Alessi presents 'In The Kitchen': Blogger Wayne Johnson

In our "In the Kitchen" segments, 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.

Wednesday's "In the Kitchen" contestant was food/lifestyle blogger Wayne Johnson. His blog can be found at He took our challenge last year - and we loved him so much, we had to bring him back. His extensive knowledge and passion for food makes him a perfect choice.

We set out Alessi products that must be used, one protein and some kitchen staples - then Wayne worked her magic.

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 products were:
-Alessi Bread Crumbs
-Alessi Kale Pesto
-Alessi Strained Tomatoes
-Alessi Farro

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Alessi presents 'In The Kitchen ': Blogger Wayne Johnson. Part 2

Chicken Milanese Sandwiches
with an herb infused tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil


4 Thinly Sliced Chicken Breasts, about 1lb total
2 Lg Eggs
1 cu All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cu Alessi Seasoned Bread Crumbs with Pecorino Romano Cheese
1 tbl Dried Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

Olive Oil
Fresh Mozzarella Balls, about 3/4lb, thinly sliced
12-14 medium sized Fresh Basil Leaves, stems trimmed
1 med Onion, chopped
1 sm Green Pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cu Alessi Strained Tomoatoes
1 Lg Baguette or smaller individual loaves


Rinse chicken breasts slices and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Place flour in a large bowl or flat plate. Place eggs in a medium sized bowl and whisk until blended. Place bread crumbs in a third large bowl or flat plate. Season bread crumbs with oregano and mix together. With each chicken breast, coat with flour and dust off any excess. Dip the breast in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumb mixture, coating all sides. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large flat saucepan or skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place chicken breasts in the pan and cook for about 7-8 minutes per side, being careful not to burn the coating. Remove to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.

While chicken is cooking, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add, onion, green pepper, and garlic and sauté until ingredients are tender, about 8 minutes. Add strained tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and carefully transfer ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Slice bread lengthwise and cover both surfaces with a generous amount of the tomato sauce. Place remaining sauce in small bowls to accompany sandwiches on individual serving plates. Slice a chicken breast into pieces that will fit on the bread, if necessary, and layer them on the bottom slice of bread. Top chicken with slices of mozzarella and fresh basil. Cover sandwich with top slice of bread and serve.

An alternative to this dish is to eliminate the bread and simply place the chicken on a baking sheet, cover with a generous amount of tomato sauce and a few fresh basil leaves. Then top with mozzarella cheese and then place under a broiler until melted. Serve with additional tomato sauce on the side.

Farro, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
with lemon kale pesto dressing


1 cu Alessi Farro
2 cu Vegetable Stock
1 English Cucumber, medium diced
2 cu Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 pkg Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 scallion, thinly sliced, include portions of the green
1/4 cu Flat Leaf Parsley
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tbl Alessi Kale Pesto
1 tbl Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tbl Lemon Zest
1 tbl Balsamic Vinegar


Place farro and vegetable stock in a medium pot that has a tight fitting lid. Bring ingredients to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Place the cucumber, grape tomatoes, scallions, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Set aside. Separately, whisk together the pesto, lemon juice, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar in a medium sized bowl. Set aside

Once farro has cooked, pour it into a separate bowl and allow it to cool. Once cool, drain any extra liquid from the farro and add it to the cucumber mixture. Add dressing and flat leaf parsley. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.