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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Get in my Belly! Spezzatino & Bruschetta

My husband and daughter saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on Food Network over the weekend. I was a bit skeptical - I had never heard of Spezzatino before (or even how to pronounce it) - but anything served with cheesy bruschetta can't be bad. So off to the store I went to pick up a few things I didn't have on hand (fontina, cannellini beans, frozen artichoke hearts, & ciabatta loaf). Thankfully we live super close to a fab gourmet (and over priced) market.

These recipes were Super easy and totally edible! Even my kids LOVED it. (Okay - Maddie picked the greens off her bruschetta). Will definitely add this to my repertoire! (hubby snapped a few pictures with his phone!)

Chicken, Artichoke and Cannellini Bean Spezzatino

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 (4-ounce) piece pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
* 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
* 1 onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, halved
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
* 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken stock
* 1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 skinless chicken breasts with rib meat (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
* 12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
* 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Directions

In a heavy 5 or 6 quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, basil, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf. Add the chicken and press down to submerge. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, turning the chicken over and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the artichokes and the cannellini beans and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has reduced slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken and let cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes until warmed through. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season the spezzatino with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the spezzatino into bowls and garnish with the cooked pancetta.

Bruschetta with Fontina and Greens

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
Toasts:

* 1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta bread, trimmed and cut into 14 (1/2-inch thick) slices
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
* 1 garlic clove, halved

Topping:

* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 12 ounces (12 cups) baby spinach
* Kosher salt
* 2 cups (4 ounces) shredded fontina cheese

Directions

For the toasts: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts with the cut side of the garlic. Set aside.

For the topping: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 of the spinach and stir until it begins to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Using tongs, arrange the spinach on top of the toasts. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 5 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Season with salt and cool for 2 minutes.

Transfer the bruschetta to a platter and serve.

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