My Appalling Miscalculation: Chicken Liver Pasta

I’m always up for trying something different so when I came across Martha Stewart’s recipe for Rigatoni with Chicken Livers, I was intrigued.  Mister loves fried chicken gizzards so I thought that I would surprise him with Chicken Liver Pasta for dinner.  Gizzards, liver, same difference right?

The Nutless Wonder, back there, is eyeballing my Chicken Livers!

When Mister came over for dinner after work, he asked what was for dinner.  I proudly responded, “I came across a Martha Stewart recipe that looked pretty good and that I thought you may like:  Chicken Liver Pasta”. 

The look of total and complete horror on his face told me that I had made an appalling miscalculation.
It has wine in it.  Wine makes everything better.
“YA!  GIZZARDS!  FRIED!” He chimes back.
“Don’t worry, babe,” I ensure, taking his hands in mine, “I’m scared too.  We’ll be scared together, Ok?  Besides, maybe it will be really, really good.  Afterall, it is a Martha Stewart recipe!”
He responded only with a stealy stare.  I could just tell he was thinking, “I swear, if you mess up my dinner woman…”
It has lots & lots of butter too.  Butter makes everything better!


While I nervously cook this dinner, my spirits rise in that it actually smells really good.  The liver has cooked up nice, the onions caramelized perfectly, and everything is waiting to be tossed with the pasta.  The pasta gets done cooking and I toss everything together.  It all looks kind of…grey.  I plate dinner and bring it to the table.  Mister pours two big glasses of wine.  We toast, “To trying new things!”.  We look at each other nervously, I close my eyes, and we take our first bite.

It wasn’t so bad.  Mister actually went back for seconds.  I ate as much as I could but just couldn’t finish my first serving.  True to Martha Stewart, the recipe was solid.  There was a lot of flavor; the onion played well with the liver.  The butter and wine came through lovely  The sauce was creamy and coated the pasta well.  I guess I just don’t like liver.  The weird thing with liver is that it’s not that it tastes all that bad; it’s the texture.  The texture is crumbly.  It’s a different texture that I’m just  not used to and it’s hard to explain.  It doesn’t “melt” like filet mignon or fatty tuna belly; and it’s not really chewy, like octopus.  It’s just completely…different. 

The Nutless Wonder and Belladini Houdini got servings of Chicken Liver Pasta mixed in with their dinner for 3 nights in a row. 

I’m posting this recipe because I know there are people out there that like liver and if you do, you should really try this recipe.  Like I said above, it’s a solid recipe…I just learned that I don’t like liver!

Chicken Liver Pasta

From Martha Stewart

1 pound rigatoni
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound chicken livers, any sinew removed, patted dry
3 T unsalted butter, divided
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 cup)
1 T finely chopped sage leaves
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 oz parmesan, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted water until very al dente.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. Season livers witth salt and pepper.  Melt 2 T butter in a large sautee pan over medium-high heat.  Cook livers, flipping once, until plump and golden brown, about 4 minutes; transfer to cutting board.  Reduce heat to medium and melt remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Chop livers and reurn to pan, along with any juices and sage.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Add wine, simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water.  Simmer until sauce coats pasta; remove from heat.  Toss with parmesan and parsley.  If dry, toss with more pasta water, a bit at a time.  Divide among 6 bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with parmesan.

Lemony Seafood Pasta

I love seafood like it’s nobody’s business.  I would eat seafood every day if I could.  Moving to Maryland was one of the greatest things I did for my gastronomy because the seafood is so cheap and plentiful out here!  It’s amazing!  I think I ate seafood straight for a month or two when I first moved here (partly because I didn’t realize that it’s here all the time!)  One of my favorite products to buy is the frozen mixed seafood bags.  They are fairly cheap and you get a lot of meat for the price so they are a great deal.

No! No! No! Don’t turn your nose up!
I promise, we have something great planned!

I’ve made several dishes with mixed seafood medley but the one I’m going to share with you is one that I turn to the most.  It’s a quick, nutritous meal and I’ve added whatever is in my fridge to the mixture.  I’ve added spinach, kale, tomatoes, squash, basically anything that looks like it won’t last another day, I’ll throw it in there.  Tonight I just made the basic recipe and that includes only onions and garlic (I’m running low on food since it’s the middle of March.  Spring veggies can’t get here soon enough!). 
I’ve noticed with seafood, many people *think* they don’t like it and I’ve found that it’s because they have never had it cooked correctly.  Seafood is a very fragile meat and most people treat seafood like they would any other meat.  Don’t do that. Overcooking seafood turns it into a rubbery flavorless mess.  Seafood (both fish and other kinds) need to be cooked at high temperatures for a short time.  Because of this, I cook this specific recipe in my wok.  You want a fire-hot pan, warm oil, and cold seafood (DO NOT DEFROST THE SEAFOOD BEFORE YOU COOK IT!).  Since this is going to cook at such a high temperature, you want to get everything prepared before you start the cooking in the wok.  Seriously, this will take you about 10 minutes from start to finish once your ready for the wok part.
The very first thing you want to do is zest a whole lemon into 1/4 cup olive oil.  You want the lemon zest to infuse the olive oil.  Juice the lemon and set the juice aside.  Cook some pasta; I do about two handfuls of quinoa spaghetti.  Reserve about a 1/2 cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta.  Chop an onion and 3 (or 5!) garlic cloves.  Make sure you have sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and red chili flakes available.  That’s it!  Now you’re ready to cook.
Set your wok over high heat.  Once the wok is nice and hot, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl it around.  Throw in your onion and garlic and caramelize.  Once the garlic and onion are caramelized to your liking, add the lemon juice and olive oil with the lemon zest.  Bring this up to a boil.  Once it’s at a boil, pour in the whole 1 pound bag of frozen seafood, stir it up, add salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste, and cover.  Shake the woke while it’s covered a few times.  Keep stirring until the seafood is just about cooked through but not all the way.  Add your pasta and shake the pasta vigorously with tongs within the sauce.  The starch from the pasta will thicken the sauce.  If you need a little more liquid you can add some of the pasta water.  Cover, cook the seafood through, divvy up into bowls, top with parmesan and dinner is served!

Lemony Seafood Pasta
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
Red chili Flakes 
  1. Cook pasta, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Using a rasp, zest the skin of one lemon into 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. In a very hot wok, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (about one turn around the pan).  Add onions and garlic and caramelize.
  4. Add lemon juice and olive oil with lemon zest, bring to a boil.  Add frozen seafood, salt, pepper, and chili pepper to taste.  Stir and cover.
  5. Once 3/4 cooked through, add pasta and shake vigorously with tongs to thicken sauce.  Add some reserved pasta water if it needs more liquid.
  6. Cover and cook the seafood through
  7. Serve with parmesan cheese and crusty bread.