Tag Archives: pesto

i8tonite: with Chef Thomas Gosney featuring Kale Pesto Chicken and Zucchini Pasta


One day in 1994, former Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal – then with the Orlando Magic — found instant gratification in a hotel club sandwich.  It was Chef Thomas Gosney who made that double-decker and on the spot O’Neal hired him as his personal chef. The first thing Gosney implemented on O’Neal’s diet was a change to a diet of athletic performance, high-carb and protein, so the basketball player had the energy and thought processes to stay in the game. Throughout their time which included winning several championships, Gosney was able to keep Shaq away from his fast food fix. While working for the basketballer, Gosney become such a staple to the Lakers and  O’Neal that he was given his own NBA championships rings to prove his time working with the mighty “Shaq”.  At one time, they had planned on writing a cookbook together.

Red Thai Curry Shrimp

After O’Neal, along with too many flights and hotels – Gosney stayed in Scottsdale to raise a family. His next and second client had 26 different food allergies. “Cooking for him”, stated Gosney, “was not a lesson in micro-gastronomy but in foods that would taste good without creating a reaction.” Hence, food became science which was incredibly low in processing and high sugar carbs, but prodigious in natural ingredients; essentially, it was Paleo without naming it as such. Gosney liked the term nutritional cutting edge cuisine.  He felt that these words conveyed eating well and deliciously without stigmatizing the specialized menu or making people fear healthy-eating.

With only two clients over 22 years, Gosney wanted to create a thought-provoking cookbook on eating and cooking. He came up with a Method of Procedure, a term about the process of cooking well. These are the recipes he designed with both of his clients in mind.  Smart guy.

How long have you been cooking? Thirty years.

What is your favorite food to cook? Nutritional cutting edge cuisine.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Kim chi, fresh pickles, coconut cream, a ton of vegetables and flax milk.

What do you cook at home? All kind of ethnic foods, depending on my mood.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? Someone who is open to try new things, experienced in cuisine, and shows a passion for what they like.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? Boring, closed minded and just likes boneless chicken breast.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Definitely, Pyrex. No plastic, please!!

Beer, wine or cocktail? A good micro-brew like Telluride Face Down Brown.

Face Down Brown

Your favorite cookbook author? James Beard, both in theory and practice.

Your favorite kitchen tool? Kitchen Aid with all the attachments. Very versatile.

Your favorite ingredient? Onions. They are needed in almost any savory dish.

Onions, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1840 – 1919 (Kimball Museum of Art)

Your least favorite ingredient? Caviar. Simple to serve and you really don’t need a chef to enjoy eating it.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Haven’t found one yet.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Korean, French, Italian. Healthy. No high-sugar carbs.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu? Beef, definitely, or bison

Painting by Nancy Glazer

Favorite vegetable? Fennel.

Chef you most admire? Thomas Keller.

Food you like the most to eat? Comfort food.

Food you dislike the most? Sushi, so easy to make, hate eating it out.  I think it is a rip-off. All you need is fresh fish.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? None. You got the wrong guy for that or maybe it just wasn’t my era.

Kale Pesto Chicken with Zucchini Pasta

Kale Pesto Chicken w/ Zucchini Pasta (excerpted from Method of Procedure by Thomas Gosney)

“Kale pesto can be used for many different things. If you’re not a kale person, I urge you to try this recipe. You might be surprised. This is one way to eat kale without making salad. The spiral cutters (for the pasta) are easily obtainable and are really fun to use. Once you get one you will use it all the time. There is also a vegetable peeler that creates the same result. The zucchini pasta is excellent and you’ll never miss the traditional, but you can use the real stuff as well. I love them both.”


4  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, leave whole

1 tbsp. vegetable oil


2 cups kale, stems removed

1 cup fresh basil

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. pine nuts, can substitute walnuts

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup water

2 tbsp. grated pecorino romano cheese, can substitute vegan rice parmesan cheese

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper


3med. Zucchini, cut into spiral pasta shape, or julienne cut into long lengthwise slices

