From time to time, you might notice the word “braised” when looking at the meat dishes on restaurant menus. It sounds kind of fancy, but if it were translated into plain English, it would just say “meat seared on the stovetop, then transferred to the oven with some liquid to finish cooking.” It’s a super flavorful way to eat meat, to be sure, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I make quick braises several nights a week for dinner.
Here, I’ve created a take on caprese (an Italian salad of tomato, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil) by searing some chicken thighs in my trusty cast iron skillet, then finishing them off in the oven, nestled into Red Gold Whole Peeled Tomatoes. The chicken is finished with luscious slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and torn basil leaves.
This meal wouldn’t be complete without a side of pasta, or in this case “pasta” that is really zucchini run through a spiralizer. When my husband and I vacationed in Rome, I was totally obsessed with cacio e pepe, which translates to just pasta with cheese and pepper. So simple, but so good. I tossed my zucchini noodles with Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses, and lots and lots of black pepper.
The tomatoes are of utmost importance when it comes to anything caprese. When I’m using canned tomatoes, I am always reaching for Red Gold. This fourth generation family-owned company pick their tomatoes at the peak of freshness and can them in as little as three hours, ensuring the best quality. I recently did a side-by-side comparison of Red Gold vs. one of their competitors, and the difference was quite clear.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Home Chef Tip: When searing meat on the stovetop, don't flip until the meat tells you it's ready, no matter what any recipe says. If the meat doesn't easily release from the skillet when you try to turn it, it's NOT ready to be turned. Give it another minute and try again, until the meat easily releases from the skillet for you to flip it.
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Disclosure: As a Red Gold Ambassador, this was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the brand. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.