced)
  • 1 c peas
  • 1 c corn
  • 3 slices of bacon diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 c white wine
  • 1/2c grated parmesan cheese
  • zest of one lemon

In a medium sauce pan heat your stock, keep at a simmer. In a dutch oven over medium heat render the bacon till crispy. Using a slotted spoon take the bacon out of the pan, add 2 tbs olive oil to the pan. 

Once hot sear the chicken breasts about 3 - 4 minutes each side until cooked through. Set aside. Sautee the onion until translucent. Add in the rice and toast for about 3 minutes until it starts to smell nutty. Add the butter and deglaze the pan with white wine.

Ladle stock into the pan covering the rice, continue to stir and add stock as the rice begins to plump up and get softer. Add the saffron threads. It should take about 20 minutes for your rice to finish. Stir in corn, peas, and chicken. Add the parmesan cheese and lemon zest. 

Ladle into a bowl and finish with bacon crumbles (if you have any left, I usually nibble on mine). Enjoy!

Please Forgive Me... I Made Creme Brulee!

HAPPY 2015! I feel so horrible for neglecting you guys, I spent my holidays catching up with family and friends and neglecting my poor readers! I promise promise that I will be better for the rest of the year. I have been asked a bunch at work what my New Years resolution is, and to be honest I really didn't have one. But turns out my New Years resolution is going to be making sure not to leave you all without recipes for such a long time again!

But anyway back to the reason that you read this blog, the food! I. LOVE. CREME. BRULE. I am obsessed with it. First of all I love how they are individual, anything that is just mine where I don't have to share is always a plus. Secondly I love cracking the top with the spoon, it is very satisfying and also fun. Third, they are just damn good. 

Creme brulee is also incredibly easy to make, I think some people get intimidated about making custards, I know I used to. But this recipe is totally fool proof, and I promise that you will be impressing all your friends.

xx

L

PS I make my creme brulee in miniature mason jars, they are oven safe, and it is easier to cool them in the fridge because you can easily cover them with their lids. Also they are adorable for presentation. 

Le Cirque's Creme Brulee

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean split 
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c plus 2 tbs granulated sugar 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the cream, vanilla bean, and salt until the top begins to shimmer. In a large bowl combine the yolks and sugar. Whisk until well combined. Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture, while whisking the egg and sugar mixture. Line a mesh strainer with cheese cloth and strain into a 4 cup measuring cup. 

Arrange between 8 and 10 shallow baking dishes on a roasting pan Fill each of the ramekins up 3/4 of the way. Carry the tray to the oven, and place on the shelf, then pour in water to fill 3/4 of the way up the ramekins. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour or until the custard is set (it should not be wobbly). 

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven (there might still be water in the pan so be careful not to slosh). Then cover and chill the custards for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. 

Sprinkle with sugar, if you have a hand torch caramelize the sugar on top until dark. If you do not have a hand torch, preheat the broiler put the ramekins as close to the top as possible, broil for about 30 seconds. Serve and enjoy!

Al Forno's Baked Pasta with Cream, Tomatoes, and Five Cheeses

I don't know about you guys but the struggle is very very real on this Monday morning. I woke up and the first words I hear is my best friends saying "But Mom I don't want to go to school." That actually could not be be more accurate. Is it christmas yet? Can I  sleep soon? I mean it is 100% my fault that today is such a struggle, I may or may not have stayed up a little too late last night. Whoops! You're only young once right?

Last night I had an awesome dinner party at P's house with my brother and some good friends. We had an absolute blast and the food was of course amazing. My friend P and I love to cook together, its funny because we are both kinda control freaks and you would think that we would step on each others toes a little too much BUT we don't thank goodness! We made my roast chicken, duck fat brussels sprouts (to.die.for), baked pasta, and a big ol salad. Cooking with friends is so fun and way cheaper than going out!

So this baked pasta is a recipe from Al Forno, a restaurant in Providence RI. It is freaking amazing, like mac and cheese on crack. There are five cheeses (FIVE!) and it is super easy to put together. It also reheats really well. When I first discovered this dish I made it 5 times in one week. I promise that you will be obsessed with it too.

Enjoy!

xx

L

Al Forno's Baked Pasta with Cream, Tomatoes, and Five Cheeses

  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1/3 c ricotta 
  • 1/2 c shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 c crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 c chopped tomatoes 
  • 1/4 lb sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 a stick of butter, sliced
  • 1 lb short pasta
  • 1/2 c basil 
  • 3 scallions chopped
  • salt 
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. In a large bowl combine the cheeses, heavy cream, half of the basil, and the tomatoes. Par boil the pasta, about 4 minutes. Combine with the cream tomato cheese mixture. Spread in individual ramekins or a large casserole dish. Try to spread as thing as possible. Bake for about 10 minutes, until browned, bubbily and crispy on top. Finish with basil and chopped scallions. 

