Monday, January 22, 2007

Recipe of the Week

I have to declare my love for Rachael Ray. I was watching her show today and she had Jennifer Hudson on talking about her prospects of being nominated for an Oscar tomorrow. You could tell JHud was so nervous about being nominated - Bless her heart!

But I love Rachael Ray because she got me out of the habit of simply popping a Lean Cuisine in the microwave for dinner, like most college students do. I tell ya, freshman year, I was the only freshman that had a full set of pans and was in the community kitchen making dinner.

So I've been trying different recipes and I came across Rachael Ray's recipe for Jambasta, a combination of jambalaya and pasta. I personally can't eat my jambalaya with anything but rice, but try it with the pasta and see how you like it.

1 pound penne rigate, pasta with lines
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound andouille sausage, any brand, casing removed and diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped or thinly sliced (1 large jalapeno my be substituted)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 ribs celery from the heart with greens, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beer, 1/2 bottle
1 cup chicken stock
1 (14-ounce) can, crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons hot sauce (recommended: Franks Red Hot or Tabasco) eyeball it
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 pound chicken breast, diced into small pieces
1/2 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
1/4 cup heavy cream, eyeball it
2 scallions, sliced

Heat a pot of water to a boil for pasta and add salt to it then pasta. Cook to al dente and drain.
While pasta works, heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, butter and andouille. Brown the sausage 2 to 3 minutes to render the fat. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add garlic, peppers, celery and onions. Saute the veggies for 5 to 6minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add flour to the pan. Cook flour with veggies 2 minutes more then whisk in beer. Cook beer out, 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, hot sauce and thyme. Bring liquid to a bubble and add chicken and shrimp. Cook 6 to 7 minutes until chicken is firm and shrimp are opaque and firm. Stir to mix in cooking juices then add in cream. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Ladle up the jambasta and top with chopped scallions and reserved crispy andouille.

I think I'm going to post recipes I find that are particularly good. I love food and I love eating and nothing makes me happier than eating food I cooked. Something about chopping an onion relaxes me and I've turned into one of those people who don't even cry when they cut an onion. (Actually, the trick I've found to cutting an onion is to put the onion in the fridge for about an hour before you cut it. And use a really sharp knife so you can go quickly).

So try this recipe and let me know what you think!

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