Tag Archives: parmesan

Brooklyn Eats: Nostro Ristorante

Location: Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn

Cuisine: Napoli-style Italian food; rustic feel; fresh pasta

My husband and I got married in March of 2015. I am a teacher/special education coach and my husband is an accountant, therefore we don’t have many times to go away, let alone a lot vacation like a honeymoon. During this summer in particular, I embarked on a 5-week intensive for an administrative program called LEAP and met some of the most incredible humans that are still my close friends to this day. This only gave us a smaller window for our vacation, August. Where the hell were we going to go in August? Oh wait, Italy sounds like a good idea. We had the time of our lives: eating so much fresh pasta, pizza, drinking loads of vino rosso and enjoying the sights. Our love for Italian cuisine only grew from our 2 weeks of Italian bliss.

Tuscany, Florence

Two years later, our love of Italian food holds strong; it’s probably my go-to when cooking and creating recipes, as well as our order-in cuisine. We stumbled upon a restaurant maybe seven months after it opened, literally up the block from our apartment. We decided to give it a try after hearing raving reviews from our neighbors. We were immediately blown away. Our hearts were singing, our bellies dancing, and quickly became friends with the owner, Romena. Each table is served fresh focaccia bread as guests impatiently wait for their food to be served, and can take in the scenery of the beautiful pictures of Italy around the restaurant.

Since trying this restaurant in 2017, we have gone back more times than we can count, even more so when I “forget to take out chicken to make for dinner.” I have tried almost everything on the menu, and still have more to go. Of course, there are some staples and my favorite items that I’ll share here.

This calamari is some of the crispiest, most delicious serving I have ever had. Ever. Served with cocktail sauce and hot peppers, this is a must as an appetizer. Heck, order two.

Polipo, or Portuguese charred octopus. I must say, I was hesitant when I first ordered, but DAMN does this rock. Tender, juicy, and healthy!

Crostini Burrata: literally heaven on a serving board. Four slices of crostini smothered with pesto, roasted red peppers, topped with the most insanely tasteful burrata. Your taste buds will thank you.

Chicken parmesan: I know, this is nothing fancy; however, this chick parm is cooked to perfection. Tender, perfectly sauced, and oozing with cheese. Pair with pasta, sautéed kale, or with veggies. So. Many. Options.

Fettuccini Amore: Guys, no joke, I ate 3x slower when I had this dish. Squid ink fettuccini tossed with fresh lobster and shrimp, smothered in a pink cream sauce and garlic. MIND BLOWN!

For those who prefer lighter options, like myself 85% of the time, they have delicious vegetable sides, like this mixed veg. Seasonal and available vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic, presented in the most precious cup of awesomeness. This actually goes well with anything, so just order it because I say so.

Eggplant parmesan: You can never go wrong with an eggplant parm. Perfectly tender eggplant slices, layered with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It’s on another level. Fo sho.

Phew, now that I am officially starving again, BRB, about to go get me some amore and mixed veg. If you’re in Brooklyn, or even if you’re just looking for quality eats at affordable pricing (also, this place was originally BYOB, but does have wine available too), this is THE place to visit. Buon appetito!

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Since the beginning of the year, I have tried to be incredibly resourceful when it comes to leftover items in the fridge. I know there are instances where this is hard to do as some condiments or produce go rancid and can’t be salvaged. However, when these items are in their “sweet spot” (just before going bad but still smells okay) I love making things to use the rest of it up! Tonight’s dinner was a perfect example: using last bits of heavy cream and parmesan to make a creamy parmesan dinner with chicken and rice.

Instead of using plain water to boil the rice, I opted for bone broth because if I’m going to have starch, I may as well use bone broth (actually, chicken mushroom bone broth) for the added benefit #amirite? I seasoned the chicken first with some salt and pepper and added it to a hot pan with EVOO. This cooked until both sides were not pink. Afterwards I seasoned with garlic powder, minced garlic, oregano, and fresh thyme sprigs.

Once the chicken cooked through, I poured in the rice and chicken bone broth. This cooked for a total of 18 minutes, but halfway through, I added 3/4 cup water because I noticed that the rice absorbed most of the liquid already. At around 3 minutes before the chicken/rice finished cooking, I added in the heavy cream and parmesan (grated) and stirred together.

Serve with more fresh thyme, a dollop of sour cream or like we did, a side of charred broccoli, which can be found here! This was a dish that I had seen done before, but wanted to make it my own. Here is this version, and damn is it tasty! NOMaste 🙂

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword cheesy, Chicken, garlic, Hearty, parmesan, quick meals, rice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken breasts Diced
  • 1/5 cups Rice white
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 pint Chicken stock or bone broth
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil extra virgin
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add in diced pieces of chicken on medium heat.  Let sear on each side until each piece is no longer pink.  

  2. Add in seasonings (garlic, minced garlic, oregano, thyme) and stir.

  3. Pour in rice and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for 18 minutes on low flame.

  4. Halfway through, check and see if the rice may absorb a lot of the liquid; add in 3/4 cup water and stir.  Continue to simmer with lid on.

