I hosted most of the girls at my house for this menu and some wine that paired really well with the Cacao bar that Teresa brought for us to snack on afterward. The girls liked the wine (Red Roan by Tagaris Winery) so much that I had my mother-in-law pick us up a case to split between us all. It is half off on Wednesdays (only $13)...how can you pass that up? Thanks Jane - you're the BEST! :) Tagaris is my husband and my new favorite winery in TriCities. They have amazing food as well as a few award winning wines. I signed up for my first wine club...just today actually. I already get milk & organic produce delivered...why not wine a few times a year too? I highly suggest checking them out next time you're over in TriCities. www.tagariswines.com
Ok, back to our menu. Browning butter - It's an easy way to take a recipe that calls for butter up a notch in flavor and complexity. Just by cooking the butter a few minutes past the melting point results in the milk solids in the butter browning, and creating a wonderfully nutty aroma. It's fun to do with butter-based sauces, baked goods that call for melted butter, or with pastas such as the dinner I made for the girls on this particular Thursday night. Just be sure to keep your eye on it while cooking...it's pretty easy to go from browned to burnt. Directions below. It should look like this once it's done...
1 Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the butter (sliced so that the butter melts more evenly) whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter.
2 Once melted the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Watch carefully as lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan (after approximately 5 mins). The butter should have a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and place on a cool surface to help stop the butter from cooking further and perhaps burning.
Use browned butter immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for future use. I always make more than I anticipate on using for dinner. It's so nice to have it stored away in the fridge for my next craving.
(photo courtesy of lifesabrosia.com)
I served spaghetti noodles with a choice of toppings: chicken, garlic sautéed mushrooms, fresh basil, red pepper flakes & the show stopper cheese....MYZITHRA! The combo of this cheese with the browned butter could be compared to...well, wine & chocolate is the first thing to come to mind. I served it with a spinach salad with crimini mushrooms, red peppers and our favorite Uncle Dan's Ranch Dressing. Also with streamed broccoli with...you guessed it, more browned butter and Myzithra. If you've been to The Old Spaghetti Factory before it's easy to tell where this menu was born. I really only modified it with the choice of toppings. I love recipes that are easy to customize...they're great for picky kids. Oh, wait, no...it's me that's picky.
Hope you enjoy this one!