Too Many Cooks? Not In His House

Chef Don Pintabona of Manhattan's Dani restaurant brought along his three children — Alex, 11; Daniela, 10; and Nicolas, 6 — for a special Father's Day edition of "Chef on a Shoestring" that features dishes with an Italian touch.

GRILLED OCTOPUS SALAD
(serves 4 people)

To Prepare the Octopus:
Poaching Liquid Ingredients
1 lb. octopus
1 gallon water
1 cup white wine (optional)
1 lemon cut in half
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 wine corks
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Add all liquid ingredients together in a large pot.
2. Juice the lemons above the pot and throw the rinds into the liquid.
3. Add the thyme and bay leaves.
4. Bring to boil.
5. Add octopus.
6. Reduce to simmer.
7. Cook until you can hold the octopus up by a tentacle and the skin (not the flesh) breaks.
8. Allow to cool in poaching liquid.
9. Cut octopus in half, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning, then grill until you have a nice char on the skin.
10. Cut into desired size pieces for the salad.

Salad
Ingredients
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 bunch baby or regular arugula
1 orange, peeled and segmented
20 gaeta olives
salt and pepper
1 recipes mint and orange vinaigrette, below

Method
1. Mix all greens together.
2. Drizzle with vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper.
3. Add diced octopus meat, orange segments and olives.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mint and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredients
juice of 2 oranges
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic very finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped mint
salt and pepper

Method
1. In a food processor, combine yolk, Dijon and garlic.
2. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil, start with one drop, at a time until an emulsification forms.
3. Once emulsification forms, oil can be added at a steady stream.
4. Add orange juice.
5. Remove the mixture from the food processor and put in a bowl. Mix in mint.
6. Season with salt and pepper.

CHICKEN SPIEDINI
(serves 4 people)

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (12-14 ounces each)
1/4 cup basil puree (basil leaves pureed until smooth)
10-12 sun dried tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
bamboo skewers (soaked in water)
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Remove the tenders from the chicken breast. With a long, thin-bladed sharp knife, butterfly each breast and set aside.
2. Place the breasts, one at a time, between two pieces of plastic wrap.
3. Using a mallet or a heavy-bottomed pot, pound out breasts to 1/8 inch thickness.
4. Lay out breasts; using a sharp knife, trim the outer edges if needed.
5. Season inside of breasts with salt and pepper.
6. Spread breast with basil puree. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a line down the center of each breast. Evenly distribute the bread crumbs and cheese among the breasts and dot with butter.
7. Roll each chicken breast tightly into a long tube, making sure the filling does not escape.
8. Thread each roll onto a bamboo skewer.
9. Place the oiled, seasoned skewer on a preheated grill.
10. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes while rotating to ensure even cooking.
11. Cut each skewer in half so you have four pieces of chicken; serve with mac and cheese.

For Mac & Cheese recipe and Parfait recipe, go to Page 2.


CREAMY MAC AND CHEESE

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni blanched
1 small onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 ounces provolone
3 ounces gorgonzola
3 ounces grated parmesan
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Method:
1. Cook macaroni until al dente, reserve.
2. Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil and butter.
3. Add flour, stir to coat, until flour is absorbed.
4. Add milk, stir well, bring to boil.
5. Add provolone, gorgonzola and half the parmesan cheese.
6. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Add elbow macaroni, cook for 5 minutes.
8. Put in a baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and remaining parmesan cheese.
9. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly.

FRESH BERRY & LEMON PARFAIT
Serves 4 people

Ingredients:
2 pints raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups homemade lemon curd, at room temperature (recipe to follow)
1 cup ginger snap or coconut macaroon broken cookies or cookie crumbs

Method:
1. Chill a bowl and beater blades.
2. In another bowl, combine the berries and sweeten with sugar if necessary.
3. In the chilled bowl, whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks begin to form.
4. Add the lemon curd and continue to beat until blended and soft peaks form.
5. To assemble each parfait, place 1/4 of the cookie crumbs into a clear plastic (or glass) cups.
6. Top with 1/4 of the berries and then 1/4 of the whipped cream mixture.
7. Repeat the layers, then top with a layer of berries and a dollop of whipped cream.

LEMON CURD
Ingredients:
1/3 cup lemon juice, from 2 lemons
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes and chilled
1 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 tablespoons vanilla extract
pinch table of salt

Method:
1. Heat lemon juice in small, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
2. Whisk eggs and yolk in medium nonreactive bowl; gradually whisk in sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot lemon juice into eggs.
3. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until mixture registers 170 degrees on instant-read thermometer and is thick enough to cling to spoon, about 3 minutes.
4. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in cold butter until incorporated.
5. Stir in cream, vanilla, and salt.
6. Pour curd through fine-mesh strainer into small nonreactive bowl.
7. Cover surface of curd directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed.

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