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken with Garlic Thyme Roasted Potatoes

I know you are sitting at work, its finally friday (is it just me or are the weeks after a holiday the WORST) and you are trying to plan your weekend. Well I have it all figured out for you, YOU should roast a chicken! Its surprisingly easy, you can impress all your friends, and you can leftovers for the week ahead. This chicken recipe is an adaptation of one that my idol the Ina Garden makes. I love the combination of the lemon and thyme plus it add tons of flavor to the chicken. Do not even get me started on these potatoes, they are to do die for. I may or may not have made them multiple times just to eat for dinner... by themselves.

A trick to help your dishes really come together is to echo the similar flavors in multiple places. I used lemon and thyme in the chicken, so when I roasted my potatoes I roasted them with thyme and garlic. It is important when thinking about putting meals together that they are cohesive (wow I feel like a Chopped judge, they are always talking about cohesive dishes) and using the same flavors in different ways does that. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use herbs.

So have a fantastic weekend and roast a chicken!

xx

L

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken & Garlic Thyme Roasted Potatoes

For the Chicken:

  • 5 lb chicken
  • 1 lb softened butter
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme
  • 4 lemons, 2 halved, 2 zested and juiced 
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 bunch of thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry your chicken. Season the cavity and the outside with salt and pepper. In a small bowl combine the softened butter, thyme, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Take 1/3 of the butter and rub under the skin of the chicken. Use the rest of the butter to rub on the outside, be sure to cover your whole bird. 

Place your chicken on a roasting pan, put 2 half lemons and the bunch of thyme in the cavity. Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound at 350. 

For the Potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 lbs small potatoes (use red skin, small white skin, or I used Russian fingerlings)
  • 1/8 c olive oil
  • 3-5 cloves minced garlic (depending on how much you love garlic)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbs thyme 

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and dry your potatoes. Slice them into similar sizes, I like to quarter them to get more crispy edges. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and minced garlic. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours. Roast on a baking sheet for about 40 - 50 minutes, flipping once half way through cooking. 

Going Rogue on Thanksgiving, a Birthday Tribute & Chocolate Mousse

I am going to apologize in advance for the fact that I am going to suck at posting this week. I am on vacation with my family in Florida and honestly am not planning on doing too much cooking. My plans currently revolve around spending time with family, sleeping, doing a little work, and hopefully catching a few rays.

We have been coming here for the past two years, and instead of making Thanksgiving dinner, we go out to this absolutely fantastic Inn. This is actually the first year that I miss cooking Thanksgiving dinner, partially because I wont be able to share it with all of you! But at least my mom and I always do it on another day (ie Turkey, stuffing etc.) so that we can have leftovers for sandwiches. Next year I am putting my foot down and we are doing a traditional Thanksgiving and I am going ALL OUT.

In other news today is my best friend in the entire worlds birthday. "S" is the best and most awesome person I know. We have been through so much together from pushing me off the chairlift (I deserved it), to bowl cuts, to girl talk man drinks, to dixie chick sing alongs, to heartbreaks, to triumphs, and to every ridiculous shenanigan in between. She inspires me to be better every day. Thank you for being my best friend, partner in crime, voice of reason, and the bear to my goose!

Okay enough touchy feely stuff... This chocolate mousse recipe that I am about to share with you is probably our favorite thing ever. It is so light and airy but also rich and indulgent at the same time. It was my birthday "cake" this year and I gave her sister and law the recipe so it can be her this year. This is also a recipe that "S" knows even better than I do, so I am going to have to give her props on this one. 

This mousse although a possibly unconventional Thanksgiving desert, it is great because you can make it so far in advance. And I promise it will be the highlight of whatever meal you choose to serve it with, especially if that meal is occasionally breakfast. 

Anyway I hope you all have amazing Thanksgivings filled with food, wine, family, and love. This year I am most thankful for: my family, friends, dogs, and you all! I have really enjoyed writing this blog and sharing my food with you all, so thank you for listening to my ramblings and hopefully (fingers crossed) liking my food.

What are you thankful for?

xx

L

The Best Most Amazing Chocolate Mousse Ever. 

Adapted from "S" & The Fundamental Techniques of Italian Cuisine

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate 
  • 1 3/4 heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites (at room temp)
  • 3 tbs granulated sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (be careful that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water, you want the steam to do the work). Stir the chocolate gently as it melts. In another bowl (preferably attached to a stand mixer) beat the whipped cream until it forms soft peaks, set aside. In another bowl (again attached to a stand mixer) whip the egg whites, when you have soft peaks, add the salt and sugar, whip to firm peaks. You want them to be smooth and shiny (do not over whip them). Then using a whisk fold the chocolate into the egg whites. When the whites are almost completely incorporated fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

PRO TIP: make boozy whipped cream to go along with the mousse, take 2 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbs granulated sugar, and 1 tsp booze ( My go to's are dark rum or bourbon). Whip together on medium speed (cover mixer with a hand towel to keep the cream from splattering all over you) and whip to soft peaks. Serve with the mousse OR in your coffee