Saturday, 16 February 2013

Turkey Tetrazzini

I have long been a huge fan of American comedies, and one of my favourites is Everybody Loves Raymond.  We first came across this television gem on our second holiday to the US, back in 2003 and I was entranced.   I loved the food that Marie Barone produced, and a lot of it was unheard of in my little world.  Hubby and I set about finding out about, and trying, as many of these new dishes as possible on our subsequent holidays and at home. 

Current re-runs of the show have reminded me that there are still some we haven’t tried yet.  I had some leftover Christmas turkey in the freezer so Turkey Tettrazini is on the menu!

From what I can see, the original dish is heavy with cream.  My little digestive system won’t cope with that so I’ve given the recipe my own twist and lightened it.  Apologies to my American friends for this! 

For two of us I used : 

100g of linguini, cooked for half of its cooking time and set aside 

1 stick of celery
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
3 small mushrooms
2oz butter
2tb of flour
1 pint of chicken stock
1 small pot of single cream (150ml)
1oz grated parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste 

About 1 cup of leftover cooked turkey, or chicken

2 or 3 medium mushrooms 

* this sauce will make enough for two dishes, one for now and one for the freezer.  If you prefer not to freeze the sauce, use half of the quantity. 

Finely chop the cleaned celery, garlic, shallot and small mushrooms.  Melt the butter in your pan and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes. 

Add the flour and stir in until it has all been absorbed in the buttery juices.  Slowly add the chicken stock, a little at a time and stir in well until it is all absorbed and there are no lumps.  Season to taste and cook the sauce over a low heat for 5 minutes, until the rawness of the flour is cooked out.  Add the single cream and the grated parmesan. 

While the sauce is cooking, assemble in a buttered dish the cooked linguini, sliced mushrooms and torn cooked chicken.  When the sauce is cooked ladle half of it over the contents of your dish and set the rest aside to freezer for another time. 

Add a grating of parmesan cheese to the dish and pop into a heated oven (200oC / 400oF / gas mark 6) for 30 minutes or so, until piping hot through. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Moose Pasta Bake

I found Moose steaks at my local Lidl just before Christmas and I was very keen to try them out.  I already had dried moose shaped pasta (from Ikea) and so this dish was born!  You could, of course, replace the moose steaks with venison or beef, and any pasta shape would do for the bake.  Penne would probably be best. 

In keeping with my belief that life is too short to make pasta bakes on the day, and especially life with a dog (!), I made the meat sauce the day before I wanted the pasta bake.  Meat sauces are always so much better for a day or two sitting around.  I cooked the pasta in the morning and assembled the pasta bake ready to be cooked in the evening. 

To serve two, with another two for the freezer (or four!) I used : 

500g Moose steaks (or diced casserole beef, or venison)
1 large onion
1 stick of celery
2 cloves garlic
2 anchovies
1 sprig rosemary
1 450g  tin of chopped plum tomatoes
750ml bottle of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste 

1 bunch of basil 

200g of dried pasta 
1 or 2 oz of grated cheese

Wash the basil and separate the leaves from the stalks.  Keep the leaves in a bowl of water until later and finely chop the stalks.  Peel and coarsely chop the onion, finely chop the celery and garlic and sweat in 1tb of olive oil for 10 minutes or so, with the chopped basil stalks..  Add the anchovies and push them around the pan until they melt.  Then add the diced meat and brown in the pan.  Finely chop the sprig of rosemary and add that to the pan too. 

Add the tin of tomatoes to the pan and stir, then gently pour in the bottle of red wine and season to taste.  Bring to a simmer on the hob and then pop the lid on the pan and pop it into the oven.  Because you want to keep the lovely rich sauce, I covered the pan with a sheet of foil before putting the lid on. 

Cook in a low oven (140oC / 275oF / gas mark 1) for three and a to four half hours.  You want the meat to be meltingly tender, but not over cooked and a dry sauce so adjust the cooking time accordingly. 

Cook the pasta for half of its cooking time and then set aside.  If you are making the sauce the day before, and pre-cooking the pasta, ensure that the pasta is cold before you add it to the meat sauce. 

Tear the set aside basil leaves and add to the meat sauce, and then add the pasta. Turn into an oven proof dish.  Add a generous grating of cheese and then cook at 200oC / 400oF / gas mark 6 for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dish is piping hot (depending on the dish and your oven).