Braised Chicken Arrabbiata

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It’s been busy over here the last few months but last night I was able to get back into the kitchen and make something new. This is a spicy Italian chicken dish that is quite fun to put together. I chose to serve it over polenta but it would also work over pasta. Give it a try and stay tuned for more posts. Smartchef Blog is back up and running!

Braised Chicken Arrabbiata

Polenta

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Mussels Marinara

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Last night I decided to mess around and attempt to make one of my favorite appetizers, mussels marinara. Now I like my marinara sauce on the spicier side so I added jalapeno peppers to this batch. However if I were to make it again I would use Italian hot peppers instead of jalapenos. All in all the recipe was very simple to follow. Before cooking the mussels be sure to submerge them in ice water for a few minutes to get rid of any dead ones. After cooking them be sure to throw out any mussels that have not opened. You can serve this over pasta or use bread to dip into the sauce. Enjoy!

Mussels Marinara

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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This is a classic Italian seafood recipe. I modeled this sauce after the base of the vodka cream sauce. The first few steps are just the same. You add the onion to pan; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add Garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.

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Then you add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, and wine and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the wine is reduced by about half.

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Then stir in 1 teaspoon salt, shellfish stock, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 8 minutes.

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Finally add Shrimp and cover sauce. Cook shrimp for 5-6 minutes or until done. By cooking the shrimp in the sauce you infuse more shrimp flavor into it.

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Pour sauce and shrimp over cooked paste and garnish with basil. This is an easy simple recipe so give it a try. Enjoy!

Shrimp Scampi

shrimp scampi

Today I made my take on shrimp scampi. While most scampi’s use a lot of butter, I tried my best to make this dish as healthy as I could. I only used 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  The crushed red pepper gave the dish a it of heat but was not overwhelming. This is a very simple, quick, and easy to prepare dinner that is perfect if you are short on time.

Shrimp Scampi

Penne Pasta in a Vodka Cream Sauce

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Tonight I am posting my signature recipe. I have been making this dish for 4 years now and have tweaked it many times to get it to where it is now. The sauce is surprisingly healthy for a vodka cream sauce and only uses 1/2 cup of heavy cream. The addition of the crushed red pepper gives the sauce a subtle heat. You can modify the protein you want to use in this dish. I tend to make it with crab meat. If you use crab meat add it at the end right before you mix the sauce with the pasta. If you use an Italian ham like pancetta or prosciutto saute it with the onions in the beginning to get their flavor infused throughout the sauce. I highly recommend trying this dish. Like I said at the start of this entry this is my go to signature dish and is very special to me, I make it the night before I have a big race or other athletic event. I hope you enjoy it!

UPDATE: I added step by step pictures to go along with the recipe.

Penne Pasta in a Vodka Cream Sauce