Chicken in Mascarpone Sauce…

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Petti di Pollo con Salsa al Mascarpone

This is a supper dish that is satisfying on so many levels – its sheer simplicity, its warmth of flavours, its alluring aroma and its rich autumnal colours.

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For 6

1 onion peeled and chopped roughly

6 tbsps chilli oil

2 x 400gm tins of tomatoes

1tsp salt 

1tsp sugar

250 gm mascarpone cheese

About 10 basil leaves roughly torn

A boneless chicken breast with skin on, or thigh, skin on and boned, per person

Preheat your oven to 180c. In a medium saucepan, fry the onion for 5 minutes in 4 tbsps of the chilli oil. Pour in the tomatoes with the salt and the sugar, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off then 10 minutes with the lid off. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Take the saucepan off the heat and pouter into a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the mascarpone and the basil leaves. Season the chicken pieces with salt and black pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan or frying pan and fry the chicken on a highish heat on both sides – skin side first – until golden brown. Pour the sauce into an oven proof dish and then arrange the chicken pieces on top. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. I served it with tiny roasted apache potatoes in olive oil, rosemary and rock salt with steamed purple broccoli on the side.

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This is another one of the mighty Gino’s recipes and I have merely adapted it a tad. I really, really enjoyed cooking it and those round my table who ate it said it was a terrific new flavour to revel in. Make it soon! P.S. I have a really good recipe coming soon for any left over sauce!

4 Cheese Macaroni makes Monday’s supper magical…

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4 Cheese Macaroni makes Monday supper magical...

This is one of those dishes that is simply a sensory delight. It transforms a dull clichéd pasta and cheese dish into a veritable dish of the Gods. It looks good, it smells unbelievable and the texture is phenomenal. It is a dish to leave home for, to marry for, to fight for. I cannot tell you how good it is – but, and I know I wax lyrical rather too often at times – this dish is really worth waxing about – it is fabulous in every sense of the word. Please – please – please make it – and make it soon. Throw all other macaroni recipes in the bin.

For 4

500 gms pasta – use macaroni – I used a mix from my odds and sods tin – very home should have one
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 large teaspoons of oregano
75 gms Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus a little extra for grating
100 gms Taleggio cheese, roughly chopped – my favourite …mmmm
100 gms mascarpone cheese
1 ball of mozzarella cheese
75 gms of lardons pan fired and put to one side
A sprinkle of dried chilli seeds

Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain in a colander and keep back a little of the cooking water.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, add the oregano and fry gently for a minute, then turn off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the oregano oil (this is a vital part of the process and adds immensely to the sensory experience of this dish- I promise), along with a couple of spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water and the parmesan, taleggio and mascarpone.

Return to a medium heat and toss and stir around until most of the cheese has melted and you have a seriously goo style sauce – you may need to add a little more of the reserved cooking water. Add a short sharp shock of sea salt and two or three grinds of black pepper, then tip it all into an earthenware dish. Add the lardons. Add the mozzarella sliced into slivers and sprinkle over the extra parmesan. Then add the sprinkle of chilli seeds. Bake the macaroni cheese in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and stick the dish under a preheated grill until golden brown.

I served it with a rocket salad and a fine bottle of Primitivo from Puglia – a favourite wine of mine.

My Monday is now complete. I can face the rest of the week- all because of this dish.

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OK, I forgot to take all the pics….

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OK, I forgot to take all the pics....

….so you will have to take it from me that tonight’s supper was a 3 course delight. Late, mind…leaves on the line, hurricanes, fences down, hair lightly ruffled etc all of which caused us to not begin supper until 8.30pm… but all worth it – and if Annie’s other half is tuning in, it was all healthy too, James!

Starter…as in the pic above…slices of fennel doused in lemon juice and olive oil wrapped in prosciutto crudo with cherry toms and fennel salami – finocchiona – with a drizzle of fig balsamic. Main course – and this was very good – really very good – tagliatelle with a creamy basil sauce. Into a blender – pop a big handful or two of basil, a clove of garlic peeled and sliced, two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a teaspoon of capers and enough olive oil to give it a thick, just about runny, consistency. Blitz! Add to a bowl and add 2 or 3 dessert spoons of single cream. Cook your tagliatelle, drain it, stir in the sauce and serve – scattering over some toasted pine nuts if you will – they only take a minute or two in a dry frying pan. And of course we all grated over some parmesan.

I actually prefer this to my normal straight pesto sauce. It was simply unctuous.

OK – to finish off, I sliced a fabulous crisp Italian pear and placed a large piece on a small saucer to which I added a thin slice of creamy gorgonzola. This was all washed down with an amazing Malbec from Argentina called Alamos – purchased from those lovely people in Majestic in Winchester. Possibly a contributory factor as to why I forgot to photo the main course and the dessert! Hey – but it was all fab and each of the 3 dishes complimented each other marvellously.

Oh…and in the photo I was not just the only one drinking- the others just hadn’t arrived at the table yet!

Right – nearly 10.15 pm. Time to laze by the woodburner and dream about tomorrow’s supper….