Friday, April 10, 2015

How Corning Ware Does Italian - Shells in Mushroom & Leek Cream Sauce

This is one of those base recipes that can be altered as needed....  While I will admit, it is a little bit on the "rich" side.  Simply substitute pre-cooked Chicken or Turkey for the Mushrooms and you are good to go.  It's even delicious with Crab Meat.

It's the Leek's fault, you know.  Leeks play well with everybody and everything.  They are the most affable of ingredients.  They even help bring ingredients together that would normally clash...   The great mediators of the culinary world. 

Lumaconi Al Porro y Funghi

(Little Snails with Leeks and Mushrooms)

2 TB Unsalted Butter
8 oz Leeks, halved and sliced
4 oz Shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
4 oz Cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1 tsp Porcini Powder (Super Secret Weapon)
1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
16 oz Lumaconi (small snail shells, but "regular" shells - Conchiglie - will work too)
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
optional - finely chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley - for serving

 Lumaconi - Little Snail Shells

Corning Ware 4 quart (A-84-B) - This wide & low sided dish is excellent for tossing pasta (The P-84 is deeper)
Corning Ware 5 quart (A-5-B) - Gotta boil that pasta in something

Fill the A-5-B with 4 quarts of Water and bring to a boil over high flame.

Melt butter in the A-84-B, set over medium flame.

When the butter is hot, add the Leeks and Kosher Salt, sauteing until soft.

Add Shitake & Cremini Mushrooms cooking until they begin to give up their liquid.

Meanwhile, drop the Lumaconi into salted boiling water, reduce the flame to medium high and cook until al dente (about 9 minutes)

When the Leeks & Mushrooms are soft, add the Chicken Stock and let it reduce by half.

Add the Heavy Cream and reduce the flame, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 3 minutes.

Add Porcini Powder to the Heavy Cream and simmer for 1 minute more.

Remove the A-84-B from the flame and season the sauce with Cracked Pepper (and salt, if necessary).

Drain the Lumaconi and add them to the sauce in the A-84-B.

Toss until well coated and the sauce thickens a little more, due to the free starch on the outside of the pasta.

Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and chopped parsley if desired.....

Where is your Corning Ware??

Friday, April 3, 2015

U is for Unsolved Mystery - U-series Corning Ware

The time has come...    I have only mentioned the U-Series Corning Ware pieces in my ABCs of Corning Ware post, up until now.  Simply because, at the time of writing, the only piece I had seen was a 5 quart (U-5) piece on eBay.  No other information was available at the time.  Neither of the books mention this particular series and the Internet is devoid of anything resembling informative data.   At the time, I assumed that it might have been a Crockpot insert or something.

Well, new information has come to light, finally.  So now it's time for some theorizing and postulation utilizing the  small amount of data available.

I found a U-1-B at the thrift store.  So now I know for sure that the U-5 was not just a crockpot insert, this really was a full on line of cookware.

Interestingly, I noticed that the U-1-B is a dead ringer for the N-1-B Rangetopper.

 (Rangetopper left; U-series right)

This piece did not come with a lid, but I assumed it was suppose to have a P-81-C lid, like the Rangetopper equivalent, however, it seemed loose.  So I dug out my Rangetopper (N-1-B) and checked the lid on that one.
It is loose too, and I know that is the proper lid for that piece.

Thus, I am to assume that the lids for these pieces are just a little on he loose side. Since there is the same amount of sideways movement on both pieces.

 (Rangetopper with lid, notice the right side lip of the saucepan is exposed)

(U-series with lid, notice the right side lip of the saucepan is exposed, just like on the Rangetopper above)

I had begun to think that these may be a special white version of the Aluminum encapsulated style of Rangetopper.  But that theory was blown out the window when I got my hands on a U-1 1/2-B in it's original box and it's original lid (P-83-C).  Which is the same lid used on the 1 1/2 quart Rangetopper, by the way.

The box, as you can see, clearly states... "Rangetop, Microwave, Oven, Freezer, and Table".  So these pieces do NOT have aluminum in them.

So now we know several things.
  1. The U-series is not just a single 5 quart Crock pot insert.
  2. The U-series is modeled after the Rangetopper N-series, but devoid of Aluminum.
  3. The lid on the U-1 1/2 us a P-83-B (same as the Rangetopper lid for the N-1 1/2-B)
  4. The lid on the U-1-B is more than likely the P-81-C. (same as the Rangetopper N-1-B)
  5. The pyroceram handles are not rounded like the later S-series (Rangetop line) which were based on Visions shapes.
  6. The measurements on the saucepans are in "Liters" not quarts, thus they are from the 80s after the switch, which I know for sure was in place by 1984 and probably a little earlier.
  7. Rangetoppers were discontinued by 1984.
  8. The Rangetop line (S-series) did not make an appearance until 1988.

From all this information, I must conclude that the U-series, though it appears to have only come in white, was used to fill a marketing gap. Produced from 1983-1987 from the RangeTopper molds, without the Aluminum cladding, until the S-series Visions style Rangetop pieces were released in 1988.  It's completely possible that the "U" stands for "Unclad"; since they are basically RangeTopper pieces without aluminum, making them safe for Microwave useage.

That is my current theory...   If anyone has any more information, I would greatly appreciate it.

Where is your Corning Ware??
Wow that was fast...!  New information has already surfaced within 10 minutes of posting...  Thanks to Jennifer in Florida.  It appears that the Christmas pattern piece from 1983 was a U-series piece...

So, it appears that the U-series was around by December of 1983 and available to Corning Employees.  My assumption is that it hit the mainstream market as soon as January of 1984.