The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Tortellini: This is how we do. February 10, 2012

Filed under: Main Dishes — Meg @ 8:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tonight, I decided to make some Ravioli. I made Tortellini instead…

Bloggies, if you want to make it, I assure you, you can. If I can do all of this in under an hour, AND take a low-grade cellphone photo of it to boot, take the plunge and try it as well! I used my old hand-crank pasta machine to get the dough, and yes, I made the dough with my Kitchen-aid, but we can all take a little help here and there!

End result:

(I still can’t find the Olympus, sorry!)

To make the dough, mix together and knead 1 cup of flour and 2 eggs. If you’re using a machine, knead with the dough hook for 8 minutes on highest kneading settting (2 on a Kitchen-aid). Jamie Oliver has a nice method using a food processor, as well, but you can do the same by hand, kneading till firm, very smooth and somewhat dry. No sticky! Put it in a plastic bag or cling wrap for about 15-30 minutes, whatever you’ve got. Cut it in two, and use a pasta machine (I went down to 6 of 7 thicknesses) to roll it out. You can do this on a floured board with a rolling pin, too. Shoot for about 1millimeter or so. Or thicker, I don’t care! Cut into 2″ squares, flour, and let it sit under a damp tea towel as you work.

While the dough rests, mix these ingredients until combined and slightly sticky:

  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan, if you want)
  • 1 egg

    Now, when everything is ready, prepare an eggwash (just mix an egg up very well. Add a splash of water, if you like), and have a brush on hand. Line up a bunch of your squares, and eggwash the edges to make a 90 degree angle on each square. Add 1/2 tsp or so of filling to each square (you may need a little less to avoid ‘splosions). Fold over, seal tightly and remove air pockets. With the point up, wrap the bottom edges around your pinky finger, and squeeze them together to seal. Take it off your finger, and fold the top edge down. You can also fold the whole top over (edges) if you want a little more pizazz to your tortellini. That’s it!

    Now all you have to do is cook ’em! I think the best way is just to cook in boiling, salted water, until they float to the top. Check by cutting into them to see that the meat and pasta are cooked through. Serve these however you want, and keep in mind, they freeze very well. Make sure, if you do freeze them, do it on a floured board, keeping them separate. Then transfer to a freezer bag.

    That is all I want to say! Make some and enjoy!

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Lima Bean Busy February 6, 2012

I’ve decided to make a feeble attempt to post something. It’s been a rather shame-inducing length of time since I actually did anything around here, so I think it’s due time that I get your bellies twist’n’shouting with something perhaps a little unexpected. Unless you’re one of those intriguing anomalies who doesn’t like anything legume-y, well!  I have just the ticket! My affinity for lima beans reigns supreme, once again, and I have a nice little soup that has passed inspection!

Oh yeah, Jon and I moved, so I’ll just let that take the blame for my extreme posting leave of absence. Can we just call it a leave of absence? Anyhoot, yes, Jon and I bought our first house and have been here for exactly 8 days now! I’ve gussied up the kitchen to my liking (including a glorious rolling wooden kitchen island from Ikeeeeeeeeea), and am seriously enjoying my recent cooking endeavors. We kicked off our first (non-takeout/fast food) meal here with Red Beans and Rice. Everything else has been pretty damn great! Now, I do apologize for a lack of pictures in this post, but you’ll have to forgive me because I haven’t yet located my camera, amongst the slew of boxes.

This is my idea of a real superbowl, and it doesn’t leave the most unsavoury aftertaste of Madonna’s pigskin-esque body shaking around, afterward. Now that your appetite is raring to go, let’s do this.
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Ritzy Lima Bean Soup (I’m sorry, I’m Mad Men-ing again)

Ingredients

  • 4 (or 5?) strips of bacon, sliced 1″
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I removed half the seeds and ribs)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed 1″
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup corn niblets
  • 2 cups frozen (or fresh, if you’re lucky) lima beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water (or stock)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (whatever kind you want)
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

First things first, fry up that bacon. It’s fine right in your cooking pot, which doesn’t have to be too huge, medium-large is good. Once it’s brown and crisp, drain the fat (save it, save it!), and add butter. Yes, this is what you’re doing. Add carrots, onion, celery, jalapeno, potatoes, and garlic, and saute until lightly browned. Add corn and lima beans, and bay leaf. Stir and add enough water or chicken stock to cover all ingredients about 1″. Add basil, paprika, a little salt and pepper (to season the vegetables as they cook). Let it come to a boil, and drop the heat to a simmer, around medium-low. Cook for 25 minutes or so, until the lima beans are soft and buttery. Add cream, stir, check seasoning and serve!

I wouldn’t exactly know what to serve with this, as it’s extremely good on it’s own, and that’s how I enjoyed it. However, it’s one of those cute, yet elegant dishes, where you feel like Melba Toast should be in the picture somewhere. I don’t know, whatever that guy at the Maidstone Club is having with it?

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Dass all I have for now, I hope that you are enticed, despite pictures, and that unabashed jab at Madonna. I promise you though, it is beautiful and serves up very attractively. Even if you have unattractive dinnerware!

Happy trails then,
Meg.

