Alessi presents 'In The Kitchen' - Wayne Johnson

CHICAGO -- This segment is produced with and sponsored by Alessi.

In our "In the Kitchen" segment, we bring in cooks of all walks of life to create a dish - using Alessi ingredients.

Today's "In the Kitchen" cook is food and lifestyle blogger Wayne Johnson from the blog waynesweekend.com!!!

Wayne picked out his favorite Alessi ingredients and created some wonderful dishes!

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

Wayne's recipes:

Cornish Game Hens with Rosemary, Garlic and Capers
serves 4

Ingredients

4 Cornish Game Hens
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
4 Rosemary Sprigs
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
2 tbl Unsalted Butter Butter, cut into 4 pieces
10 lg Garlic Cloves, peeled and split lengthwise
1 sm Yellow Onion, cut into 8 wedges (you can substitute shallots)
1/4 cu Olive Oil

Basting

1/4 cu White Wine
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 cu Chicken stock

Sauce

3 tbl Unsalted Butter
2 tbl Alessi Capers, drained
4 Rosemary Sprigs, for garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wash hens inside and out and then pat dry with paper towels. Season the insides with salt and pepper and stuff the cavity of each hen with lemon wedge, a rosemary sprig, and 1/2 tablespoon of Butter.

Rub the outside of the hens with half of the olive oil. Loosely tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Arrange the hens in a roasting pan. Toss onions and garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil and add to pan. Roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the wine, dijon and remaining olive oil in a bowl. Spoon the basting sauce over hens and reduce the heat to 375. Basting at least twice during the next step, roast the hens for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the hens reach 165 degrees and their juices run clear. Remove the hens from oven, draining any cavity liquid back into the pan. Set the hens on tray, remove the kitchen twine, and loosely cover with aluminum to keep warm.

Strain the pan juices into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and high simmer until sauce thickens, about 6 minutes. Whisk in butter and capers until blended. Spoon sauce over hens and serve with mushroom, cheese, and sun dried tomato farro (recipe below). For presentation, you can split the hens and place each half on either side of a generous helping of farro.

Mushroom and Sun dried Tomato Farro with Parmigiano Reggiano
serves 4

Ingredients

1 cu Alessi Organic Farro (Farro Peralto)
2 cu Chicken Stock
1/2 tsp Salt
3 oz Alessi Sun Dried Tomatoes Packed in Olive Oil, drained and roughly chopped
4 oz Mushrooms (your choice), sliced
1 1/2 tbl Butter
1/2 tbl Olive oil
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated

Method

Rinse farro in cold water before using and set aside. Bring two cups of chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt and 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Stir to combine. Add farro and sun dried tomatoes. Cover pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. While farro is cooking heat remaining butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until they are tender and have released their liquid, about 8-10 minutes. When farro is ready, add mushrooms to the saucepan and toss ingredients together to combine. Serve with grated Parmiggiano Reggiano.

Summertime Fettuccini with Fresh Tomato Sauce
serves 4 as a first course

Ingredients

1 lb Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes, not too soft
1/4 cu Fresh Basil Leaves, loosely packed
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 tbl Garlic Infused Olive Oil, recipe below
1 tsp Alessi White Balsamic Reduction
2 tbl Alessi Capers (optional if serving this dish with others containing capers)
1/2 lb Alessi Fettuccini
Parmigiano Reggiano, optional, finely grated

Method

Chop the tomatoes into a small dice and transfer them to a large bowl. Layer the basil leaves on a cutting board and then roll them up tightly. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice leaves into little ribbons (a chiffonade) and add to the tomatoes. Add garlic infused olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic reduction, and capers and toss ingredients to combine. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for an hour or so.

Just before ready to serve, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Sample tomato mixture and adjust the taste with additional salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Add tomatoes to pasta, toss to combine, and serve with grated parmigiano reggiano.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Ingredient

1/2 cu Alessi Olive Oil
2-3 large Garlic Cloves

Method

Pour olive oil into a small bottle, ideally one with a long neck and small opening. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Please each smashed clove into the olive oil and let the oil absorb the garlic flavor for a few hours to overnight. To use the oil, simply cover the top of the bottle with your thumb as you pour, keeping the smash garlic from coming out of the bottle. Use all of the oil within a week.

Strawberry Shortcake with Buttermilk Biscuits
you'll need 4 biscuits for this dessert, you'll have extra biscuits for breakfast

Ingredients

Biscuits
makes 8-12 biscuits

8 tbl (1 stick) Cold Butter
2 1/2 cu Self-Rising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cu Buttermilk
1/4 cu Sour Cream
Additional Flour, for rolling
2 tbl Butter, melted to brush on top of biscuits after baking

Strawberries and Topping

1 pint Fresh Strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
2 tbl Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Alessi Raspberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar Reduciton
1 pint Whipping Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cu Powdered Sugar
2 tbl Toasted Alessi Pine Nuts

Method

Dice butter into tiny bits (or use a cheese grater to shred), put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. In a medium sized bowl, mix together self rising flour, baking powder and baking soda. Put the flour mixture in freezer. Measure buttermilk and sour cream. Mix together and put it in freezer as well.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

After all the ingredients have been in the freezer for 30 minutes, quickly mix butter into flour with two forks until well distributed (or use a pasty cutter). Pour in buttermilk mixture and quickly mix ingredients together. Put about 1/2 cup of flour on a work surface and pour mixture on top.

Work dough till it comes together, then roll it out and tri-fold it like a piece of paper going into an envelope. Roll it out again and repeat that process 3 times. Finally roll it out to about a 12" by 5" rectangle. Put more flour in a small bowl. Use a 3" pastry cutter and dip it in the flour each time before cutting a biscuit. Cut straight down (don't twist). Place biscuits on a baking sheet touching each other. Reshape extra dough for last few biscuits.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until they just start to brown on top. Remove from oven and brush the 2 tablespoons of melted butter on top.

Toss the strawberries in the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Whip the heaving cream until soft peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To serve, break a biscuit in halve on a serving platter. Spoon a bit of the juice form the strawberries on the biscuit. Add a dollop of whipped cream, a bit of strawberries and an additional dollop of cream. Sprinkle pine nuts on top.