Alessi Presents "In The Kitchen" - Sister Alicia Torres

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Chicago's Sister Alicia Torres, a Food Network's "Chopped" winner, took the "In the Kitchen" challenge. (WLS)

In our "In the Kitchen" segment, we challenge cooks of all walks of life to create a dish using the ingredients we give them.

We unveil which ingredients they use at the top of the show - and they have to create a dish by the time we get to their segment.

Today's "In the Kitchen" contestant is a former winner of The Food Network's show "Chopped!" - she is a nun from the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels church in West Humboldt Park and her mission is to serve the poor in her community - plus - she's a fabulous cook! So we had to bring her back to do our "In the Kitchen" challenge!

We set out four Alessi products that must be used, one protein and some kitchen staples - then the cook needs to work their magic!

Sister's products were:

Garlic Puree
Balsamic Reduction
Tomato Paste
Crispy Sliced Toasts Biscotte
Organic Mezzi Paccheri

Our Friends at Alessi sent Sister Alicia Torres and a lucky member of our studio audience home with a gift basket of goodies. Visit their website for all the Alessi products.

Sister Alicia Torres works on the west side - in the west Humboldt Park area - for more info click here:

Sr. Alicia's Vegetarian Pasta

- 1 lb pasta (Mezzi Paccheri)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground garlic
- 3 shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Chardonnay
- 1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 lb mushrooms, cut in half
- 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil
- 1 cup Manchego cheese, crumbled
- 16 oz artichoke hearts, chopped
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
- Salt & pepper to taste

1) I a large pan saute garlic and shallots in olive oil until translucent but not browned. In a small bowl mix together tomato paste and Chardonnay. Add to the pan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 3 minutes, then add diced tomatoes. Bring back to a simmer.
2) Add the green beans, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3) In a medium size pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, until desired tenderness is reached. Drain pasta, rinse quickly with cold water. Place pasta in large serving bowl.
4) Add the vegetables to the pasta and mix. Sprinkle Manchego cheese and chopped basil on top. Enjoy!!

Unconventional Bruschetta
- 1 sleeve of Bicotte
- Olive Oil
- 1 cup of chopped roasted red pepper
- 3 oz. of Manchego cheese
- Italian herb blend, for example oregano, basil, sun dried tomato, salt/pepper (any Italian herb blend works)
- Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

1) Drizzle olive oil on each biscotte.
2) Place 2 teaspoons of chopped roasted red pepper on each biscotte in the center.
3) Cut cheese into small triangles, 2 per biscotte. Place the triangles on top of the roasted red peppers. Crumble some cheese and sprinkle on the biscottes to add a little contrast with the bed of roasted red pepper.
4) Place the biscottes on your serving dish.
5) Sprinkle Italian herb blend on the biscottes. It is o.k. if some falls upon the dish.
6) Using the reduced balsamic in a squeeze bottle, drizzle the balsamic on the biscotte platter--not on each individual biscotte. This will give a nice finish to your presentation.
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