We often spend a little extra time thinking about love when February rolls around. There are so many wonderful ways to express love to those we care about–food is, of course, one of my favorites. Italians are famous for their bold, flavorful expression of love in the kitchen so I conferred with a dear Italian-American friend, Marla, about some of her favorite dishes that she shares with her family. (It is also good to note that Marla is a physician and can readily share the nutritional benefits of the foods she serves when given the chance.)
5443031Marla’s mother was from Southern Italy and blessed her family with many delicious olive oil and garlic rich meals. Her amazing roasted chicken was her signature dish. Though she tried and tried, Marla simply could not replicate it. With a few changes, Marla created this dish made with chicken thighs and found the same loving comfort that her mother’s dish provided but this is much easier and quicker to make. We hope you enjoy this garlic rich entrée for more than just its flavor. Garlic helps fight infection, increases good cholesterol, reduces bad cholesterol, helps fight hypertension, colds, and some types of cancer.
2297794Trim any excess fat from chicken. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray, add olive oil. Add chicken to the pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until slightly golden. Turn chicken over, season other side and allow to continue cooking. Cut the garlic into 4-6 pieces and add to pan. Cook chicken and garlic until garlic is soft, turning occasionally. When chicken is cooked through and garlic is soft, remove from pan, carefully scraping all garlic onto the chicken.
5094374Reserve 1 TBSP of chicken broth; stir in the cornstarch. Deglaze the pan with the remaining broth; whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Allow to simmer until it reduces to about 1/3 cup and thickens. Pour over chicken. Serve with asparagus.
16376Marla’s Father Maurizio was from Northern Italy. He was anything but shy, and you can tell by his recipe for pasta that he wasn’t shy about flavor either. Though anchovies can be a little intimidating at first, they are an excellent source of calcium, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids. This is an excellent way to introduce them to your diet since they will almost completely dissolve in the olive oil as they cook. Top this dish off with a generous helping of good parmesan cheese and you’ll all be singing operas in Italian in no time!
Maurizio’s Macaroni Aglio e Olio
7058102Bring a large pot of water to boil; add salt and 1 TBSP olive oil. In a small saucepan heat anchovies, ½ cup olive oil, and slivered garlic over low heat while the water comes to a boil.
4712640The anchovies will dissolve into the oil; stir and allow them to continue cooking in the oil.
3231382Cook pasta until al dente in the boiling salted water. When the pasta is almost done add ½ cup of the pasta water to the anchovy oil and whisk it together to emulsify. Drain the pasta, add the anchovy oil, stir to coat; top generously with fresh grated parmesan cheese (and crushed red pepper, if desired). Enjoy… then brush your teeth.