“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Potatoes with Pancetta and Italian Seasoned Chicken Cutlet with Ariosto Seasings

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the events of the past week. I have lived in New York City since I was born and seeing Hurricane Sandy cause such permanent emotional and physical damage is heat-breaking. My family and I were very lucky, but unfortunately many were not. There is still so much to be done, so I am taking this opportunity to ask you to please donate to The Red Cross, every amount helps. Even just $5 will go a long way in the recovery. Thank you very much.

One of my favorite memories of being in Ischia was looking in the gourmet shops in town. They had beautiful oils, vinegars, cookies, pasta, crackers and herb kits; it was a foodie’s heaven. My mother and I were staying in a hotel without a kitchen in our room, so unfortunately there was a limit to what we could work with. For some reason, I especially loved all of the packets of fresh herbs. Once, we actually did buy a pack for tomatoes and made a fresh tomato and cannellini salad in the room!! So, you can imagine how excited I was to receive some samples of Ariosto seasonings, straight from Italy!!

Ariosto has been around for more than 50 years and has a wide variety of seasoning products. They are completely natural, free of flavor enhancers and food coloring, the only ingredients are sea salt from Sicily and Italian herbs. I received seasonings for meat and chicken, tomatoes, fish, potatoes and risotto. The question now is, what to make?!?! 

Well, I decided I was in the mood for a classic chicken and potatoes kind of meal, but a little more interesting than just that. I decided to make a potato, onion and pancetta bake using the potato seasonings which ingredients included sea salt, garlic, rosemary, sage, juniper, basil, marjoram, oregano, bay leaf, coriander, parsley and herbs. For the entrĂ©e, I made a seasoned fried chicken cutlet using the meat seasonings which have salt, rosemary, garlic, sage, juniper, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil and herbs. As you can see, you can understand all of these ingredients!! No words that you can’t pronounce. Furthermore, all of these spices are my favorites and I look for any excuse to cook with them.

They were very easy to use and as soon I opened the packets, the smell of the herbs brought me right back to Ischia.  As soon as my food had started cooking, it enhanced the herbs and the kitchen smelled amazing. The scents of rosemary, garlic, sage and basil danced in my kitchen. When I finally got around to eating everything, I could not believe how everything tasted. It really was a perfect meal. The potatoes were so well seasoned, the bake was crunchy on the top but soft on the inside and the pancetta added a wonderful smokiness to the herbs. The chicken was so moist and flavorful; the herbs just made everything come together perfectly. Luckily, Ariosto Seasonings are available in New York and if you are interested, you can take a look here and please be sure to check out their facebook page. If you have ever used these seasonings, please comment and let me know what you think. Until next time miei amici!! Buon Appetito!!

Potato Bake with Onions and Pancetta

2-3 slices of pancetta, chopped (if you can’t find pancetta, bacon will be fine)
1 large onion, sliced paper thin
8 small-medium size red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, sliced paper thin
3 tbsp. cup olive oil
Salt + Pepper (to taste)
½ pack Ariosto potato seasonings

Brown the pancetta in a pan till slightly crisp. Add the sliced onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook slowly till soft. In a small bowl, put ½ a packet of Ariosto mix, olive oil and blend. Slice potatoes paper thin (I use a Japanese slicer, they are easy to find at specialty shops or a mandolin)

Using a small casserole or baking dish, brush lightly with the spice/oil mix. Starting with a layer of potatoes, next pancetta/onion mix, continue alternating layers and end with a layer of potatoes. Lightly brush the top with the spice mix and sprinkle coarse salt on the top, bake very slowly in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (depending on the thickness of your casserole). Test by piercing with a thin knife, if it goes through smoothly, it’s done!! You can increase or decrease any of these ingredients to fit any size baking dish, large or small, just adjust your cooking time and test with a thin knife. Enjoy!

Seasoned Chicken Cutlet

¼ cup olive oil
1 packet Ariosto meat seasonings
4 chicken cutlets
¾ cup chickpea flour
Neutral Oil for frying

Blend olive oil and ½ packet of herbs (or to taste.) Marinate chicken in herbed olive oil for at least an hour (more if you can or want.) Blend flour, remaining herb mix, salt and pepper. Pat chicken lightly to take off some of the oil, coat in the herbed flour mix, let sit a few minutes for the flour to adhere. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and fry chicken until golden on each side, roughly 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your chicken. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly. I served the chicken with a pesto aioli, the potatoes and a light green salad!! Buon Appetito!! 

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