Wednesday, March 26, 2003

David Falk's recipe

With this recipe, chef David Falk demonstrates risotto can be made with pasta instead of rice. Pureeing half of the risotto gives it a more creamy texture.

Grilled Salmon with Cremini-Spinach-Asparagus "Risotto di Penne" and Anchovy-Wine-Garlic Emulsion


1/2 pound dried penne pasta


Olive oil

1 pound fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 pound cremini or other fresh mushrooms, brushed clean

2 bunches spinach, trimmed and washed

1/2 medium onion, diced

Up to 2 cups hot chicken stock

3/4 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped garlic

5 anchovy fillets chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Leaves from a dozen sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups dry white wine

Cornstarch slurry (1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved

in 2 tablespoons cold water)

1/4 pound butter, diced

1 pound salmon, cut into thick fillets

Bring large pot of water to boil, add generous amount of salt and boil penne about 4 minutes, Drain pasta and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking. When cool enough to handle, dice penne finely and set aside.

Blanch asparagus in salted water about 2 minutes. Drain and dunk asparagus into ice water to stop cooking. Drain asparagus and chop finely, reserving 12 whole spears for garnish. Set aside.

Stem mushrooms and cut into quarters. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan over medium-high heat. When butter turns brown, add sliced mushrooms and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper and set aside.

Add a little olive oil to open pan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir spinach until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and chop finely. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Saute onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat until soft, about 12 minutes. Add diced penne and 1 cup hot chicken stock. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring constantly, until pasta absorbs stock. Add another 1/2 cup stock, the sauteed diced asparagus, mushrooms and spinach.

Stir and simmer until most of stock is absorbed. Add grated Parmesan and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir to melt butter. Remove half of penne risotto from pan and puree in a processor. Returned pureed mixture to pan with remaining risotto. If risotto seems too thick, add another 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover and set aside to keep warm.

To make emulsion, saute chopped garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil with chopped anchovy fillets, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook for about 6 minutes. Add thyme leaves and cook another 3 minutes. Add wine and continue to simmer, uncovered, until most of wine has evaporated. Puree mixture finely in processor and return to pan. (This can be done up to several hours in advance.)

Just before serving, stir 1 teaspoon of cornstarch slurry into warm garlic-anchovy mixture and whip in butter pieces until mixture thickens and emulsifies. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Salt and pepper salmon to taste and cook over medium-high heat to medium-rare or desired doneness.

To serve, spoon portion of risotto in center of each plate and garnish with three asparagus spears. Place salmon on plate and drizzle all with emulsion. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Chef Falk says you can make traditional risotto using arborio rice in this recipe. Begin by sauteing the chopped onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft. Add 1 cup arborio rice and stir and cook until rice grains look chalky. Add 1 cup of hot chicken stock, stir and simmer until most of liquid evaporates. Continue to add stock in half-cup increments, using up to 4 cups over a 20 minute cooking period. During last 5 minutes of cooking, add chopped asparagus, spinach and mushrooms. When rice is barely al dente, stir in butter and grated Parmesan. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

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