01 December 2009

Winter Comfort Food from Chef Tyler Florence

From Denny: OK, I'm salivating if only a little... just finished watching this episode of Tyler's Ultimate for winter comfort food. Tyler's food is easy to do, simple and full of fresh flavors. He also has a knack for knowing what regular people want to enjoy on their plate!

This is a wonderful traditional recipe made with both pork and beef. The milk proteins help to break down and tenderize the meat.

Tagliatelle Bolognese

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
1 1/2 pound ground pork
1 1/2 pound ground beef
2 cups milk
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dry tagiatelle pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 handful fresh basil leaves
Fresh ricotta cheese


Reconstitute the mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender, drain and coarsely chop.

Puree the mushrooms, pancetta, onion, celery stalks, carrots, garlic, together in a blender.

In a heavy-bottomed pot add olive oil, bay leaves, herbs and cook gently until fragrant, then add vegetable puree and continue to cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Raise the heat a bit and add the ground pork and beef; brown until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, and wine and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Slowly simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then, until the sauce is very thick. Taste again for salt and pepper.

When you are ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al dente"). Drain the pasta well and toss with the Bolognese sauce.

Serve with a good scoop of fresh ricotta cheese and garnish with some shredded basil, grated Parmigiano and a drizzle of olive oil.

I was well impressed with this intriguing new twist for a beets recipe. Beets are wonderful roasted and roasting is just too easy and low maintenance in the oven while you are busy with the rest of the meal. What really appealed to me was the salad dressing he made for it with honey to bind the oil and balsamic vinegar. Then he added lemon and orange juices to sweeten and kick up the flavors. He even made his own croutons - a man after my own heart! :)

Winter Panzanella

Yield: 4 servings


2 bunches mixture red and gold baby beets
3 shallots
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs marjoram, thyme, and oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices pancetta, sliced into small pieces
1 log goat cheese, refrigerated
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into crouton-sized pieces
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 orange, juiced
1 handful dates
1 large handful arugula lettuce


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Take baby beets and cut them in half. Place on a long sheet of aluminum foil. Split shallots lengthwise, leaving them unpeeled, and add to foil. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, marjoram, thyme, and oregano leaves and season with salt and pepper. Fold foil into a packet and roast in oven until fork tender and nicely caramelized, about 30 minutes.

In saute pan, cook pancetta until crisp.

Meanwhile refrigerate goat cheese so it is easier to break up over the salad later.

Toss the bread chunks with 1⁄4 cup oil until the bread is wet with the oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake until the bread begins to brown, about 10 minutes.

While the bread is going, make the dressing. In a large mixing bowl, add the honey, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons oil, salt, pepper, and stir together. Add all the remaining ingredients except arugula and gently stir. Taste for seasoning. Remove beets and bread from oven, peel shallots, and add to bowl. Stir together and season with salt and pepper. Add pancetta and arugula.

OK, this one struck me right immediately. While I love pears poached in red wine it's often a hassle to find the perfect pears. What is always in our local grocery stores is the common green Bartlett pear. Little did I know you could cook with this juicy pear as I've always eaten it fresh.

This recipe is just too simple and packed with brown sugar flavor! He adds the fresh cranberries for color and taste which is great if you have a few left over from the holidays chilling in the freezer and trying to figure out how to use just a little bit in a recipe. Usually, I'm lukewarm on stewed fruit but a baked cobbler with this topping has me sold! :) This little gem of a recipe would be great for guests or a winter brunch too.

Pear Cobbler with Cranberry Streusel

Yield: 4 servings


4 Bartlett pears
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks
Unsalted butter, at room temperature, granulated and sugar, for the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel the pears and cut them in 1/2 through the stem end. Use a melon baller to scoop out the cores. Put the pear halves in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the vanilla; toss. Then sprinkle over the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss to coat the pears with the flavorings. Line the pears up in a buttered, sugared baking dish, rounded sides up.

In the same bowl, mash together the butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt with your hands for the topping. Toss in the cranberries. Crumble the topping mixture over the pears in the baking dish and bake until the topping is crunchy and browned and the pears are very tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

*** Thanks for visiting! Check out Richard Geres Bedford Inns Holiday Appetizer too. And if you are a blogger, be sure to copy these fun reindeer images - they are too fun!

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