Chelsea La Valle's Walnut Crusted Monkfish with Great Northern Bean Puree

  • Images from the Daily Herald Cook of the Week Challenge 2015 Finale at Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca. The dish prepared by Chelsea LaValle of Deer Park.

      Images from the Daily Herald Cook of the Week Challenge 2015 Finale at Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca. The dish prepared by Chelsea LaValle of Deer Park. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Posted11/19/2015 12:14 PM

For the Monkfish

1 cup walnuts


For the fish

1 pound monk fish fillets

salt and pepper

½ cup butter

For the puree

1 can Great Northern Beans, drained

Zest of 1½ lemons

Juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup chicken stock

For the fettuccine

3⅓ cups all-purpose flour

4 whole eggs, 1 yolk

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

For the Italian Sausage and Bell Pepper Skhug Sauce

4 slices prosciutto

3 tablespoons olive oil

¾ pound loose Italian sausage

2 red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch strips

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

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4 tablespoons fresh basil, slice into thin strips, chiffonade, separated

6 tablespoons skhug

Zest of 1 lemon

⅔ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese

For the walnuts: Place 1 cup walnut pieces in dry skillet over medium heat. Cook until toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool. Chop until fine; set aside.

For the fish: Trim fish and cut into portions. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Place fish pieces into pan and sauté, turning half way during cooking process, and basting with butter in pan approximately 10 minutes, or until fish is no longer opaque and cooked through.

Remove from pan and drain on plate. Brush fish fillets generously with bean puree and top with toasted walnuts.

For the Great Northern Bean Puree: Combine beans, lemon zest and juice, salt, olive oil and cream in blender and puree until smooth. With motor running, gradually add chicken stock. Adjust seasoning to taste.


For the pasta: Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add eggs and egg yolk. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. The dough will come together in loose mass when about half of the flour is incorporated. Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands, and incorporate remaining flour. Form dough into a ball adding a little water as necessary; dough should be elastic and a little sticky.

Pour olive oil in a medium size bowl and coat sides. Place dough in bowl, cover with a dish towel, and set aside for 20 minutes to rest at room temperature.

Section the dough into approximately 8 pieces and roll each section with rolling pin to approximately ¼-inch thickness. Using a pasta roller (in my case a KitchenAid mixer pasta roller) begin feeding dough through machine, adjusting thickness as appropriate. The final feed should be at the number 3 setting.

Dust flattened sheets with a little flour and carefully roll by hand into a log form. Using a sharp knife, cut roll into fettuccine sized width. Unroll and separate individual noodles.

Add uncooked noodles to rapidly boiling salted water and cook 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of your pasta.

For the sauce: Slice prosciutto into slices and fry in small skillet until crispy. Set aside for garnish.

In large skillet, heat olive oil. Add peppers, onions, salt and pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add sausage to pepper mixture, stirring frequently in order to break sausage into small pieces, until browned approximately 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons fresh basil, skhug, and stir to combine and simmer 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and mascarpone, stirring to thoroughly incorporate. Add cooked pasta, stirring to coat pasta with sauce.

To plate: Place a generous portion of pasta and sauce in center of plate, swirling pasta. Top with monkfish fillet that has been brushed with bean puree and topped with toasted walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with crunchy prosciutto and basil chiffonade.

-- Chelsea La Valle

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