Have you noticed the kind of stuff that trends on twitter? It used to be good, relevant. Last week, “If I had a gun” was trending. I think twitter should have a different category for viral stupidity and relevant trending. Twitter, are you listening?
There are many food trends that have come and go, but simple food, made well is how I trend. The Italians know how to cling to, protect, celebrate and bask in their food culture by shutting out food trends while creating them. After all, they did create the “slow food movement” springing the eating local craze and keeping classic, a simple grilled chicken breast.
We Americans were blessed with a special lady who wrote my favorite cookbook back in the 70’s and introduced us to authentic Italian cooking with an emphasis in the art of simplicity. When Marcella Hazan writes the forward for your cookbook and just happens to be your mother, you know you have a calling on your life for culinary greatness.
I cannot imagine the blessing of growing up eating her cooking and learning how to cook as a small child. Guiliano is double blessed with women in his life. Lael, his wife, is his strongest support and assists him with cooking classes in Italy, and any number of cooking ventures and together, they write the food blog, the Euducated Palate.
Guiliano Hazan has a new cookbook, Hazan Family Favorites: Beloved Italian Recipes, which I believe is a must for any kitchen. A few years ago, I did an interview with Guiliano and got a first hand take on his cooking viewpoint. Staying true to his heritage, Guiliano has managed to bring something new to old family recipes. There are beautiful photos, and stories of his life as a child who grew up in Italy and America.
Although I was sent a complimentary copy of this cookbook, I am a long term fan of the Hazan family. I even have the wine book that Victor Hazan wrote. I purchased 30 minute Pasta Dishes which Guiliano put out a few years ago, and I have worn out Marcella’s, Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking. Their family dishes are starting to feel like my family dishes.
You will find some unique pasta combinations, soups, risotto. Guiliano includes his mother’s famous Tomato Sauce and one of my favorites, Parmesan Crusted Lamb Chops. He has managed to mix in some of the old classics and has added his own and some other family favorites not published, such as the Borekitas ( a spinach and cheese pie) inspired by his Nonna Giuila. Dishes like Lael’s Meatloaf, Italian Baby Back Ribs, Photo-Shoot Chicken, Italian Mac and Cheese, and Nutella Ice Cream are Italian comfort foods that will make you feel like part of their family too.
Today I was reinspired to make grilled boneless chicken breasts, which usually aren’t my favorite because chicken must be thoroughly cooked which can lead to a dry and tasteless chicken. I didn’t necessarily need a recipe to grill a chicken breast, but Guiliano’s tips for keeping the chicken moist are worth noting. You can see for yourself, how tender this chicken is and is just the genius of simplicity that keeps my nose in the Hazan Family Cookbook.
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- Crush garlic.Finely chop rosemary (or just lay into oil in small pieces) Add olive oil, lemon for marinade.
- Salt and pepper the chicken. Reserve a few tablespoons of marinade for the grilling process.
- Marinate chicken at room temperature for 45 minutes or in refrigerator for 2 hours. I like to bring my chicken to room temperature before grilling, and use a hot grill. A cold chicken will not cook easily inside.
- Heat the grill very hot. Put chicken on grill. Turn to medium hot after the chicken gets a nice sear. Turn over after 8 minutes and cook for another 5-7 minutes. (Depending on how thick the chicken in).