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Pasta and Broad Bean Minestrone
Nov 12th, 2004

Okay, so I messed this recipe up all kinds of ways, and it still turned out good, so I think it's a winner. The things I did wrong were: I simmered it too long, so it ended up being thicker than it is supposed to be which was compounded by mistake #2 which was to use tiny little pasta 'stars' (about the size of a grain of rice) for the pasta instead of a larger elbow or shell noodle. The little tiny pastas soaked up lots of liquid, and with the additional simmering time made the soup more like gruel. And the third thing was that I threw in some frozen spinach at the end. Fresh spinach would have been fine, but my frozen spinach tasted suspiciously like grass.

And yet, despite all that we ate this happily for dinner and several subsequent lunches. I'm looking forward to making it again - with no mistakes this time!

Oh, and I used edamame instead of fava beans because I could not find any favas. I swear I bought a bag of frozen lima beans to substitute, but somehow between the store and home they turned into peas. I remembered how one of the restaurants Shannon & Steph and I went to in San Francisco substitued edamame for fava beans, and decided to go for it as I had some in my freezer. That was not one of my mistakes, it actually worked out well, but I will continue the fava bean hunt. Large canned white beans would probably be a good substitution as well.


Pasta and Broad Bean Minestrone
Serves 4

4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 cups (10 oz) shelled fava beans
5 oz small soup pasta
cracked black pepper and sea salt
1/3 cup shredded basil
8 slices crusty bread
olive oil, extra
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


Place the tomatoes and 2 cups of the stock in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture through a sieve and set aside. [This makes an almost pink, foamy liquid if you're using orange and yellow tomatoes as I was - so cool!]

Heat a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the oil, onions, celery and bacon and cook for 8 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the tomato mixture, remaining stock and fava beans to the pan and simmer for 12 minutes. Add the pasta, pepper and salt and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pasta is soft. Stir through the basil.

To serve, drizzle the bread with a little oil. Sprinkle lightly with parmesan and broil until golden. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the parmesan toasts.

*You can use frozen fava (broad) beans but you will need to peel them. Or try edamame or lima beans - those are easy to find in the freezer section.

-Donna Hay, Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry
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Comments

I cooked again. That's twice this month, an absolute record in Anjali's young life. It helps a lot that she's old enough now to sit on the floor in the kitchen and amuse herself with the tupperware cupboard while I chop. I made Kymm's lentil barley soup, with a few variations. I couldn't get online at home, so I had to cook from memory, which meant I forgot about the onions, leeks, herbs and garlic. I had leftover country ribs that I wanted to use, so I substituted that for the sausage. And I had some kind of mysterious grain, I thought it might be barley, Kevin thought it was something else. Oh, and I didn't have 4 qts of stock, so I used the 2 I had, and we had sort of a stew instead of soup. all in all, very yummy. Thanks kymm.

-posted by Hetal on Mar 13th, 2006
NPR's cooking show, the splendid table, used to have this great call in program where you could tell Lynn Rosetto Casper what you had in the fridge, and she would make a recipe out of it. My favorite was the spaghetti omellete.
So, here's what I've got in the fridge:

While stirring the soup yesterday, I chopped half a head of red cabbage that was in the fridge. My thought was to stew/saute it with 2 green apples I need to get rid of, and maybe add some anise, and serve over rice.

Do the cooks out there have any other suggestions/improvements/yummifications?

-posted by Hetal on Mar 13th, 2006
Hee! Hetal, that's too funny. That's pretty much how my minestrone experiment went too. Hmmm... don't have any fava beans, let's try edamame! Don't have any elbow noodles, let's try these tiny little star thingies! Don't know what the hell this dish is that I just ended up with, but it's tasty!

As far as the red cabbage - I think that sounds good. I would peel and slice the apples and saute it all in some chicken broth with maybe some wine added and definitely a little spoonfull of a good mustard. Cabbage just loooves mustard. (Oh, and a little dab of butter couldn't hurt). Some sausage would be really good with that too (either sliced up in the cabbage saute or whole along side) - but if you didn't have any for the soup I'm guessing you still don't have any. Pork chops would be good with that too.

Another way to go would be to grate the apples and mix them in with the cabbage as a slaw. An Asian dressing would probably be good on that (sesame oil, lime juice or rice vinegar, soy, garlic, ginger) - or you could be all traditional and make a mayo/lemon juice dressing and throw in some raisins or some other dried fruit.

Oh and the Seattle NPR station carries The Splendid Table on Sunday afternoons. I love that show. The show has a website (http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/) where you can sign up for a weekly email newsletter with weeknight cooking suggestions. It took quite a while after I signed up for the newsletter to start coming, so long in fact I was pretty sure it was never going to come, but it did come eventually and I'm enjoying it.

-posted by Kymm on Mar 13th, 2006
I'm confused! I have fallen absolutely in love with several VOIGNIERS, a lovely light sweet wine from Frahnce. I am now seeing, in several wine reviews, the spellings "viogner" and even "viognier." What gives? Anyone? Anyone? Is this a case of French vs. American appelations? Ignorance? Snobbery? Why the spelling change? Or, horrors! Are they two different wines and I'm out of the loop??

-posted by karla on Jul 24th, 2006
© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com