ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rainy Sunday, Another Challenge-Another Chicken Dish!

Happy Sunday!

First of all, we want to thank you all for all the lovely comments wishing Allie luck at her cheerleading tryouts. Your good thoughts went with her and.......


Allie is now officially a Varsity cheerleader for her school!

And guess who got volunteered to do the first team pasta dinner. 

They say it's a bonding experience.

"They" being 16 teenage girls. 

Give me strength. 

And spaghetti.

It's been HOT here in NC the last couple of days and the plants have been a bit droopy. They're feeling very happy now

It's raining! A bit of thunder, some lightening, and a much needed dose of water

A bit gray right now, but our flowers are definitely looking happier

I remember sitting on my Nonni's terrazzo (the terrace outside their dining room) on rainy evenings. My Nonno would stand and point out the lightening across the river in the distance and my Nonna would be fretting that we would traipse over her rugs with wet feet  :)

"La terrazza" holds many memories for me. As our regular readers know, my Nonno was a very well known soccer player as a young man. "Calcio" (soccer) was a huge part of his life, and as baseball is the all-American past time, soccer is worshipped in Italy. My grandparents lived directly across the street from the soccer stadium in Vicenza, and I spent many evenings with my Nonno sitting on the terrace cheering on our team. Nonno was always hesitant to take us to the actual stadium for a game as he worried about how "rowdy" the fans sometimes got. It didn't matter to us as we had the best seats in the house!

This is a postcard that I was fortunate enough to find on Ebay. The white house in the lower left hand corner was where my grandparents lived. Their third floor apartment  had prime views of the field. 
In Italy, it's common to own your apartment, much like co-op or condo living here.

If you look under the stadium at ground level, you see what looks like arches. Under the arches were a row of small stores- a butcher, produce market, etc..The dirt field to the left was the practice field. 

As I was making tonight's dinner, Allie commented that I was using Lazaro's "challenge ingredients". Well, what do you know? I WAS! So we're linking up again to Lazaro Cooks! 

The challenge is to present a dish containing avocado and Feta cheese. I had actually bought more than I needed at this week's Farmer's Market (that is a dangerous place for me!!) and was trying to use up a couple of very ripe avocados and some herbs that were calling my name. Since this was sort of done on the fly, and since I hadn't intended to post it, and since I think I sunburned my brain in the garden this week, I didn't actually measure anything. Soooo... use your judgement- you really can't mess this up. I tried to ballpark the amounts and my youngest helped by writing down what I called out. Thanks, Timmy!

Also, you will note that I used Ariosto Seasoning. In general, I tend not to use many dry seasonings as I prefer fresh herbs. That being said- this is GOOD stuff. Ariosto mixes fresh herbs with Sicilian sea salt. They have mixes specifically made to complement meats, vegetables, to season tomato sauces, and to roast potatoes. I sometimes mix Ariosto seasoning into bread crumbs for cutlets or stuffing. 
I'm often asked where I get my Italian products and the truth is I have many sources. I am so fortunate here to be within a driveable distance from a fabulous distributor of Italian products and they recently started selling online! Yay! I'm working on a post listing some of my other sources, but if you're interested in the Ariosto, it can be found at Capri Foods Be sure to try some on roasted potatoes-YUM!

Tell them Pattie at Bramasole sent you. 

They won't have a clue who that is (unless they happen to remember the last time we were there and the slightly embarassing incident with my sons and a salami....) 

Ummmm, never mind- maybe you shouldn't mention me!

By the way, a little disclaimer here. Any opinions are strictly my own- I'm not being compensated for them. I've been asked to review several different products recently and am happy to do so, but only with the understanding that I will give my honest opinion. 

And Ariosto products are something we really do use at Casa Bramasole. 

Here goes Lazaro! Enjoy! Tutti a tavola!

Chicken with Avocado/Feta Salsa and Pepper/ Mint Risotto
(you might want to change that name!)

