Too many of my friends are intimidated by cooking risotto, but in reality it’s not too complex. You do have to pay attention to the cooking times, and it’s not a “set and forget” dish, but technically there’s not too much to master. And once you have the basics – you can make thousands of different risottos.
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Recipes and Techniques
A brown butter sauce is one of those simple recipes that really needs to be in your repertoire. It’s really very simple, because there’s one key ingredient – butter. It’s really very versatile, because while there’s only one key ingredient, that will go well with hundreds of others.
Agnolotti, ravioli, tortellini….it’s all so good. Stuffed pastas allow you to really show your creativity and personality.
In this recipe I make a flavored brine for pork chops or pork tenderloin, which is based on my basic brine recipe. Pork can become overcooked pretty quickly and the brining process gives you a bit more insurance by getting some additional moisture in the meat. My flavored brine for pork chops, uses a few of pork’s “natural” pairings to also boost up the flavor.
I’ve already posted a technique on how to make a basic brine, but just like all techniques and recipes I post, I don’t want you to stop at “the basic”. A brine can be your blank canvas, and you can paint a different picture whenever you’d like. Different foods pair better together than others, and you can use those natural food combinations to make your brined foods even better.
Brining is a process similar to marinating in that both expose food to a flavored liquid, but they actually work in significantly different ways. Marinating is usually a relatively short process (3 – 5 hours) that primarily uses acid to break down meat fibers, resulting in greater tenderness.
Another of the French “mother” sauces, Bachemel is a pretty simple combination of roux and milk (or cream). The combination forms a thick white sauce that can be taken a number of different ways. Adding some cheese, I use it for my mac-‘n-cheese, I’ll also put it (sometimes) as a layer in my lasagna recipes, and there are a hundred other uses.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that making your own pasta is the easiest thing in the world, but it’s also important that you know it’s not hardest. I generally only do it if I want to make pasta for a special occasion, or want to make my own stuffed pasta like ravioli or anglelotti. Neither the ingredients, nor the techniques are overly complicated, it just takes a bit of time, and pati
Deglazing a pan is the first step in making a number of sauces (particularly pan sauces), and a cooking technique that every home chef should know how to do. The process of deglazing uses a liquid to “free-up” or pull off crystallized bits of protein, called fond, from the bottom of the pan.
Sage brown butter sauce is an easy, classic preparation for pasta, and one of my gotos, especially in autumn. It goes great with stuffed pastas like ravioli or tortellini filled with fall vegetables like squash or pumpkin. It's also really easy to make, with just a few ingredients and less than 15 minutes of cook time.