Cooking For Two - Chef Jeanne Raffeto-Tentis

PORK CHOPS w/ RED WINE REDUCTION SAUCE                             

Serves 2
2 pork chops, boneless
Wondra flour for dusting
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
½  c dry red wine
1/8  c chicken stock
1-2sprigs fresh thyme + more for garnish
1 T unsalted butter

Rinse pork chops and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper on both sides and then dust lightly on both sides with Wondra flour.
Heat oil in large sauté pan until very hot but not smoking.

Sear chops o n both sides and then lower heat and cook until done or internal temperature is 145degrees, time will vary according to thickness.  Do not overcook. 
Remove from pan and keep warm.
Pour off excess oil if necessary, leaving 1 T.
Deglaze pan with ¼ c red wine making sure you loosen browned bits from the bottom. 
Add remainder of wine, thyme sprigs and stock and cook briskly until sauce is reduced and starting to thicken.  Remove thyme, remove from heat and whisk in butter.
Spoon or drizzle sauce onto plate and place chop on top.  Garnish w/ thyme.

Serves 4 (for 2, just cut recipe ingredients in half)
2lb. salmon fillets, skin on
4 T toasted  black and white sesame seeds
1 T vegetable oil
2 t toasted sesame oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Rinse fillets in cold water and pat with paper towels to dry.  Light brush both sides with oil.  Season generously with salt and pepper. 
Place toasted seeds in a shallow bowl and press skinless side of fillet into the seeds.  Using your hands, press the seeds into the fish until they stick.
Smear the base of a heavy frying pan with the vegetable oil and heat until smoking.
Place fillets, seed side down into the hot pan and sear for a couple of minutes or until golden brown. 
Carefully turn and cook on other side for a couple more minutes.
Drizzle lightly with sesame oil before serving.  
Note:  Salmon can be eaten medium rare and is preferred this way by many fish experts.  Cooking to this temperature keeps the salmon moist and full of its natural flavor.  If this appeals to you, adjust the cooking by searing on seed side and then taking pan off the heat after fish is turned.  Let it stand for a few minutes and then serve.

TUSCAN CHICKEN PASTA                                                                      

 Serves 2
4 oz penne pasta
8 oz. boneless chicken breast, pounded to ¼-inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
1T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
½ t dried rosemary or 1 T fresh, chopped fine
1 c cannelloni beans (canned), drained and rinsed
2T roasted red peppers, diced
4 c baby spinach leaves
2T Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken on each side with salt and pepper.  Sear it in half of the oil in a skillet over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes a side.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add the remaining oil, garlic, rosemary, beans, red pepper and spinach to the skillet.  Cook, turning frequently, until the spinach wilts (1-2 minutes).
Slice the chicken and drain the pasta; toss them with the bean mixture.  Spoon the pasta into two bowls and top each with 1T of Parmesan cheese.


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