Holy Mackerel! What a busy week. We just got Episode 8 up and running plus we warped up filming episode 9. Not to mention I think there was a football game on this weekend or something . HA! Well congratulations to the New York Giants and thanks to all our fans out there that have supported us for another great episode.
Now each episode Chris, PC, and I come up with some pretty extravagant menus. Along with that we sometimes try things that other Common Chefs out there just aren’t able to do. So during our filming this week I asked myself what does it really mean to be a Common Chef. All I had to do was to look in my own refrigerator at home to find the answer. Just like the majority of Common Chefs out there I have a very narrow selection of ingredients that I can choose from when shopping. Also I can’t just run to the store and buy a huge ingredient list every time I want to cook a meal. So one of major factors that all common chef have to deal with is what to do with left overs.
During this weekends filming, we were hoping to have a bunch of people show up for our Superbowl party. We had a great turn out but unfortunately do to time constants and a few people not being able to make it, we had to cut back on our menu. This left us with a lot of extra ingredients and nothing to do with them. Not one to waste food I gathered up what I felt would be useful and headed home to rest up and cook the next day. What I had to work with once I got home were a lot of Portabella Mushrooms some red peppers, an onion, and a few carrots. I was thinking maybe another mushroom soup, but after some research I found that there are not that many things you can do with a Portabella Mushroom. I like the idea of using carrots for different things and I will be doing more with them in the future. Alas like all of us out there the time came to stop thinking about it and start cooking because I was HUNGRY.
So I decided on a Portabella Mushroom, mixed vegetable saute with cooked shrimp served in a light Vodka sauce.
Here are the ingredients I used for this weeks recipe
- about 2 cups fresh Portabella Mushrooms
- half a yellow onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 to 2 red peppers
- ½ pound of shrimp
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons rosemary and garlic herbs
- 1 tablespoon basil
- about 12 oz of vodka sauce
- 1 cup penne pasta
- some dice tomatoes
Start by washing off the vegetables. Especially the mushrooms as they tend to have a little more dirt on them. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop up the caps in to large chunks. Once that’s done set it aside and cut up your onion, carrot and red peppers. Since Carrots are somewhat hard or tough make sure to cut them down into thin strips so they will cook in the same time as the other vegetables.
Remember to put your onion in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting it up to avoid getting tears in your eyes. Finally remove all the seeds from the red peppers and cut into strips. Once all the vegetables are cut take your ½ pound of shrimp and place in a bowl of warm water to thaw them out. Heat a large saute pan under med high heat and melt down the 3 tablespoons of butter. Once that is done add the yellow onion and saute till somewhat soft.
Next add your carrot and let it cook in the butter and onion for about 5 minutes, again since they are tougher they need a little more time to soften up. Next add the red pepper and let saute for another 5 minutes. Check your shrimp and if they are close to being thawed you can add in your diced tomatoes and half of your chopped Portabella mushrooms.
Now all the vegetables have moisture trapped inside them and mushrooms as well have a tremendous amount of water in them. This liquid will escape and make a great tasting dark base that I decided to drain off real quick and save for later.
About this time boil some water and start preparing your penne noddles. Only let the noddles cook for about 4 minutes in the water. Test to see if they are a few minutes before being done and replace the water with the broth that you drained off from the vegetables earlier. This will give the noddles an added layer of flavor as they will absorb the sweetness of the onions and carrots along with the meatiness of the mushrooms.
While the noddles are finishing up add your shrimp and keep the saute moving. The shrimp should cook relatively quickly and once you see them start to turn you can add in the 12 oz of Vodka sauce. This particular sauce is very different then typical marinara sauce. It is creamy with strong flavor of cheese, and the infusion of vodka will have brought out some other flavors in the tomatoes. It is an acquired taste and for that reason I elected to not add in a whole bottle but rather add a little at a time till I got the taste that I liked. I suggest you do the same as everyone’s pallet is different.
Stir in the Vodka sauce a few times and add in your basil, rosemary, garlic, and the last bit of Portabella mushrooms that you have. The mushrooms cook down very quickly so that is why we wanted to add a little at the start and the rest at the end.
Check your noddles and once they are done separate and drain form your broth. Finally mix with your saute and there you go.
What I can say about this dish more then other in the past is it deals with what The Common Chef is all about to me. I really didn’t know where to go with this recipe so I just had to use what I had and let my instincts take over. It’s another example of how food and cooking can be therapeutic in a way. This meal allowed me to open up my senses and use them to guide myself through it. Taste,smell two very important tools that we have lost touch with in our modern society. So when you cook make sure you take time to taste your recipe and ingredients as your prepare. Smell the aromas as they mingle together in your pots and pans. If it doesn’t smell good chances are it will not taste good to you either.
Well I hope you enjoyed this weeks recipe and remember that you can always improve on it and let me know by posting on my blog.
Feed you next time!