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Month: January 2007

Pasta Fagioli Soup

3/4 lb. ground sirloin
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and ground black pepper to taste (about 1 tsp each)
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 (16-19oz) can kidney beans (red, northern, or cannellini)
4 (15oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1.5 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1.5 tsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried basil)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup dried elbow pasta
1 cup Parmesan cheese, for garnish
extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
1/4 fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Brown the ground sirloin in a large pot over medium heat. Drain the fat and set the beef aside. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper.  Saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the pot and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, ground sirloin, herbs, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat then simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Add the beans halfway through to prevent overcooking

Cook the pasta separate and add to the soup at the last minute to warm through (Cooking separate is best if you plan on having leftovers so the noodles don’t turn to mush). Alternatively, you can cook the pasta in the soup pot for 8-10 minutes, until noodles are tender.  Ladle the soup into bowl and garnish with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Chili oil also makes a great topping.

Chili Oil:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper

In a small hot saute pan, add oil and garlic.  Saute until golden, then add chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, Remove from the heat and let infuse.

Peaches and Cream

3 peaches, halved and pitted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3 cups vanilla ice cream or frozen custard
1 cup pecans, crushed

Place peaches, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over peaches. Broil the peaches for 2-3 minutes. Serve with ice cream over top and sprinkle with pecans.

Cilantro and Parsley Chicken Skewers

2 boneless, skinless whole chicken breasts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks. Combine chicken, cilantro, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, red pepper, salt and pepper in a dish and toss well. Let marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge. Place chicken on metal skewers (do not overcrowd). Grill 3-4 minutes per side on high heat.