This is a recipe I recently created for the 15-20 sophisticated palettes of the ladies Syosset Garden Club located here in New York in the port Town of Oyster Bay.
Over the years I've built a reputation among the local populace for preparing dishes that satisfy...and I didn't want to disappoint these ladies...especially since my wife, Sandy, was the designated head hostess for this day's luncheon.
When one prepares food for groups, one must be cognizant of dietary restrictions. Beyond dietary restrictions, I have found that you must be careful with garlic.
As a result, I decided to update my 2013 Fresche Verdure Arrostite con Olio Extra Vergine D'oliva, Aglio Fresco e Limone recipe, and prepare it without garlic for this event. Another factor in preparing without garlic was this dish was going to be served with grilled marinated teriyaki chicken and I just didn't think the garlic would work.
What veggies are tasting best at any particular time of year is always a factor in the preparation...thus for this dish this time of year I included a load of mini yellow, orange and red sweet peppers (no green) along with fresh string beans, eggplant, sweet onions, organic baby carrots and broccoli. Roasting can be quite forgiving when veggies are not in season, and the use of carrots and onions (2/3 of a Mirepoix) can sure help sweeten any dish naturally.
The only real work is preparing the eggplant, since you must kosher salt it, drain the bitter juices out, rinse off the salt and then dry it. This step will virtually eliminate any bitter taste and will help prevent the eggplant from soaking up too much **EVOO in the early preparation stages.
The rest is simple. I have reduced the recipe by about 1/2 since the quantity of veggies prepared for 15-20 ladies at the Syosset Garden Club luncheon won't be necessary. This will prepare enough for 8 as a main course or at least 12 as an appetizer.
*1/2 lb. baby carrots
*1 small eggplant/sliced in half lengthwise with skin on and both halves cut into approximate 2"x1" pieces
*2 heads broccoli / florets only
*2 lbs. peppers/sliced in half lengthwise with pith and seeds removed from inside the peppers. Not removing the pith can create a bitter taste
*1/2 lb. fresh string beans/ends sliced off
*1 huge onion/slice in half and slice the halves into 4 pieces each...thus you will have 8 chunks of onion. Don't worry if the onion pieces separate
*1/2 fresh lemon / squeezed
*3 tsp. KOSHER salt
*Fresh mill pepper
*1/2 cup **EVOO
-In a very large bowl, mix gently and thoroughly all veggies with 1/2 cup **EVOO, lemon and 2 tsp salt. The last teaspoon will be used in the final preparation.
-You will need 2 non-stick roasting pans. Place half of mixture in each pan in a single layer. Two pans will help the roasting process be more efficient since less moisture will be created in the roasting process and help prevent steaming of veggies which can make them soggy.
-Place in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the veggies are nicely browned and the broccoli a bit crispy. It's important to toss very gently, especially near the end, every 8-10 minutes.
Gentle tossing will help prevent the vegetables from falling apart.
-I use two large spoons to lift the veggies and flip them so roasting is more even.
-When roasting is finished, let veggies sit aside in roasting pans.
*3/4 lb + pasta
*1/4 stick SWEET unsalted butter
*2 Tbsp. **EVOO
*1 tsp. kosher salt
*mill pepper to taste
Pasta suggestion: I blend a few shapes such as farfalle/bow ties, shells and/or rotini twists.You can do whatever shape you like as long as they are relatively small. By that, it means I don't suggest rigatoni.
-Cook Pasta in at least 4 quarts of salted water (you'll need a large pot for blending pasta and veggies) and according to instructions on box. Al Dente is not suggested here because al dente pasta will tend to soak up moisture and dry out the dish.
-When draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the warm starched pasta water.
Grilled Marinated Chicken
I find the best marinade in the land is Soy Vay Very Very Teriyaki. They make other flavors, however this is my secret. All good ingredients and flawless results. My other secret is "Manodori" Balsamic Vinegar, the best tasting balsamic in the whole wide world...that is, according to me.
*3 LARGE Bell & Evans Chicken Breasts / pounded to 1" thick...no thinner
*1 jar Soy Vay Very Very Teriyaki Marinade...reserve 1/3 cup from the bottle for finishing.
*1 Tbsp "Manodori" Balsamic
*Marinate chicken for at least two hours in the Soy Vay and Balsamic blend .Toss away and do not use any marinade as I'm sure you are all aware. You can boil it to re-use as it is safe, however the "ick" factor can turn some off to this process. If you choose to re-use any boiled marinade, you can add some sweet butter in order to smooth out the reduced and more concentrated flavor created by the boiling and reduction process.
*Grill on B-B-Q...set aside unsliced for 5-6 minutes after grilling
*Slice with the grain 1/4" thick slices on a plate (This will preserve juices. A wood cutting board will absorb some of the juices). I use an electric knife. Very quick and efficient.
*Place in bowl and add the leftover 1/4 cup of marinade while chicken is still warm and toss gently to coat all chicken pieces.
- In your large pot on medium heat, add the 1/4 stick of butter until melted
- Add the 2 Tbsp.**EVOO
-Place cooked warm pasta back in pot and turn off heat at this time
-Add veggies to pasta along with the 1/2 cup starched pasta water, fresh mill pepper and salt to taste with the left over teaspoon of salt. Toss Gently.
-Place on a platter and cover the entire dish with grilled chicken slices. Optional on top is a garnish of basil chiffonade
-The dish is served warm and the chicken can be served at room temperature
Please read this recipe through first. It will make more sense as it includes some technique and suggestions.
**EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil