Food & Dining

Chef Carlin’s Italian recipes


Bill and Claudia Wood

Chef Carlin Breinig, an Atlanta-area personal chef, recently performed a cooking demonstration, “Tuscany at the Table,” at Something Special to benefit the Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation. As a token to her guests, Breinig left her Italian-themed recipes at each seat to be taken home. The Newnan Times-Herald published her chickpea red pepper salad and sauteed chicken with olives in this space last week.

Here are Breinig’s Italian side dishes and dessert to complement whatever entree has your appetite, perhaps Breinig’s own sauteed chicken with olives recipe.

Polenta with Pancetta and Rosemary

Serves 6

• Tablespoons olive oil 

• 6 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced 

• 5 cups water • salt 

• 2  cups coarse ground polenta 

• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1. In a skillet over moderate heat, combine the olive oil and pancetta. Fry gently until the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a deep saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add a little salt. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook about 20 minutes over low heat stirring often until polenta thickens.

3. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with half the pancetta.

4. Cover with polenta, smoothing the surface with a wet knife. The polenta should be about 1 inch thick. Arrange the remaining pancetta on top and sprinkle with rosemary.

5. Bake until the top is golden about 20 minutes. 

* * *

Swiss Chard with Lemon Dressing

Serves 6

• 2 pounds swiss chard 

• salt and pepper 

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

• ½ cup olive oil

1. Bring large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim off the stalks from the green leaves. Cut the stalks into 2 inch pieces removing any strings.

2. Add the stalks to the boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the leaves and cook for 2 minutes longer.

4. Drain and immediately transfer to an ice bath. Drain and pat dry.

5. Arrange the chard in a serving dish.

6. In a small bowl, dissolve the salt and pepper in the lemon juice.

7. Whisk and sprinkle on the chard. Drizzle the olive oil over and stir well. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

* * *

Rice Fritters

Makes about 25

• 4 cups milk • 6 tablespoons sugar 

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

• Zest of 1 lemon • 1 ½ cups arborio rice 

• 2 large eggs, separated 

• 5 cups olive oil 

• Fresh berries

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk with half the sugar, the butter, and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and add the rice.

2. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fairly dry, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. When the rice mixture is completely cool, add the egg yolks, mixing in well.

4. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into rice.

5. In a deep heavy skillet, heat the olive oil to 350 degrees. Drop batter by spoonful into the hot oil, without crowding, fry a few at a time, until golden, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels. Continue frying all.

6. Arrange on platter, sprinkle with remaining sugar. Serve very hot with fresh berries if desired.

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