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Posts Tagged ‘Mozzarella’

 

Chicken with tomatoes, mozzarella & basilWe love easy ideas like this for adding extra interest to some chicken fillets mid-week. Serve with warm crusty bread and green salad.

Wine Suggestion: your choice of youthful, lighter Italian red; our choice tonight was the refined and under-rated Poggio ai Ginepri Bolgheri Rosso, but almost chose a Chianti. Both would be good.

Chicken breasts with tomatoes, mozzarella & basil – serves 4

  • 4 chicken skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves, plus a few extra to garnish
  • 3 x 125 mozzarella balls, drained and sliced (don’t use buffalo mozzarella for this)

Slash each of the the chicken breasts four times with a sharp knife, cutting to the middle.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the garlic and chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden all over.

Tip in the cherry tomatoes with the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 12 minutes, turning the chicken breasts over halfway through.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Take the pan off the heat and put the mozzarella slices on top of the chicken breasts. Grind over some black pepper and put the pan under the grill for a minute or until the cheese starts to melt.

Pour some sauce onto each plate, top with a piece of chicken and garnish with the extra basil.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

 

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Blistered peppers, pomodorini, mozzarella & pesto

Flavours of late summer and something different to use up fresh pesto. We loved this dish, so light but really tasty. Serve with salad and bread.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest a juicy Tempranillo with a touch of oak, like the Paco Garcia Rioja Seis; a modern style that doesn’t need food unlike some other Rioja wines. Very happily served alongside a dish like this.

Blistered peppers, pomodorini, torn mozzarella & pesto – serves 2

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 12 pomodorini or baby plum tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1  ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Cut the peppers in half lengthways, remove the seeds and rub all over with a little olive oil and seasoning.

Toss the tomatoes with some olive oil, seasoning and the garlic .

Heat a heavy oven-proof pan until hot. Put the peppers, cut-side down, into the pan and sear until blackened along the edges. Turn them over and add the tomatoes to the pan, then roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Put the tomatoes inside the peppers along with the chunks of mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil, then return to the oven until the mozzarella has started to melt. Put a tablespoon of pesto on each stuffed pepper before serving.

Serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe by Alastair Hendy in Olive Magazine, August 2014.)

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Parmigiana di Melanzane e Pepperoni con Prosciutto di Parma

We love this Italian dish that bursts with summer flavours. It takes a while to prepare but the rich flavours are really rewarding and it is straightforward to prepare. You will need a big dish as this is a generous portion for 6 but it makes delicious lunchbox leftovers. Kids like it chopped up a bit and stirred through pasta too. Serve with a green salad and you will definitely need bread to help clean your plates.

You can assemble the dish up to a day in advance and bake for 40 to 45 minutes when ready to serve.

Wine Suggestion: this is a robust dish and needs an equally robust and fresh red wine to match. Our choice tonight was made by an old friend Laura, the Gianni Brunelli Rosso di Montalcino; fresh youthful and elegant and yet with a powerful backbone.

Parmigiana di Melanzane e Peperoni con Prosciutto di Parma – serves 6

  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ x 700g jars passata or sugocasa
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs including parsley, tarragon and chives if possible
  • 2 good handfuls of basil leaves, torn
  • 140g prosciutto
  • 140g Parmesan
  • 3 x 100g balls mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan 180C.

Put the peppers onto a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes or until the skins are soft and blackened in places.

Trim the ends of the aubergines and slice them lengthways into 1cm thick slices. Put the aubergines in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Put a saucer on top and weight down with a tin of tomatoes (or something similar). Leave for about 20 minutes.

Remove the roasted peppers from the oven and either put them into a bowl covered with cling film or into individual sealed sandwich bags to cool for 20 minutes or so.

To make the sauce, peel and chop the onion and roughly chop the carrot and celery stick. Whizz these in a food processor until finely chopped. Crush the garlic on a board with some salt.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the carrot and celery mixture for a few minutes or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the passata. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes until thickened. Stir in the chopped herbs and basil leaves. Season to taste and set aside.

Brush the aubergine slices with the rest of the oil and cook in batches on a griddle pan for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until softened and browned (you can cook under a grill if you haven’t got a griddle pan).

Lay all of the slices of prosciutto together on a board, then slice finely. Finely grate the parmesan and slice each mozzarella ball into 6.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stalks and seeds. The blackened skins should also peel off easily. Slice the peppers into rough strips

To assemble the dish begin by spreading a layer of sauce over the base of a large casserole dish or roasting tin. Layer half the aubergines, a third of the mozzarella and a third of the prosciutto on top. Follow this with another third of the mozzarella, a third of the grated Parmesan and prosciutto and another handful of basil leaves.

Spoon over half of the remaining tomato sauce and top with all of the peppers. Layer over the rest of the mozzarella, prosciutto, aubergine and another third of the Parmesan.

Finally spoon over the rest of the sauce and finish with the remaining Parmesan and a drizzle of oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe by Valentina Harris in BBC Good Food Magazine, January 2001.)

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Pizza baked potato

The vast majority of our weeknight dinners are based on whatever happens to be left in the fridge after the weekend.  It turns out that leftover pizza toppings taste pretty good on top of a baked potato too. Also suitable for those who don’t eat pizza dough.

Wine Suggestion: If you happen to have something open already, that will do nicely.

Pizza Jacket Potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 60g sliced pepperoni, torn (the thin sliced stuff from a packet will do fine)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • small handful of basil leaves, shredded
  • 100g grated mozzarella/cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/gas 6.

Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Bake directly on the oven shelf for 1-1½ hrs, or until soft.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and sauté the onion for 5 mins to soften. Stir in the garlic and pepperoni, and cook for a minute or two,  then add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins. Season and stir in half the basil. Spoon over the split potatoes and top each one with a good handful of cheese and the rest of the basil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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Irish SaladThis caprese salad is made from all Irish ingredients – even the mozzarella (fellow Dubliners can pick some up in Fallon & Byrne). Perfect for what will probably be one of our last sunny lunches for this year.

Caprese di Mozzarella – serves 2

  • mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
  • basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt
Drain the cheese and cut into thin slices. Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices in concentric rings on a nice plate. Sprinkle with basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt (salt is a necessity here!).

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Otherwise known as “Jamie’s Pasta Bake”; a simple, tasty dish that can be easily doubled for parties. Delicious hot for dinner with some garlic toasts and also cold the next day for lunch.

The recipe suggests using orecchiette but any pasta shapes will do so it’s a great way to use up all the packets lying around the cupboard.

Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella (serves 4 generously)

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped (white onions are suggested but any other onion lying to hand will do)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled
  • 3 x 400g tins of good quality plum tomatoes
  • large handful of basil, torn
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 400g short, any shaped dried pasta, preferably orecchiette
  • 4 very big handfuls of freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 x 150g balls of mozzarella, sliced
Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6.

Heat a saucepan on Medium-low heat and a couple of glugs of olive oil, onion, garlic and chill. Slowly fry for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured.

Add tinned tomatoes and a small glass of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Wizz sauce until smooth add basil leaves, red wine vinegar and season.

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta shapes according to packet instructions. Drain and then toss with half the tomato sauce and a handful of parmesan.

Rub a little olive oil in a baking tray and layer a third of the pasta in the bottom. Follow by a layer of tomato sauce a handful of parmesan and 1 mozzarella ball. Repeat two more times and until ingredients are used up. Make sure that there is a good layer of cheese on the top.

Cook in oven for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Original recipe: Jamie’s Italy

Wine suggestions: This will work equally well with a nutty, dry white like a Verdicchio or Greco di Tufo or  a mid-weight red like Barbera, Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo or a fruity Chianti. You don’t need to get too complex as this is a very social dish so it suits a social and easy style of wine.

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