Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

Pasta e Fagoli Soup

This soup is really good.  It is so good that BK, in fact, calls it “Crack Soup” because I can’t stop eating it.   Left to my own devices if BK is not home to give me a stern look, I will eat it until my stomach is killing me.

The funny thing is that I didn’t used to think this soup was so good.  When I was young and single and ate onions, I used to carefully spoon the bacon drippings out of the soup pot so it would be healthier.  Then BK and I got married and I figured I’d be splitting the bacon drippings with someone else, so I’d just leave them in.  Well, let me tell you: it makes *all* the difference!!  Leave the bacon drippings in, in the name of all that is good in the world!!

Many times, “soup for dinner” meals are disappointing because the soup just isn’t hearty enough to make a meal.  This one is though…the beans and pasta will fill you up.  It’s also very good as leftovers, but the pasta soaks up a ton of the broth, so I like to add more water when I’m reheating.

Visit Taste and Tell’s Saturdays with Rachael Ray for more delicious recipes!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
⅛ pound (3 slices) pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 (4- to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact, or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
coarse salt and pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or great northern beans
1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 quart chicken stock
1½ cups ditalini
grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
crusty bread, for mopping

Directions:

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta or bacon.  Brown the pancetta or bacon bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic.  Season vegetables with salt and pepper.  Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high.  Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta.  Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.  Rosemary and thyme leaves may separate from stems as soup cooks; remove stems and bay leaves.  Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese.  Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.

Slightly adapted from The Food Network, Rachael Ray.

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Gazpacho

Growing up and through college, I had gazpacho every once in a while.  It always sounded nice and refreshing, but was also always disappointing.  It mostly tasted like salsa, not soup, and although I love salsa, I didn’t really want it for dinner.

After college, I went to what is now my favorite restaurant: Jaleo.  I had their gazpacho and it changed my life.  It was delicious!  I wanted to lick the bowl (I may actually have).

And in another life-altering moment, the local paper published Jaleo’s gazpacho recipe a few years ago.  Turns out that the secret ingredient (or maybe not so secret?  maybe I was the only one unaware of this?) is olive oil.  The olive oil is what takes gazpacho from salsa to soup, from pureed vegetables to creamy refinement, from “eh” to “oh my.”  So try this recipe as soon as possible…it tastes like summer.

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cores removed and coarsely chopped
3 ounces green pepper, coarsely chopped
½ medium cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt to taste
diced tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber for garnish

Directions:

Puree the vegetables with the garlic and sherry vinegar (I use my blender rather than food processor…it does a better job of pureeing).  Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds and skins (I sometimes skip this step because I am lazy…you can definitely taste the seeds and skins, but its not a huge deal).  Return to blender and blend in oil and salt.  Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 45 minutes.  Serve garnished with diced tomatoes, pepper and cucumber.

Source: Jaleo restaurant via The Washington Post.

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