Monday, August 17, 2009

What's Wrong With Me? Winter Dishes in the Summer?


It was surprising that after going to the Union Square green market on Saturday morning, I was searching around the freezer as if it was winter, looking for what to cook for Sunday dinner. But baked pizzoccheri noodles, chicken, brussels sprouts, onion, bread crumbs, parmesan, basil it was. Albeit, this was a much healthier version of the dish than the one I made in March, but even so, baked pasta dish in the heat of the summer? What's wrong with me?

Ingredients
- buckwheat pizzoccheri noodles
- chicken breast, thinly sliced
- garlic clove, finely chopped
- cipollini onion, finely chopped
- brussels sprouts (frozen)
- bread crumbs
- grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- fresh basil leaves
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

Recipe
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Get a large pot of salted water boiling. In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil, the chopped garlic and onion, season and cook until translucent. Add the sliced chicken breast, season, and saute until cooked through. Remove from the heat. Add the brussels sproutsto the boiling water and after a couple of minutes, add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Drizzle some olive oil around a casserole dish and repeat layers of the pasta, the brussels sprouts, the chicken and onion mixture, and the grated cheese. Lightly season each layer. When the layers are complete cover the top in bread crumbs, grated parmigiano, and drizzle with olive oil. Add three leaves of basil to the top.

Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until brown on top.

While the pasta is baking, in a small frying pan add some olive oil and heat until hot. When the oil is hot, fry individual leaves of basil until crispy. Drain on kitchen towel.

When the pasta is browned on top, add the whole, crispy basil leaves as garnish and serve.

Wine Pairing
I actually paired this with a Spanish red left over from the previous night: Themera, Enologica 2008 Ribeira Sacra Alodio. A lighter to medium bodied red that I had stored overnight in the refrigerator, so it was definitely chilled, which I really liked. It had red fruits, some cherry, and a touch of minerality. It paired reasonably well with the dish, but I would have preferred an Italian red such as a Nebbiolo, Barbera, or a blend. The Sella Orbello would have done really well, as would the Sandro Fay 2007 Rosso di Valtellina.

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