Alessi presents 'In the Kitchen': Wayne Johnson

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A chef was challenged to make a dish using Alessi products: arborio rice, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, olive pate, raspberry balsamic vinegar. (WLS)

"In the Kitchen" challenges cooks of all walks of life to create a dish using the ingredients we give them. We unveiled the ingredients at the top of the show, and they have to create a dish by the time we get to their segment.

Tuesday's "In the Kitchen" contestant was food and lifestyle blogger Wayne Johnson. His blog can be found at His extensive knowledge and passion for food makes him a perfect choice for our challenge.

We set out Alessi products that must be used, one protein and some kitchen staples. Then, the cook works their magic.

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In the Kitchen: Wayne Johnson

Our friends at Alessi sent Wayne and a lucky member of our studio audience home with a gift basket of goodies.

Visit Alessi's website to view all their products:

Wayne's products were:

Alessi Arborio Rice
Alessi Pine Nuts
Alessi Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Alessi Olive Pate
Alessi Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

Visit Wayne Johnson's website at


Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto


6 cu Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1 1/2 cu Alessi Arborio Rice

1 cu Onion, finely chopped
pinch Saffron Threads
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 cu White Wine
3 tbl Olive Oil
6 oz Mushrooms, roughly chopped
6 oz Alessi Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil, drained and roughly chopped
1 cu Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped for garnish


Pour chicken stock into a large pot over high heat. Bring stock to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.

In a saucepan heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate pot, heat remaining olive oil over a medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and risotto and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add saffron and stir to combine. Add white wine and stir for about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and stir continuously until liquid has been absorbed. Stir in sautéed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Add more stock, 1 cup at at time, and stir until it is absorbed. Reduce heat and add 3/4 cup of the grated cheese and stir to combine. Taste the risotto for doneness and seasonings. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer to individual serving bowls. Top with additional cheese and sprinkle parsley over the dish. Serve immediately.

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Olives, Spinach and Pine Nuts and Raspberry Balsamic Caramel


1 Pork Tenderloin, about 1lb
1 1/2 tbl Olive Oil
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
4 cu Fresh Spinach, loosely packed
4 oz Alessi Pine nuts, roughly chopped
4 oz Alessi Olive Pate
1/4 cu Alessi Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons
1/4 cu White Wine
Kitchen Twine
Oven safe saucepan or cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place spinach and rosemary in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir occasionally until spinach fully reduces, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel and let rest.

Rinse and dry the tenderloin. With a sharp knife butterfly the tenderloin by slicing a seam lengthwise in about 3/4 of the depth of the tenderloin. Spread the tenderloin flat on a work surface and flatten it using a kitchen mallet or other tool (you can even use a food can). Season with salt and pepper. Spread the olive pate down the center of the tenderloin.

Squeeze out all the excess moisture from the spinach and rosemary and finely chop. Spread the spinach mixture over the olive pate. Top the spinach with the pine nuts and drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar over all. Pull the sides up and over the filling. Secure the tenderloin with 5-6 pieces of kitchen twine tied about 2" apart.

Heat olive oil in oven proof saucepan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Add tenderloin and sear all sides until brown, about 3-4 minutes per. You can loosely cover the pan after searing 2 sides to shorten overall cooking time. Once you've seared all sides, transfer the pan to the oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, about 10-12 minutes (actual time will vary greatly depending on the tenderloin's thickness and how long it was seared). Remove from oven and let the tenderloin rest for 5 minutes before serving. Put the pan back on the heat and de-glaze with 1/4 cup balsamic and 1/4 cup white wine. Boil and reduce for 3-4 minutes. Cut away kitchen twine from the tenderloin and slice the it an angle into 1" slices. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction over the slices. Serve immediately.
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