Thursday, July 2, 2009

Food For Thought Thursdays: Sauteed Mozzarella alla Caprese and Italian Baked Chicken

Take two incredible Italian chefs, a little chicken, a few tomatoes, some cheese and what do you have? Two wonderfully delicious recipes for an amazing meal. Enjoy and be sure to let me know how it turned out!

Mozzarella all Caprese
(Photo courtesy of Michelle. Be sure to check her blog for more delish recipes!)

(slightly adapted from Mario Batali)

5-6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp. bread crumbs with fresh ground black pepper

4 – 1/2″ slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

4 very ripe tomatoes, chopped into 1″ dice (about 1 pound) (I used about 2 1/2 c. grape tomatoes.)

2 bunches basil, leaves only

4 slices country bread, cut into 1″ slices (I used an Italian wheat bread.)

garlic clove, peeled

If you’re making your own bread crumbs, do that first, add pepper; and set aside. Chop tomatoes and slice basil into thin strips.

Preheat grill or broiler for toasting bread. Grill bread to toast. As soon as you remove toast from heat, rub with garlic clove and set aside.

In a 12-14″ nonstick saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Dredge mozzarella slices in bread crumbs, shaking to remove loose bits. Place mozzarella slices in pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. (This takes only about a minute.) Remove each slice of cheese and place it on top of a slice of toasted bread.

Add tomatoes to pan and toss to heat, about 30 seconds. Add basil leaves and toss to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon tomatoes and basil around and over top of mozzarella and serve.

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina
recipe by Giada de Laurentiis
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.


Brandi~ Glitz and Glamour said...

I may have to try the caprese. It looks so good!

Dawn said...

Hey Brandi! I know it looks sooo good. Let me know how it turns out.

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