Just before the holidays, I shared a menu with my favorite chefs' recipes for an At-Home Restaurant Experience. It was a lot of fun to pull together and I also realized how much that special meal lifted our spirits. It's amazing how dressing up the table can give you the same boost as getting out of your sweats!
I want to keep this up, for making mealtimes special seems to have become even more important as we try to stay strong in this latest wave of the pandemic. So many of you are still juggling work from home, kids studying at home...basically too much at home! And if you're not able to eat outside and are facing the worst of winter ahead, it's all the more important to get a positive boost of energy from a nice dinner, whether you're eating alone or with a friend or as a family. Just pull out a tablecloth and napkins, and whip up an easy recipe that's plated nicely!
One of my go-to "dressy" dishes the past couple of years has been trahana pasta made like a risotto, with sauteed mushrooms spooned over it (pictured above). Greek chefs have been having a lot of fun using traditional pasta forms like trahana and kritharaki (orzo) to make risotto-like dishes and give a local touch to this global culinary favorite. Personally, I just like making a dish that pretty much everyone is guaranteed to eat. Try it for yourself, it is very easy to make and you can top it with other grilled veggies like asparagus or Brussels sprouts or roasted squash, or even sautéed shrimp or grilled fish to make it a main dish. Keep scrolling for more ways trahana can help you make speedy accompaniments to your "Restaurant Meals at Home".
1 cup dry Agrozimi sour trahaná
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
5-6 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth or warm water
3 cups of a variety of mushrooms (e.g., bella, shiitake, oyster, white)
1/2 cup grated parmesan or other strong, hard cheese
Salt and pepper
Heat in a skillet 1-2 tbsp of the olive oil to medium-high heat.
Sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes, adding the Sparoza cooking blend to taste, and remove from the heat.
In a different skillet, heat the remaining olive oil to medium-high heat and sauté the onion until it's translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the dry trahaná and continue to mix and sauté until it is well-coated with the olive oil, again, around 2-3 minutes. Raise the heat and add the wine, continuing to stir until the liquid is reduced by half. Start adding cup by cup the broth or warm water and keep on stirring until the trahaná is cooked through. Don't let it get too dry! Make sure it has a bit of liquid left because the trahaná will continue to absorb the liquid after you remove it from the heat.
Top with the mushrooms and, if you'd like, add 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan or other hard cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Trahaná or trahanás was traditionally made with flour and yogurt in the early fall, then covered with clean sheets and dried and preserved as a light pasta for the winter months. My grandparents' and parents' generation would always eat it as a hearty soup, with lots of crumbled feta but contemporary chefs and even people like me, who just love to play in the kitchen, have been using it in so many other ways. If you're having a nice steak dinner or Sunday roast, try mixing some trahana with spinach and herbs to revamp the traditional Greek dish of spanakorizo, using my recipe. It's an easy way to get your carbs & veggies in a single side dish, and adding more variety to your table.
You can also spice up traditional trahana soup using the magical touch of Elli & Manos Flaming Red Pepper Greek Flavor Burst, and suddenly you have an easy entree for your dressy dinner. I'd love to hear more about what you're doing to make meals special - send me your pictures or tag @zelosgreekartisan on your social media posts, we'd love to try them!
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