Merry New Year, Nummy!
I was thinking of making some sweeping New Year’s Resolution about posting more interesting things than soup in 2012, but then I realized I hate resolutions and I still love soup, so everyone can deal.
Seriously though – I wonder what percentage of people actually follow through with resolutions. Because I’m betting 90% of us just end up hating ourselves for not being able to cut it and the other 10% are overachievers who the rest of us hate.
Anyway, the soup: Not only is this delicious, but it’s also a good alternative when you’re looking to strap on the Italian feedbag but don’t want to pile on the calories. The tastes are the same, but because it’s mainly broth and veggies, it could be construed as mildly good for you. And it has a 2 full servings of veggies! (I made that up, but it could be true.)
Also, because this is not cream- or roux-based, all of you clichés who have resolved to eat more healthily in the new year can keep the dream for one more day.
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
6 cups (or more) chicken broth
1 cup pasta sauce
2 cans stewed/diced tomatoes with juice (if stewed, chop those suckers)
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, barely chopped
1 bag spinach, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, chopped evenly
1 package refrigerated tortellini (tri-color for the fun)
1 cup parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
Seasonings to taste:
Italian seasoning + extra basil/oregano/thyme (fresh would be the bomb)
- Saute garlic and onion in oil until translucent.
- Add the next four ingredients and all of the herbs and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Bring to a boil. Add chicken, zucchini, and tortellini.
- Cook under zucchini and tortellini are tender. Stir in parmesan. Serve.
I was clicking around on the Nums the other day, and I noticed an unfulfilled promise I made back on St. Patty’s Day about a pesto recipe. As a person who places unreasonable stock in that holiday, my “luck of the Irish” will be totally whacked if I don’t rectify this, so that’s what I’m doing here.
As the title would imply, this is Ina Garten’s recipe, and aside from the usual seasoning to taste, it needs no modification. It’s a great basic pesto recipe, and The Chef can attest to the fact that I waxed dramatic about how easy and completely worth it it is to make this rather than buying the jarred stuff. (I know that’s supposed to be obvious, but sometimes you need something like this or Batali’s Basic Marinara Sauce to reteach you that fact.)
Also, this freezes incredibly well, so make a bunch for your long-term carbo needs.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts*
3 tbsp chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups good olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.
Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
*The time I made this, I was too lazy to brave the psychofest that is the parking situation at midtown Schnuck’s, and I couldn’t find pine nuts at Miss Cordelia’s, so I used all walnuts. It may not feel as fancy, but it tastes just as good.
This sauce was easy. And it was also easily the best marinara I’ve had in a while. I think the carrot really brings something to the texture and taste. And you get to use an immersion blender which always makes me feel very chef-like and professional. 2 good things in my book.
Furthermore, anything that could make me forgive Mario Batali for wearing those hideous Crocs is something to take note of. I hate those things. I mean, my pajamas are comfortable, but I don’t wear them to the office. Put real clothes on. You’re a grown-ass man.
6 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, diced to 1/4-inch
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 28-ounce cans of tomatoes, crushed by hand and mixed well with their juices
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste
- Add oil to a sauce pan with onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat until translucent but not brown (about 10 minutes).
- Add the thyme and carrot. Cook 5 minutes more.
- Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add these fantastic meatballs and serve over angel hair pasta. Molto bene! (That’s Italian y’all. Don’t say we never taught you anything.)