Friday, July 31, 2009

Tomato Vegetable Soup with Rice

This is my take on Lydia Bastianich's famous Potato Rice Soup that uses a Parmigiano-Reggiano Rind for flavor. I've made it into a rainy-day-at-the-Cape tomato soup, switched out the celery (which I never have in the fridge) for fennel (which I always have in the fridge) and cut back on the rice so the leftovers don't turn to sludge overnight. This is a hearty soup. It would be terrific pureed, as all tomato soups are, and, in fact, that might just be the key to reviving the leftovers now that I think of it...

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 small red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 large carrots, diced large
1/2 cup fennel, diced large
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup leftover French onion soup (obviously, this was what was on hand. Next time, I'd probably increase the chicken broth by half a cup, and saute half an onion, diced large, with the other vegetables.)
4 cups hot chicken broth
2 2-inch-squares Parmigiano rind, exterior scraped
1 fresh or dried bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley or spinach (optional)

1. In a deep, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Potatoes will stick to pot; adjust heat to prevent stuck bits from becoming too dark. Stir in carrots and celery and cook, stirring, another 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables.

2. Add broth, onion soup, Parmigiano rinds and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, scraping up bits of potato on bottom, then simmer. Cover pot and cook until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 40 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until rice is tender but still firm, about 12 minutes. Remove bay leaves, stir in parsley or other green leafy chiffonade (if desired), and check seasoning. Remove rinds and cut into small pieces. Put a piece in each soup bowl and ladle soup on top. Serves 4-6

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Restaurant-ish Pasta

More pasta. Its not all we're eating...really! I just can't find time to blog lately. I'll get around to writing up the fragrant keema mattar, velvety chocolate bread pudding, pickled beets, pineapple zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting and fabulous lemon chicken sometime soon, but for right now, with my preliminary literature review due at 9am and a long night of blurry-eyed proofreading ahead, I will just note that tonight's pasta was spectacular, if I do say so myself. Layers of flavor, good balance and pretty to look at. Bill ate himself into a food coma and passed out on the couch, indicating that perhaps this dish is a little too "restaurant-ish" for every day usage.

3 cloves garlic
1 scallion
6 sun dried tomatoes
hefty glug of white wine
juice of one lemon
olive oil
spoonful of chicken fat
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 T pesto
large handful of shrimp, sheeled and deveined
red pepper flakes
handful frozen peas
2 T pesto
copious amount of chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
pesto bread crumbs

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Linguini a la Campagnola

I used to live down the block from a little neighborhood Italian restaurant where they make this dish: a fantastically savory pasta in garlic and oil with sun dried tomatoes, perfectly sauteed broccoli and a hunk of broiled goat cheese to swirl into the mix.

I made a double batch, thinking we'd eat the leftover portion for lunch the next day, but BT went back for fourths, until finally all that remained was an empty pan. Instructions to follow.

sundried tomatoes
goat cheese
salt and pepper


Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Ice Cream

Cook the eggs or don't cook the eggs - that part's entirely up to you. But make this ice cream. Make it without any further delay.
This is my ideal strawberry ice cream, exactly as is.
(The only element I might play around with in the future is maybe mixing everything in the blender for easier pouring and fewer bowls to wash.)

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl, and set aside to macerate in the fridge for 1 hour. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 3/4 cups sugar, mixing well. Stir in milk and vanilla and mix well. Mash strawberries to a puree. Add the strawberry puree to the custard and mix well. Gently stir in whipping cream just until combined. Pour into a chilled ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rotelli, Asparagus and Peas with Saffron Cream

Unable to leave well enough alone, I made a number of strategic changes to (an already perfectly good) recipe from Deborah Madison's The Greens Cookbook. (Not using any saffron in the saffron cream, for one thing...!)

Madison writes: "The peas are small and fresh, the asparagus, pencil thin. The fragrant saffron-flavored cream makes this pasta filling and substantial. This is a rather special dish, fine for a company dinner." I most wholeheartedly agree.

4 - 6 ounces fresh pasta (tagliatelle or wide fettuccine would be ideal.
1/2 bunch asparagus
1 cup green peas
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon butter
2 scallions finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 thin strip lemon peel; very thinly slivered
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Melt the butter in a wide saute pan, and gently cook the shallots for several minutes, or until they are soft. Add the cream and the saffron infusion, bring to a boil, reduce slightly, and season with salt. When the pasta water is boiling, add salt, and cook the asparagus, and then the peas, in the boiling water. Scoop them out when they are done and add them to the cream. Next cook the pasta; when it is done, add it to the cream, turning it over several times with a pair of tongs to coat it with the sauce. Add the chervil leaves and the lemon peel, and serve on warm plates with grated Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.

Serves 2