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   Monday, May 26, 2003

LOCAL RESTAURANT RECIPES
Thought You'd Never Ask

Giovanni's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria's Chicken Sorrentino

Bit of flaming drama creates 1-dish entrée

Published March 6, 2003

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 Thought You'd Never Ask

One pan and one memorable meal is a pair of aces for any cook.

This week's restaurant recipe request hits both marks. We received several letters asking for the recipe for Giovanni's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria's Chicken Sorrentino. When we saw this one-dish entrée meal come together, it was easy to see why it's such a popular menu item.

Near the end of the preparation, the chef flambés the ingredients to infuse the flavors. This dramatic method of food presentation involves adding alcohol to foods, which, after warming, is ignited just before serving. In this case, the elixir is dry sherry.

Chefs are experts at deftly tilting pans and working with flaming foods. At home, caution is urged and -- if you are at all intimidated by the idea -- skip the ignition and simply let the sherry cook into the sauce. The flavor will be the same.

At home, avoid wearing lacy cuffs or items of clothing that might easily catch fire or be near the flambéed item. Always be sure that the item you are flambéing is not placed too close to flammable items as well. Be sure that the food and the liquor are both warm before you use them to flambé.

Giovanni's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria's Chicken Sorrentino

Yield: 1 serving.

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 ounces chicken breast, cut into 3 pieces

Flour for dredging chicken

1 tablespoon freshly chopped shallots

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/3 cup dry sherry wine

1 piece fried eggplant, cut into 3 pieces

1/4 cup beef broth

1/8 cup chicken broth

Sliced mozzarella

1. Heat vegetable oil in a sauté pan. Dredge chicken in flour. Place chicken in hot pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown. Drain off excess oil. Return chicken is returned to pan and heat source.

2. Add chopped shallots and butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Carefully pour in sherry. Carefully flambé the pan ingredients. Skip the flambéing, if desired. Flavor result will be the same.

3. When flames subside, add fried eggplant. Add beef broth and chicken broth. Lef mixture simmer until the liquid reaches a sauce consistency.

4. Place a piece of mozzarella on top of each piece of chicken. Cover pan for a few seconds to melt cheese.

Nutrition information per serving
Calories540Fat28.7 (10 sat.)Carbohydrate16 gCholesterol134 mgSodium1,225 mgProtein52 g

The demo

Step 1: Chicken is dredged in flour, then sautéed in vegetable oil.

Step 2: Chopped shallots are added to pan after excess oil is drained off.

Step 3: The chef carefully flambés the ingredients to infuse flavors.

Step 4: Slices of mozzarella cheese are placed on top of the chicken.

Equipment list

Large sauté pan with lid

Shallow pan for dredging chicken

Spatula

Serving plates

About this restaurant

Giovanni's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria has three Central Florida locations: 21915 Aloma Ave. (Winter Park Corners), Winter Park, 407-673-8800; 4250 Alafaya Trail (University Palms Shopping Center), Oviedo, 407-359-5900; 2140 S. Chickasaw Trail (Chickasaw Trails Shopping Center), Orlando, 321-235-9600. Visitors can dine-in or choose takeout. The menu of Italian favorites includes baked pastas, pastas with sauces, pizzas, calzones and chicken, veal and seafood specialties. "There is enough variety to make it a frequent takeout stop," says Orlando Sentinel restaurant critic Scott Joseph. For more information, check out giovannisrestaurant.com.

Heather McPherson

A video version of this recipe can be seen on CFN13, a Time Warner Cable affiliate. The recipe is posted at orlandosentinel.com as well. Send your restaurant recipe requests to "Thought You'd Never Ask," 633 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801 or hmcpherson@orlandosentinel.com.

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