Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Dinner for One

I love to celebrate holidays. Not a celebration in a party or anything like that. But with the food! So this Valentine's Day I decided to take some suggestions from the February/March 2007 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. Apparently this magazine has been around for about five years but I have never seen it before. I'm glad I saw it this time because I really like it. There are TONS of interesting tips and of course plenty of recipes.

There is a special section in this issue dedicated to making the perfect rice pilaf. I am a big Rice-A-Roni girl because it is so easy and tastes to good. But actually making my own . . . very intriguing! There are four pilaf recipes but I decided to go with Rice Pilaf with Sage, Parmigiano & Prosciutto. It was perfect because I had some sage leftover from the sauteed chicken I made last week. I think sage is becoming my favorite herb because each time I use it I find another combo of flavors it goes with. It tasted good but it smelled great! I want to buy a candle to burn in my house with the smell of the sage, butter, garlic and shallots.

While I enjoyed the rice pilaf and could have made a meal out of it, the main treat for my dinner was the lamb chops. Lamb Chops with Lemon, Thyme & Mustard Butter was the simplest way to make lamb chops elegant that I have ever prepared. Simply make a fancy butter the put some on top of broiled lamb chops! It was super flavorful. I am not a big lemon fan and this sauce had just the perfect lemon flavor without it being overpowering.

Rice Pilaf with Sage, Parmigiano & Prosciutto
Serves 6 to 8

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. very thinly sliced prosciutto
    (about 5 slices), cut crosswise
    into 1-inch-wide strips
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely
    grated on the large holes of
    box grater (about 2/3 cup)

In a 3-qt. heavy-based saucepan with a tight lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cool half the prosciutto in the hot oil, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto.

Add 2 Tbs. of the butter to the pan and reduce the heat to low. When the butter had melted, add 2 Tbs. of the sage and cook for a few seconds, and then add the garlic and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and salt and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 minutes, stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 minutes is up, but keep going).

Add the wine, stir well, and cook over medium heat until the wine is mostly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, stir once, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, still covered, for 5 minutes.

Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into several pieces and, using the fork, gently fold it into the rice with the remaining 1 Tbs. sage, the Parmigiano, and the cooked prosciutto. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.


Meeta said...

Rachel, that looks truly incredible and delicious. The pilaf does sound good but what's really getting me drooling is that lamb!

Kalyn said...

It does sound like a fabulous pilaf recipe. I love that magazine!

Kristen said...

That looks so good! Hope you had a great Valentine's day!

Anonymous said...

nice blog. I am new to the blogging world... but intend on making a splash... keep on cooking up a storm!

Susan said...

I'm with you--I love sage. Your dish looks wonderful.

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