The Geek Girl is in the house, and she’s cooking. I am wholly grateful to a summer of no grad school classes so that I can indulge my newfound love of cooking. See, when an obstinate girl like myself is told that she’ll starve because her ex is leaving (and he was the one who loved and did all the cooking before), it’s the same as throwing down the gauntlet. The challenge was issued in 2009, and here I am now with more cooking and recipes under my belt than ever dreamed of. So I thought to myself this semester, why not start a blog to celebrate this rise to the challenge? After all, I’ve been posting pictures of my cooking on my Facebook and Live journal already, so now I’ll expand it.
The first recipe I’m posting is from last night. I decided that I wanted to make a kickass Mother’s Day dinner for my roommate and myself because we’re awesome momma’s of two four-leggeds. It was stuffed and baked pasta shells in a parma rosa sauce with lightly breaded Italian breadcrumb pan-fried chicken, tomato slices in basil vinagrette and garlic bread. For dessert, we had chocolate covere strawberries, but I didn’t make those. We bought them at HEB (the same with the garlic bread, which we bought at Whole Foods in Austin and I just heated up).
First off, I purchased ricotta and the HEB brand of the Italian cheese blend. You could just use mozzarella, too. Now, I prefer the whole milk ricotta, and I prefer this brand because it’s not as gross and grainy as some ricotta that I’ve had. Now, I just made 12 shells for my roommate and me, so I took half of the ricotta and put it into a mixing bowl with one egg. Mix together until it’s smooth and creamy. Add in spices. I used cracked sea salt, cracked black pepper, several pinches of basil, parsley and fennel. After that, I added in a couple of handfuls of the grated Italian cheese.
I boiled the shells in lightly salted water until they were just under al dente then drained them until all of the water was off.
Now, the way I initially learned to make a parma rosa sauce was to mix part of a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce with a portion of a jar of an alfredo sauce. So this is what I did. I will one day make my own entirely from scratch.
Next, I filled the shells with the cheese mixture and put them into the baking dish that I lightly brushed with olive oil. Cover them with the parma rosa sauce then top with the remaining grated cheese. Put into the oven at 350° for 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and starting to get a wee bit brown and crispy.
As far as the chicken goes, you want to cut off all the fat. If they’re thicker breasts, you pound them out until they’re flat so that they’ll cook more evenly all the way through. Put them through an egg wash then coat in Italian breadcrumbs. Then add a little EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil) into a pan and heat until it’s very hot. Put the chicken in and pan-fry until they’re crispy and yum. Take out of the pan and set onto a paper plate with paper towels to let the oil drain off.
Of course, the drink is your choice, but last night, the Roommate and I enjoyed glasses of this wine that we purchased at Whole Foods, and it was very tasty.
And finally plate up your meal and enjoy!