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Second Helpings From Union Square Cafe

Chef Michael Romano
Co-Author of "Second Helpings From Union Square Cafe"
Executive Chef at Union Square Cafe

Menu:
Butternut Squash and Bean Soup
Chicken Saltimbocca with Sauteed Spinach
Butterscotch Pudding

The following recipes are from the cookbook "Second Helpings From Union Square Cafe" published by Harper Collins 2001.

Butternut Squash and Bean Soup
Serves 8 to 10

1 pound dried borlotti (cranberry or October) beans
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced (1/2-inch onion)
1 cup diced (1/2-inch) carrots
1 cup sliced celery (stalks cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/2-inch slices)
1 cup diced (1/2-inch) parsnip
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 firmly packed tablespoons sliced fresh sage leaves
3 cups peeled and diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey

Method:
1. Soak the beans overnight or for at least 6 hours in enough cold water to cover. Drain and transfer to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until almost tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and cook 10 more minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large second large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, garlic, and sage. Cook until the vegetables have softened but not colored which is about 10 minutes. Add the squash and cook for 10 more minutes. Season with the remaining tablespoon of salt and the black and Aleppo peppers. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Spoon 1 cup of the cooked beans along with 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid into a blender and puree until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the pan with the vegetables. Add the whole beans with their cooking liquid, the bay leaves, and honey, and simmer until the vegetables are completely tender, about 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.

4. Serve the soup in warm bowls.

Chicken Saltimbocca
Serves 4

1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut and pounded into 12 thin cutlets
12 fresh sage leaves
6 paper-thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half crosswise
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, halved

Method:
1. Top each chicken cutlet with 1 sage leaf and cover with a half slice of prosciutto. Lightly press the prosciutto to adhere it to the chicken.
2. In a shallow mixing bowl, stir together the cheese and flour and set aside.
3. Use a fork to beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small bowl.
4. Preheat the oven to 200-degrees.
5.Sprinkle the cutlets lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
6. Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil in a medium or large heavy-bottomed skillet until almost smoking. Dredge 3 or 4 chicken cutlets in the flour mixture (depending on how many will fit in the pan), pressing the mixture into the cutlets to completely coat. Dip each floured cutlet into the egg mixture, lift out with your fingers, and allow the excess egg to dip off. Immediately place in the hot pan. Saute until golden brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked cutlets to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in the oven.
7.Place 3 cutlets on each of 4 plates and serve immediately, garnished with lemon halves.

Spinach:
2 pounds fresh spinach
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, quartered

1. Remove the stems from the spinach leaves. Discard any leaves that are discolored or tough. Soak the spinach in a large bowl of cold water, stirring to dislodge sand and grit. Change the water at least three times to ensure that the spinach is absolutely clean. (With each change of water, lift the spinach out of the bowl with your hands rather than draining the water into a colander. That way you won't pour the sandy water back onto the spinach.) Thoroughly dry the spinach in a salad spinner or on paper towels.
2. Spear the clove of garlic with the prongs of a dinner fork. Over a high flame, heat the olive oil in a skillet or saucepan large enough to accomodate all the spinach. Add the spinach and stir quickly and constantly with the garlic-stuck fork. Continue to cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Cook, stirring, 1 or 2 minutes longer, until the spinach is tender. Sere either hot or at room temperature, in the Italian style. Serve with a generous squeeze of lemon at the last moment.

Butterscotch Pudding with Brown Sugar Sauce
Serves 8 to 10

Butterscotch Pudding
2 1/2 cups milk
1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
1 packed cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
8 egg yolks
4 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
3 tablespoons Scotch whiskey

Brown Sugar Sauce
1 packed cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

1. In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan, stir together 2 cups of the milk, the evaporated milk, and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and reserve.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, stirring to break up any lumps. Stir in the egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, whisking until smooth and well blended. Pour into the pan of hot milk and whisk vigorously to blend.

3. Place the pan over medium heat and whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as a few large bubbles burst through the thick pudding, turn off the heat. Whisk in the butter and then the whiskey and continue whisking until thoroughly incorporated.

4. Pour the pudding through a fine strainer into a heatproof glass serving dish or bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate the pudding for 2 to 3 hours, until completely cool and set.

5. While the pudding chills, make the sauce: stir the brown sugar and water together in a heavy 2-quart pan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the syrup for 2 to 3 minutes at a vigorous boil, until it has thickened slightly and starts to caramelize on the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the heavy cream; then return to a boil, whisking. Continue to cook for 5 minutes at a steady boil, lowering the heat slightly if the sauce bubbles too high in the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Set aside.

6. To serve, spoon the pudding into chilled dessert bowls or parfait glasses, swirl a bit of the brown sugar sauce onto each pudding.
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