Thursday, May 30, 2013

Expand on the Simple; Garlic Butter Sauce.

In my post on Baked Ravioli, I mentioned how I don't always use the sauce that might come in the box of Buitoni Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli. The sauce is a simple garlic butter sauce that I might use on another pasta dish, as a marinade, as a basting sauce for grilling, even as a sauce over simple vegetables. Having that packet of sauce in the freezer though is not always an option, so I have to consider the possibility of making it up from scratch.

The two main ingredients, of course, are butter and garlic; eight tablespoons of butter melted on low heat in a small saucepan, then three cloves of minced garlic added to the butter and let it cook until softened.  It is what you do with that simple mixture afterwards that makes the difference in your foods.  For a marinade, add two tablespoons of dried Italian herb mixture and two tablespoons of olive oil; put your meat, pork or poultry into a resealable bag and massage in that marinade.  Refrigerate for one to two hours and grill it up; don't forget to make an extra batch of marinade for basting.  

To make a creamy version, after softening the garlic, turn the heat up to medium-high, add five tablespoons of flour and begin whisking; this will be the roux. Once all the flour is incorporated, continue to whisk and cook until a light brown color forms; then whisk in 2 cups of heavy cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it thicken.  Add salt, ground black pepper, or other seasonings to taste.

Again, with two simple ingredients, butter and garlic, you can make different combinations of marinade or sauce for your food; lemon juice, ground black pepper and chopped parsley would be excellent for poultry and seafood, for example.  Or change that parsley to dill for the seafood; your possibilities are only limited by your own imagination.

Garlic Chicken and Pasta
8 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided in half
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups steamed broccoli
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 cups cooked rigatoni
salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, low heat, melt the butter; add the garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes and stir occasionally to keep from sticking or burning.  Remove from heat.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat; saute chicken until fully cooked; remove from skillet.  Add remaining oil to skillet and saute vegetables until edges just begin to brown.  Add chicken back into skillet, add the garlic butter sauce, parsley and pasta; mix thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4 servings.
Two ingredients to make a simple sauce, but what you add to it afterwards opens up an expanded world of flavor.  Enjoy!
Mary Cokenour

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