Alessi presents In The Kitchen with Abeer Najjar

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Abeer Najjar participates in a coooking challenge with Alessi products. (WLS)

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

Abeer Najjar is a self-taught chef and blogger who was featured on WCL when she was the Illinois representative to the Lifetime's digital series, "Her America: 50 Women, 50 States." You can watch that appearance here.

We gave Najjar some kitchen staples and select Alessi products, including pasta sauce, pine nuts, pesto and coconut balsamic reduction- then let her work her magic!

Our friends at Alessi sent Najjar home with a gift basket of goodies. To see all Alessi products, visit http://alessifoods.com/

For more on Najjar, visit her website: https://abeernajjar.com/.

Recipes:
Lamb Kifta Pasta
1 pound ground lamb
4 tablespoons pesto
pound dry penne (or a similar pasta)
2 cups pasta sauce
salt & pepper
cup shredded parmesan
a few sprigs of fresh basil or parsley (garnish)

Serves about 4
Method:
1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water and add the dry pasta, stirring occasionally to ensure the pasta doesn't stick together. Cook according to instructions and start on the lamb as the pasta cooks.

2. In a bowl, combine the ground lamb, pesto, and salt & pepper to taste. Form small kifta kebob style meatballs about two inches long for a total of about16 kifta.

3. In a large saucepan on medium/high heat, sear the lamb kifta until each side of crispy and browned, about 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Lower to medium/low heat and slowly add the pasta sauce to the pan with the kifta. Gently stir to coat all the kifta in the sauce. Cover and let cook for about 3-5 minutes.

5. When the pasta is al dente, combine with the sauce and kifta and gently toss. When serving, garnish with parmesan and fresh herbs.


Cucumber Apple Mint Salad
1 seedless cucumber, julienned
2 granny smith apples, julienned
fresh mint, chopped
pine nuts

cup golden raisins
2-3 tablespoons balsamic reduction
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of -1 lime
Salt

Serves about 4-6

Method:
1. In a small pan over low/medium heat, lightly toast pine nuts until warm and lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool.

2. Combine cucumber, apple, and mint in a large bowl.

3.
Dress with balsamic reduction, lime juice, olive oil, and salt to taste.

3. Garnish with golden raisins and toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.
Related Topics:
foodAlessiIn the Kitchen with AlessiWindy City LIVE