Whole chicken, cut up OR parts as desired. ( I made some drumsticks for the kids and a boneless chicken breast which I sliced for me)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic – crushed & chopped
1/2 cup Olive oil
Ariosto seasoning- about 1-1 1/2 tsp.
2 large-ish avocados - diced
1-2 TBLSP key lime juice
about 3 cups of mixed tomatoes (grape and heirloom cherry) – halved
1/2-3/4  cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 yellow onion, cut in eighths, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes 
1 large roasted pepper  chopped
3 cloves of garlic – chopped
1 handful capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of cilantro and mint mixed – chopped coarsely
5 thin slices of pancetta, chopped and sauteed in a bit of olive oil till crisp (set aside to cool a bit)
Preheat oven 375 degrees if you plan to roast chicken.
Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the chicken. Marinate for an hour in fridge, turning once after 30 minutes,  and then let come to room temperature while you roast onions and saute pancetta. If you're grilling, preheat grill. Grill or roast the chicken till done
Mix all the salsa ingredients and stir gently
Serve with the chicken and risotto. Garnish with more Feta and chopped mint
2 Tblsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated to a very low simmer
1/4 cup chopped roasted pepper
2 Tblsp chopped mint and basil mixed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Melt butter in large pan and saute onion till soft. Add rice and stir and saute for 2-3 minutes till translucent. Add wine and cook till absorbed. Start adding simmering stock one ladleful at a time. Allow rice to absorb the liquid before adding the next ladle. It should take 20-30 minutes to completely cook the rice and use all the liquid. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, roasted peppers and herbs. Serve topped with chicken and salsa. 
For this presentation, I spooned the risotto into the ring of a springform pan which I sat on the plate. Smooth the top and lift off the ring. I also do this for individual servings using mini spring forms or even biscuit cutters. 

As Always,

Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. Congratulations to dear Allie and good luck to Pattie!!!

    I make a Lebanese dish that requires molding the rice. I've always used the same stainless steel bowl for the mold but I will have to give the springform pan a try, just for an new presentation! Your dish looks wonderful!

  2. Oh, I'm so excited for Allie! YEA! YEA! YEA!

    Pattie, your constant stream of delicious dishes and wonderful family stories always make for a fascinating read. Thank you for sharing with us...


    Sheila :-)

  3. Enjoying reading about family and food. Brings back all my family memories too with people that are gone.Big "fat Greek " celebrations.Thank you both ~Emelia~

  4. great dish, I love the idea of having a salsa on risottos..yum

    congrats to allie


  5. Congrats to Allie for her achievement. Hope she has much fun as a varsity cheerleader.

    Another magnificent entry. Thank you for your continued support of our endeavor.

    Have a great week!


  6. Congrats Allie! Hope you have a blast as a varsity cheerleader and show them how it's done :)

    A wonderful entry for the challenge! Thank you for your support! The idea of salsa with risotto never occured to me but that's something I intend to soon change!

  7. I wrote this big ol' long comment and I always forget I have to do the word verification and I lose the comment, I have done this more than once. What I was saying is I don't know how I missed out on knowing about Allies try outs, I must have missed that post. Anyhow I am so excited for you Allie, I was a cheerleader in highschool in the olden days and it was the best time ever. You are going to have sooooo much fun. Pattie you are going to be soooooo busy. Remember Enjoy the Process, Love to you both,Kathysue

  8. Congratulations Allie! So happy for you!

    Pattie it is always so interesting to learn more facts about your interesting family background! We also love to watch soccer --it was a big part of our life when our kids played in an Italian league here in NYC.

    Delicious recipe, that I am copying down, as always!

    ♥ Pat

  9. congrats!!!!
    And YUM for the chicken dish!!!

    Hugs, Lana

  10. Congratulations Allie! YOu have some wonderful times ahead of you. My daughter, Jacqueline was a varsity cheerleader in High School and then went on to cheer at Penn State. They were such happy years for her! Just stay out of the drama. I used to tell her, "Cheer with Joy". So I'll tell you Cheer with Joy!

    Pattie, this recipe looks mouth watering fabulous! How can you cook like (absolutely wonderfully) that on a consistant baiss? The risotto sounds so so yummy!

  11. Congrats to Allie on making Varsity Cheerleader! that risotto and chicken dish looks fabulous. Wonderful presentation!

  12. Congrats to Allie!! really great idea the chicken with avocado...and the presentation of the dish is beautiful.
    Buona settimana to both!

  13. Congratulations Allie on making the team. Thanks also for sharing this delicious recipe with us as well. I would never have thought to use a delectable salsa paired with risotto. Mmmm!!!

  14. Congratulations, Allie. I'm sure you're thrilled and we are thrilled for you. Pattie, the chicken and the flowers look wonderful. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  15. Give me an "A"...Give me a "L"....Give me another "L"......okay, that could get annoying fast! LOL WAY TO GO ALLIE!!

    This dish looks fabulous! Bunches of my favorite favors are all in this recipe!

    The weekly dinner planner that I have on our fridge has more "See Patties recipe on May 17" than things actually written out on it! LOL

  16. Good for you Allie!

    The chicken looks wonderful and now I am off to find the Ariosto seasoning.


  17. Way to go, Allie.

    What a lovely presentation, Pattie. I was just thinking about preparing a risotto dish. Good timing.


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