This past week I was looking at some old cookbooks and came across my fathers original recipes in an old blue binder.
By JASPER J. MIRABILE JR.
I started going through all the appetizers, veal, chicken, and roasted meats and noticed that they all had one thing in common butter! Seriously.
Now I will be honest with you, my family uses a lot of olive oil in their daily cooking and especially in a lot of our recipes. I remember traveling to Italy and checking out a lot of kitchens where I did see a lot of olive oil used. But I will say butter was a staple in the kitchen.
Yes, butter in an Italian kitchen. In Southern Italy where you do not have as much cattle you dont see as much dairy therefore you wont see a lot of butter. But in Northern Italy, especially around Piedmonte, you will see butter in almost every dish, including pasta.
I still remember traveling to Turino with my Slow Food Kansas City Chapter and attending a cooking class with my nephew on a farm. The chef prepared some of the most delicious pasta and, I kid you not, he put one pound of butter in the sauce at the end before serving. Believe me when I tell you it may have been some of the best tomato sauce we have ever experienced. I can still taste it now, so velvety and creamy What a sauce!
I have also seen butter used in a lot of dishes in Tuscany and believe it or not one of my favorite chicken dishes comes from a small restaurant I discovered a few years ago in Florence named Sostanza. The main ingredient, you guessed it, butter!
Now dont get me wrong, I love olive oil, and they used to say back in the day that my mother was the olive oil queen. Mama would cook everything in olive oil from fried eggs to an olive oil cake for dessert.
As for the dishes on my menu from the regions of Sicily and Campagna, you will see a lot of olive oil in my dishes, but Im not going to lie to you and say I dont use butter.
Now my friends, lets talk brands of butter. You know I am all about using artisan farmers and supporting local so the butter of my choice is none other than Shatto, made right here in Missouri.
Rich and creamy, full of flavor, this is what butter is supposed to taste like. For added flavor, I suggest one of Shattos new artisan flavored butters.
Yes, its summer time and yes, its hot outside, but I highly recommend that you turn on your stove and heat your oven my fellow foodies because this is one recipe you do not want to miss.
As for the calories and fat content Fuhgeddaboudit! As my father always said, Bere, Mangiare e Bene which translates to drink and eat well!
Trattoria Sostanzas Petti di Pollo al Buro
(Also known as Butter Chicken)
2- to 3-pound whole chicken
3⁄4 pound of Shatto Butter
Sea Salt (to taste)
Flour (for dusting)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Split chicken in half. Remove back bone. Cut chicken into
3 to 4-ounce pieces, leaving bone and skin attached. Add 1⁄4 pound butter to sauté pan. Dust chicken with salt and flour and place skin side down in pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn and cook 10 more minutes.
Remove from stove and add 8 ounce butter to pan. Place in oven and cook until the melted butter turns a brown, about 10 minutes, and the chickens internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove pan from oven, place on platter and serve with a splash of fresh lemon on chicken breast along with butter from pan.
Do not worry when butter turns brown in oven, this just gives the chicken a nutty flavor and is quite normal in Italian cooking.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jaspers commands the helm of his familys 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas Citys best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jaspers Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM and sells a line of dressings and sauces.