Cook’s Corner

Brio shares recipe for popular penne pasta dish


Sleuth’s Corner

Q. My mother used to make a brownie recipe from the “Woman’s Home Companion” cookbook she received as a wedding present in 1941. I somehow misplaced the book and now my brother and I would love to find the recipe. Mom used to call them Fudgies. They had evaporated milk and were dusted with powdered sugar. I hope one of your readers has it.

Diane Friedberg , Miami Beach

Main dish

Brio Tuscan Grill’s Penne Mediterranean

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 ounces cremini (or button) mushrooms

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

4 tablespoons julienned basil

4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes

4 tablespoons chopped onion

3/4 cup vegetable stock

8 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, divided

8 tablespoons herb butter (see note)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound penne pasta, cooked

1 1/2 cups raw spinach

4 teaspoons pine nuts

Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, garlic, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and onions, stirring, until onions begin to caramelize. Add stock, 4 tablespoons of the feta and the herb butter. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat pasta in hot water, drain and add gradually to pan along with spinach. Stir to combine. Divide into 4 serving bowls. Garnish with remaining feta and pine nuts. Makes 4 servings.

Herb butter: Mix 1 stick softened, unsalted butter with 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon each chopped fresh thyme, parsley and basil and a dash each kosher salt and ground pepper. May be made ahead and refrigerated, covered.

Per serving: 810 calories (46 percent from fat), 42g fat (19.4 g saturated, 10.7 g monounsaturated), 78 mg cholesterol, 20 g protein, 90 g carbohydrates, 5.1 g fiber, 414 mg sodium.

Main Dish

Cooking Planit’s Crispy Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce

1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs

4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped, divided

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

2 tablespoons capers

1 cup flour

2 large eggs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

Pour crumbs into a shallow, wide bowl. Trim parsley leaves from stems and finely chop to measure the indicated amount. Add half to the bowl of crumbs and reserve the other half for the caper sauce. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice into a small bowl to measure the indicated amount. Measure out the capers and strain from the liquid.

Pour flour into a shallow, wide bowl. Crack eggs into another shallow, wide bowl and whisk to combine well. Line up the three bowls: flour, eggs and bread crumbs. Set a clean platter near the crumbs.

Dry the chicken cutlets thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Dredge 1 chicken cutlet in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off excess, then transfer to the egg. Coat both sides again, shake off excess, then transfer to the crumbs. Coat both sides, shake off excess, then transfer to the clean platter. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.

Prepare a platter with layers of paper towels. Set plate near the stove for the chicken. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Once butter is melted and oil is hot, gently add the breaded chicken cutlets. Oil should sizzle when you add the chicken. Cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then flip, and cook another 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through. Do not crowd the pan. Work in batches if necessary. Transfer the cooked chicken to the plate of paper towels. Save the pan. Once you remove the chicken cutlets from the heat, cover loosely with foil while you prepare the sauce.

Place the chicken pan back over medium heat. Add white wine and use a spoon to scrape up caramelized bits from bottom of the pan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until wine is reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once the wine has reduced, whisk in the remaining butter. Add butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring until the butter melts, then whisking in another tablespoon until all the butter is incorporated. Whisk in the lemon juice, capers and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Transfer one chicken cutlet to each dinner plate. Spoon the lemon-caper sauce over each cutlet and serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 645 calories (35 percent from fat), 24.5 g fat (10.5 g saturated, 8.6 g monounsaturated), 256 mg cholesterol, 58g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 512 mg sodium.


Nicaraguan Tres Leches Cake


9 eggs, separated

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder


3 egg yolks

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 pint heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon rum or liqueur (optional)


1 cup light corn syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 egg whites

Generously grease a 9- by-13-inch pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the 9 egg whites until stiff; set aside. Beat the sugar with the 9 egg yolks until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and milk, then the flour and finally the baking powder. Fold egg whites into the batter. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly touched in center. Set aside on a cooling rack. (It’s OK if cake falls somewhat.)

To make the filling, beat the 3 egg yolks for 1 minute at high speed with an electric mixer. (Use pasteurized eggs if salmonella is a concern.) Add the evaporated and condensed milks, the cream, vanilla and rum. Beat well.

When the cake has cooled, pierce the top all over with a fork or skewer. Slowly pour the filling mixture onto the cake, allowing it to soak in without running over the sides.

To make the meringue, mix 1/2 cup water, corn syrup and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until mixture reaches 227 degrees on a thermometer, or will spin a thread when drizzled from a spoon (about 30 minutes). Beat egg whites until very stiff. Slowly beat syrup into egg whites, whisking constantly while pouring syrup in a steady stream. Allow to cool slightly, then spread on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate cake at least 2 hours; it should be served very cold. Makes 20 servings.

Per serving: 195 calories (40 percent from fat), 8.9 g fat (5.5 g saturated, 2.6 g monounsaturated), 33 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 29 mg sodium.

Q. I love the Mediterranean pasta dish at Brio, and would love to make it when my sister, who is vegetarian, comes to visit. Can you get them to share the recipe?


It turns out you are not alone — it is one of the more popular menu items for the Northern Italian chain, which incidentally just opened its latest South Florida outlet at The Falls. I’ve adapted Brio’s recipe for home use.

Q. I lost the recipe for tres leches cake that I cut out of The Herald many years ago. Is there a way to obtain it?

Cristy Montiel

If you click “Recipes” at, you can find all the recipes that have appeared in the newspaper over the past three months. And if you have a public library card (such as Miami-Dade County’s) that provides access to the Newsbank database, you can use it to search our electronic archives, which date to 1982.

That said, I am always happy to reprise a much-loved recipe. When we first published the Nicaraguan dessert recipe in the 1980s, it was not yet well-known. A Cook’s Corner reader translated it from a Spanish-language cookbook, and after making the tedious meringue topping the first time, I suggested using marshmallow cream instead. I soon saw that suggestion popping up in many cookbooks!

Tried and new

I love browsing through cookbooks, but when I’m in a hurry, I’ve found a new app that can be a big help. Once you choose a meal, Cooking Planit gives you a shopping list and step-by-step instructions so everything is ready at the same time. It will even adjust for dietary needs and ingredient preferences. Best of all, it is free at If you want to synch it with your iPhone or iPad, you can buy a version at the iTunes Store ($2.99-$4.99).

The chicken with lemon recipe here, perfect for spring, is from the site. The recipes are painstakingly written for novices, with every step outlined. Seasoned cooks may find that tedious, but beginners will love it.

Send questions and responses to or Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. Personal replies are not possible.

Read more Cook's Corner stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Ultimate: </span>For Labor Day, follow our tips to create the Ultimate Burger.

    Cook’s Corner

    Pro tip: Indent your burgers for even Labor Day grilling

    At a recent gathering around the grill at Clearwater Beach, my sister-in-law plopped burger patties with a big depression in the center onto the grill. I asked why, and she said, “I saw it on the Internet; makes a better burger.”

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Easy picadillo empanadas: </span>Cut the fat by using ground turkey instead of beef.

    Cook’s Corner

    Pinto beans in cake? Sounds crazy, tastes delicious

    Several readers sent in their favorite recipes for spice cake made with pinto beans.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Fit for a king: </span>This cheesy chicken casserole gets its name from King Ranch in Texas.

    Cook’s Corner

    A new generation discovers Tex-Mex chicken casserole

    Q. I used to make one of your recipes all the time when my children were in elementary school and we were always having to take a dish to PTA potlucks. It was easy and everyone loved it — a Tex-Mex thing with chicken. I remember it fed a bunch from a single chicken.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category