  5. Three minutes before timer is up, add in heavy cream/half n half and parmesan cheese.  Stir to combine ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Pesto

Brrrrr, is it cold today in NYC. The wind is howling, the trees look depressed, and my dog had to get a shot. It’s Sunday, and Sunday is for meal prep. I did a lot of cooking, errands, cleaning, food shopping, and prepping foods for my first week on my new reset; I enjoyed every second. Last night, I had a few friends over for a dinner party, and purchased a carton of basil. A concern I have with basil is, it either gets used, or it doesn’t and goes rotten. I am vowing this year to be more cognizant of the foods in our fridge and do weekly “clean out” meals… so tonight is no exception. Hence, the pesto.

Pesto is a blend of herbs, oils, fats, and of course, basil, as it’s principle ingredient. Nowadays, people toy around with varieties of pesto including spinach pesto, kale pesto, walnut asiago pesto; the list is endless. I’m a traditionalist with a lot of recipes (unless I am making things healthier, hence cassava instead of breadcrumb), and pesto is one that I stick to the basics: garlic, basil, olive oil, and grated parmesan cheese.

I have to admit, I’m biased to pesto because I love the color green, and I also really appreciate the taste and aromas of garlic. Garlic is incredibly powerful and nutritious: it helps with heart disease, cholesterol levels, and is a great brain food too! Basil is one of those ingredients you can never go wrong with as well. To start, I pulled apart 3-4 bushels of basil and ripped the leaves into smaller seconds. I placed these pieces into a small food processor. Then I added in the parmesan (I’d say about 1/3 cup of cheese). I pulsed the processor until the cheese and basil combined and became a rice mixture.

Next, I added in the olive oil. BE GENEROUS HERE. First of all, olive oil is one of the most healthiest things to cook with and eat. If you haven’t already, please watch SALT.FAT.ACID.HEAT on Netflix, the FAT episode talks all about olive oil and its properties. I added the oil and blended in the processor until the consistently became smoother. My last step was to add the minced garlic. I used only two cloves and this was plenty. Pulse the mixture again, and you may need to add more cheese, a touch more oil, etc. until the consistency is to your liking. Me? I like pesto be on the thicker, chunkier side.

Pesto is most often tossed with pasta (show here with organic brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s), but can be added to fish, chicken, on top of lamb skewers, or on bruschetta toast. Enjoy and NOMaste 🙂

Tuscan Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

When you think of creamy, cheesy, rich foods, what comes to mind?  I immediately think of a thick cream sauce or a buttery garlic sauce.  Tuscan chicken does a beautiful job of combining strong ingredients and melding them together to create this perfectly decadent sauce to go atop seared chicken.  Of course, throwing a vegetable in like spinach, basil, and sweet roasted peppers only enhances the dish.  This was my FIRST time making this, and I must say, I can’t wait to try this sauce over other proteins soon!IMG_0380.JPG

In preparing for this meal, I had to really think about what makes a creamy sauce, creamy.  Of course, I immediately jumped to heavy cream and cheese.  This is a very traditional way of making a “tuscan” creamy sauce by combining all the dairy components together, simmering on low, and layering it on top of pan seared chicken.  That is exactly what I did.  I started by taking chicken breasts and seasoning them with a generous amount of salt, pepper, and oregano.  I say generous because when chicken breasts cook, they tend to lose all the tenderness, so over-seasoning can capture the juices and make this particular cut of chicken tender and tasty! I heated a pan and then added in some avocado oil (has a higher smoke point and makes food taste badass) and began to pan sear the chicken.  Each side cooked for approximately 4-5 minutes, the chicken will finish cooking when added to the cream sauce.

For the cream sauce, I started with wilting some fresh spinach in 2 tablespoons of butter.  Once the spinach became soft and dark green, I  poured in the heavy cream and parmesan, stirring and letting the sauce bubble.  Once the liquid started to reduce, I added in sweet roasted red peppers and some sprigs of basil.  I mixed it altogether and sprinkled in n some salt and pepper.  Lastly, I added back the chicken and let the entire dish simmer for a few minutes (around 5-7m).

Served with some mashed potatoes, or homemade fries, maybe some brussel sprouts, and you’ve got yourself an awesome sauce (haha, get it?) meal!  Nomaste 🙂

Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Roasted Peppers

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Comfort, Italian
Keyword Chicken, creamy, parmesan, red peppers, spinach, tuscan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg chicken breasts can buy thin sliced already if desired
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan grated
  • 1 pkg fresh spinach
  • basil leaves
  • 2 halves sweet roasted red peppers from a jar, can slice them
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano

Instructions

  1. Clean and prep chicken breasts (either filet them or pat dry the already filed breasts).  Season with salt, pepper, oregano on both sides.

  2. Heat a large pan on medium, add avocado oil and let coat bottom of pan.  Add in chicken.  Sear on each side for 4-5 minutes until sides are browned. Taken chicken out and set aside.

  3. In the same pan, add the tbsp of butter and melt.  Add in fresh spinach and cook until leaves are wilted. Pour in heavy cream and parmesan cheese.  Mix together and let come to a gentle boil (soft bubbles form).  Simmer on low.

  4. Add in basil and roasted red peppers.  Stir together.  Place chicken into cream sauce and ladle sauce on top of the chicken.  Let simmer for 5-7 minutes.

  5. Serve with favorite side of potatoes, with rice, or simply roasted veggies.