Tuscan White Bean Soup
Tuscan White Bean Soup
Tuscan White Bean Soup
A delicious twist on a classic Italian dish. What more can I say?
8 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 chicken breasts, thin works best
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup Italian herb bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
optional: thinly sliced lemon for garnish
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix hot, cooked pasta with 1/4 cup olive oil and lemon zest. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Place pasta in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Beat egg in a bowl.
In a separate bowl or on a plate, mix together bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Dip the chicken breasts in egg, then into bread crumb mixture. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Place chicken on top of pasta. Garnish with lemon slices if desired. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is completely cooked (if not already done), and cheese is melted.
Cacio e Pepe
(Modified from America’s Test Kitchen)
1/2 lb. spaghetti, linguine or other similar pasta
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Bring 2 quarts of water and salt to a boil. Cook pasta until desired tenderness in reached. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of cooking liquid.
Mix together cooking liquid, cheese, cream, and oil. Toss with pasta. Sprinkle with pepper before serving.
Serve immediately. Top with additional cheese if desired.
My extreme laziness even extended into the kitchen where dinner was assembled and put into my slow cooker around noon and eaten at 6. There is nothing nicer to accompany a lazy Sunday than a good, old-fashioned Sunday Roast Beef dinner.
Slow Cooker Italian Roast
3-4 lb roast beef
1 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 red onion, cut into smell wedges
8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup non-sweet red wine
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Rub meat with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, pressing into meat.
Place meat in the bottom of the slow cooker, pour in tomatoes and arrange onion wedges & mushrooms around the meat. Pour in wine.
Cook on low for 6 hours, or until meat is fully cooked. (About 4 hours on high).
Summer is slowly drawing to a close. The sun is beginning to set just a bit earlier. The days are becoming shorter. It is time to make the most of these last few glorious days of bright sunshine and beautiful weather.
It is also time to make the best of the last few garden goodies. I spent last weekend raiding my parents’ garden to get all the beautiful, juicy red tomatoes I could find. The result was over 10 gallons on tomato puree waiting patiently in the freezer for me to process into ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and chili sauce.
The few less than perfectly red tomatoes have been waiting patiently on my counter, getting redder each day, slowly reaching perfection.
Today I needed some comfort food. The good Italian kind that blends all the traditional Italian herbs, garlic, and tomatoes. And of course cheese. Italian food is never complete without some aged parmesan or some mozzarella.
It makes boys happy. It makes coworkers happy. It makes me happy.
Buddy, The Cake Boss, is Italian. Now he is also The Kitchen Boss on TLC.
I watched a couple episodes. Buddy obviously does not count calories.
I am in love.
Real Italian food. Real butter. Real fat on the meat. All the stuff that makes food good. It’s like seeing heaven.
I searched through his recipes on TLC’s website.
I scribbled things down.
I really scribbled. On sticky notes. On Super Sticky Post-It Notes to be exact. These are harder to misplace. They stick around longer. (Lame pun, I know. Oh well.)
I have an addiction to sticky notes. They are handy, they don’t take up a lot of space. I can fit them beside the touch pad on my laptop to write on them.
I have ambitions to organize my recipes. In a neat manner. One that doesn’t use sticky notes.
I write down 3 or 4 recipes a week, sometimes more. I stuff everything into a folder if its good. If its not, I throw it out. I don’t feel bad throwing out a small scrap of paper. I feel more wasteful trashing a whole sheet of paper with a recipe on it. So there are a lot of sticky notes in my folder. All of them are stuck together.
Yesterday, I went hunting for a brownie recipe. I made them almost a year ago. I looked through over 600 sticky notes to find the recipe. Oh my.
I’m working on organizing tomorrow. The end. I am not doing anything until at least 50 recipes are typed into my computer. And printed. And stuck into a binder. Into categories. So I can find them again. Easily.
But I digress.
My dinner, all recipes modified from Buddy Valastro, The Kitchen Boss.
For starters: Orzo Pasta Salad
Side Dish: Stuffed Eggplant
Dessert: Fried Zeppole
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, with a pocket cut into them
1 Hot Italian Sausage Link, casing removed
2 Tbs Onion, minced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1/2 C Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, diced
2 Tomatoes (canned), diced
2 Tbs Fresh Basil, minced
1/2 C White Wine
In a small saute pan, over medium heat, add oil, sausage, onion, and garlic. Break up the sausage as you cook until small crumbles are formed. Cook until sausage is fully cooked and slightly browned.
Mix in breadcrumbs and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 375.
Add in tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Mix well. Divide into two portions.
Stuff mixture into the chicken, closing with toothpicks.
Place the breasts into a baking dish. Pour in wine. Place in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until fully cooked.
Top with Tomato Vinaigrette.
15 oz (about 3 1/4 C) All-Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Dry Active Yeast
9 oz tepid water
1 Tbs Sugar
1/2 C Powdered Sugar
Heat the 9oz of water to 110 degrees. Dissolve 1 Tbs sugar in the water. Add the yeast and allow it to “bloom.”
When the yeast mixture is frothy, use a wooden spoon and combine the yeast with the flour. Stir until the mixture comes together.
Using the dough hook of a stand mixture, continue mixing on medium low speed for approximately 4 minutes. Check the dough, if it’s too dry add a bit more water, if it’s too moist/sticky add a bit more flour.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 7 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise for about an hour.
Turn the dough out onto a light floured surface, press it down to deflate. Form the dough back into a tight ball and allow to rise for another hour.
Heat the vegetable shortening in a deep fryer or cast iron skillet to 375 degrees.
Break off 1-inch round pieces of dough and drop carefully into the oil. Fry until the float and are lightly browned.
Drain on a paper towel for 1-2 minutes.
Place fried dough into a paper bag and add about 1/2 C powdered sugar. Shake to coat evenly.
It’s important to pick a small, young eggplant for this dish.
1 Small Eggplant
3 Whole Tomatoes (canned), diced
3/4 C Fresh Mozzarella, diced
2 Tbs Parsley, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced/pressed
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut eggplant lengthwise. Use a spoon to hollow out the inside of the eggplant. Reserve three-fourth of the innards.
Chop the innards of the eggplant.
In a medium bowl combine chopped eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, garlic, parmesan cheese, and egg. Stir until well incorporated.
Stuff the mixture into the hollowed out eggplants. The mixture should be mounded slightly.
Place in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until the eggplants are cooked and the filling is hot.
Garnish with parsley.
Buddy Valastro makes gorgeous cakes. I can’t do that. I could eat them though.
Now he shows people how to make awesome Italian food. His recipes are to die for. I of course modify them for my personal tastes. I get hungry just watching him make his food.
He doesn’t believe in leaving out the fattening parts of recipes. Tons of butter, fat marbled meats, sugar, and all that other stuff that makes food taste good. I LOVE it.
The other day Buddy made Orzo Pasta Salad. Today, I made Orzo Pasta Salad.
2 C Cooked Orzo Pasta (1 C uncooked)
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbs Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil
1 Tbs Fresh Basil, minced
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
1/2 C Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 C Pine Nuts, Toasted
1/2 C Kalamata Olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and toss immediately with olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, basil, and rosemary. Allow to cool.
Toss pasta with grape tomatoes, pine nuts, olives, and red wine vinegar. Allow to set at least 10 minutes. Serve chilled.
Serves 2-3. This will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I fell in love with this salad the second I tasted it, I hope you do to!