1 onion, julienne, cut

1 red bell pepper, julienne cut

10  sugar Snap Peas, stringed and cut in half lengthwise

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. fresh chopped garlic

½ tsp. kosher salt or to taste

½ tsp. fresh ground Black Pepper

1 tbsp. fresh chopped chives or green onion

Place kale, basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, water, cheese, salt and pepper in blender. Blend on high until everything is pureed smooth and creamy. You might need to stop blender once or twice to get the basil and kale to incorporate. Take ½ cup of pesto and place into mixing bowl. Add chicken breast and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator while you chop the vegetables. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat vegetable oil in sauté pan over medium high heat. Sear chicken breast for 2 minutes and turn over. Place into preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. While the breasts are in the oven, heat olive oil in another sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions until browned. Add red bell pepper, sugar snap peas, and zucchini. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper, Pour remaining kale pesto and toss lightly, place onto serving dish. When chicken is cooked remove from pan and let rest 4-5 minutes. Slice chicken on an angle and place over top zucchini pasta. Sprinkle chives over top. You can grate additional romano cheese for our liking. Serves 4 pp.

 – The End. Go Eat. –

Next week: Chef Joey Companaro, New York City’s The Little Owl

i8tonite: Spring Arugula Pesto with Spaghetti and Crisped Prosciutto (adapted from Hugh Acheson’s “The Broad Fork”)

I wish life were as easy as a recipe. Someone writes out the ingredients, measurements and methodology for creating the dish and I just follow it. I don’t think. My mind shuts off. I chop this, stir that and in the end, I have something delicious like a happy life.

I’ve never been a follower and I don’t mean that in a complimentary way. There is something infinitely courageous about the common worker. The individual who knows that they want security, a home and safe place. None of which I knew about when I ventured out in the world. There is no recipe for living.

That’s what I love about cooking. It makes me follow simple directions. I stop thinking and follow a direct path. I don’t drink like I used to when cooking. I found that I burned things. Besides, drinking and cooking, in my humble opinion, don’t really mix. At the table, when it’s all plated and everyone is seated, I feel that the libations are great for social lubricating; yet when cooking, I need my unbridled consciousness. I need to see the freshness. Taste the seasons. Hear the sizzling. Smell the aroma. Feel the food as it snaps. It is a sensuous experience. For me, cooking is in the moment, not on the periphery.

It’s why I seek out simple dishes to recreate with few but quality ingredients located at my markets. For just an unfettered moment, I can take my favorite lettuce, arugula, and turn it into a lusty, verdant sauce. Its peppery essence is intoxicating when pureed with olive oil, biting garlic and salty Reggiano.  Dressed over room-temperature or leftover chilled pasta, a little more grated cheese and toasted pine nuts. It’s a perfect for meal for an outdoor supper when the heat of the day has been turned down and the fervent emotions ready to be shut off.

I can chew my noodles with abandon, sip rosé and wish that life were as easy as a recipe (especially Acheson’s Arugula Pesto).

Arugula Pesto, adapted from Hugh Acheson’s “The Broad Fork”. (June 2015 Cookbook)

Spaghetti with Arugula, Pesto, Crisped Prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve 4.

Sea salt

¼ cup of pine nuts (or walnuts…I did say adapted)

4 cups arugula (preferably from the farmers market or CSA. It has a lot more pepper in the bite. However if you can only get stuff in plastic…nothing wrong with it. It’s good to eat your vegetables from any source.)

2 garlic cloves

1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Couple turns of fresh cracked pepper

3 ice cubes

¾ cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 pound spaghetti

2 pieces of prosciutto (or salami. Acheson’s recipes calls for the salami. I didn’t have any and I wasn’t about to go out to market for the umpteenth time, so I used the ham. Shoot me.)

  1. In a large stockpot bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water enough so you can taste it.
  2. Toast nuts in a skillet until lightly browned. Take two-thirds (eyeball it) for the pesto, the rest for garnishing. Place on the side for cooling.
  3. In a food processor or blender, combine the arugula, the two-thirds pine nuts, garlic, grated cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper and the ice cubes. Puree on high for 30 seconds. Using the chute, with the motor running and the olive oil in a slow drizzle. Scrape everything down the sides until all the leaves are in the pesto, creating a smooth sauce. Stir in the lemon zest and put aside.
  4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, stir immediately and then cook to al dente. (If you made your own pasta…Good for you. Use that.) Drain into a colander and chill down with cold water. Turn into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir. Add the pesto until coating all the pasta evenly.
  5. While the pasta cooks, add a little olive oil to a pan and crisp up the prosciutto, like bacon. Drain on a paper towel.
  6. Shave some of the cheese, chopped arugula, prosciutto and pine nuts to the top and serve-up family-style. (Or divide into 4 bowls.) (Lately, I’m really into family-style serving and letting people help themselves.)

Arugla Pesto