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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Guilty Pleasure? Nope!

I am not overly apologetic about my love for veal.  I simply like the way the tender white milky meat tastes and feels in my mouth.  That said, I am a symphathetic cook who desires to please my guests.    I have a friend who loves to collect little stuffed lambs.  Cute little furry happy lambs.  I do not serve lamb chops when she comes to dinner.  I have another dear friend who is vehemently opposed to veal....vehemently.  I do not serve Osso Buco or any veal dish when she is coming over.

Now, in the enclave of our home, forbidden protein does not exist.  I will happily cook with it, and enthusiatically eat it.

Last night, I made Veal Marsala over tagliarelle pasta.  Normally, I would make the pasta because I believe in doing so..  But, on occasion Michael will spend some hefty dollar amounts for beautiful imported pasta.  Which, to my delight, was the case last night. Ciprihana Semolina Taggliarelle Pasta, from Venice.  They serve this pasta at Harry's Bar in Venice and at every location world-wide.  It is the closest thing to fresh pasta I have ever tasted.  The perfect mouth-feel. Since Michael bought the pasta, he was in charge of cooking it to perfection.  Delegation; and any foreseeable failure averted.

I dredged two veal cutlets in egg wash and bread crumbs, pan-fried them in an olive oil & butter combination. (For flavor and smoke point).  Grated some aged fontina cheese over the top and placed them in a warm oven to let the cheeze ooze over the crisp edges of the scallapini.  This is not traditional, but it is tasty.

In the same pan, I added blanched pearl onions for thier glisten and shape, sliced crimini mushrooms, slivers of seeded roma tomatoes for a bit of acidity, sliced green peppers for crunch, and minced parsley for color and freshness. (Tomatoes & peppers not traditonal, but...) After everything was carmalized and a bit al dente, I deglazed the pan with marsala wine, a sweet smokey fortified wine from Sicily. (Delazing picks up all the fond that sticks to the bottom of the pan, and becomes part of the flavor in the sauce.)  I let the wine simmer away until it reduced by half, concentrating the flavor.  Added a couple of pats of French Plugra butter for a glossy finish and flavor. 

The tagliarelle pasta was ladled and twirled into large pasta bowls.  I placed the melted fontina coated veal cutlets on top of the pasta and drizzled the marsala reduction and vegetables over the entire thing.  Cracked Tellicherry black pepper & fleur de sel to finish.

It was totally delicious.  The pasta was velvety and toothy, very light.  A perfect nest for the almost transparent  buttery marsala reduction.  The vegetables still a bit crisp, each retaining their flavor and texture.  And the veal? Perfection.   Crisp to the bite, soft, white silkiness on the inside, and porous enough to absorb the sauce.

Guiltless Pleasures should always be encouraged.

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