 

Hearth Soup August 22, 2011

I honestly had no idea what to call this recipe. There is so much going on in this soup, but it all fits together so, so nicely. It’s the kind of soup that makes you feel cozy, warm, and just comfortable in general. It makes you feel good about everything. The same kind of feeling you get when you drink from your favourite old, chipped pottery mug, and the coffee is the best you ever tasted. That feeling. Home. The hearth. If I had to give this recipe a name based on it’s ingredients, however, it’d be Brown Rice, Lentil, Sweet Potato, Leek and Bacon Soup. That’s a mouthful, nawp.
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Anyhow, I’m sharing this recipe with you now, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a coon’s age! I don’t even think I have a legitimate excuse, just laziness, I guess. If it’s any consolation, if you continue to scroll after this post, I’ve posted several recipes that I’ve come up with in the past little while (and believe me, there are lots more beyond those). Buttermilk-blueberry pancakes with maple-lime blueberry syrup, zucchini bread with cashews and cranberries, and some tasty maple granola that is CHOCK FULL of little treats. I haven’t stopped cooking in my posting absence! So, please take a look at those, they aren’t as carefully laid out as most of my posts, and they don’t all have pictures, but they’re there, and I promise they’re good!
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Moving on with this one though!
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Hearth Soup
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Ingredients
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6 oz bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet potato, in 1/2″ cubes
1 carrot, in 1/2″ cubes
1 leek, (washed) sliced in half and cut in 1/4″ pieces (moons)
1 stalk celery, sliced lengthwise and in 1/4″ dice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed and sorted for any stones
1/2 cup brown rice (basmati brown, if possible, amazing aroma)
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper (not too fine)
1 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp dry oregano
3/4 tsp dry basil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
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Method
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In a large saucepan or pot, saute bacon until browned somewhat (I like to start it out with a little water, to sort of cook it through and evenly bring out the fat, and let it evaporate). Add sweet potato, carrot, leek, celery, and saute until browned, maybe 4 minutes or so. Add garlic, and cook till fragrant, a minute or so. Add water (or stock), a little at a time, stirring on the bottom to de-glaze the pan (collect the brown bits for flava-flav). After it’s all in, bring to a simmer, add lentils and brown rice, along with all remaining ingredients. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft, and broth is well-flavoured. Adjust seasoning to your tastes, and serve with some crusty brown bread, and then feel the sudden urge to call your parents and tell them you love them.
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Now scroll!
(I’ll try to keep up with the frequent posts, sorry again!)

 

Homina, homina, hominy. July 4, 2011

Smokey Hominy Soup, my chickens!
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Yesterday, Jon brought home this “When Country Comes to Town,” 2011 Brant County Culinary Guide (see here!). Page 9, Three Sisters Soup caught my attention (Jon’s boss, Matt Lee is on page 13 with a soup recipe that looks rather nice too), and I went on this bender trying to figure out what I had and if I could make it. No, I couldn’t. So, I got my friend Laura‘s recipe from her blog, and decided to start with that. Well, it’s Summer. Summer means I like smoky, cumin-y things, and I started to make that soup… And then I got carried away. I couldn’t stop adding things, and here’s what happened.
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If you haven’t tried hominy, PLEASE do so. It’s got a really unique texture, nothing at all like normal corn. It is delicious, a bit nutty, and.. agh. Just, love.
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Smokey Hominy Soup
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Ingredients
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3 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz smoked pork belly (or other smoked pork stuffs), diced
1 medium onion, small dice
1 stalk celery, sliced on the bias (small though)
1 carrot, same as celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (Campbell’s soup size, whatever that is) hominy corn, drained and rinsed
1 medium sized new potato, diced
8 cups water (go ahead and use stock if you have it, veggie or chicken, or porkish)
1 156mL can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp hot paprika
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp dry oregano
1 can (Campbell’s size) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste (lots of both, if you ask me)
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Method
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Okay, grab a biggish cooking pot, turn ‘er up to medium-high, add the olive oil. When it’s hot enough to saute the veggies (test by throwing a piece of onion in, I always say!), throw ’em in there. By which I mean, the onions, carrot, celery, along with the pork belly. When those are good and browned, add the garlic, and cook for a minute or until fragrant. Then, add all the other ingredients, starting with the water, to deglaze (scrape the brown bits off the bottom, a little water at a time). Bring to a simmer, and drop the heat to low. Cook until potatoes are done, if you’re short on time, but if you want good soup, REALLY good soup, cook it for a long time. The slow-cooker, even, would be amazing for this. I cooked this for 7 or 8 hours (mostly because I was waiting for bread to finish all it’s many risings, and also, because I was really irresponsible and fell asleep for 3.5 hours). Anyhow, serve it with huge hunks of bread and be done with it. So good.
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I’m done. Have to eat more of this soup now. Yeaaaaaah. Here’s Laura’s recipe, before I go: Laura’s Three Sisters Soup!
Her blog never ceases to amaze me. She is a wonderful woman.

 

If you want a subject, look to pork! June 12, 2011

Filed under: Main Dishes — Meg @ 11:07 am
Tags: , , , , ,

– Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations.”
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Oh, hell, I guess it’s time. I’ve been letting a few recipes stew away in my brain since, oh, April… Yet, here we are, it is June. While I have been documenting most of my new concoctions with photos, writing down the recipes, none of them really made me feel the need to post. Lots of repeats, and, well, I’m busy! Anyhow, I thought I’d let this one slide on through before I get even busier (gettin’ murried in 13 days, folks).
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Last night my dad came over, and for time’s sake, made some pork tenderloin, and hoooo-eeee, it were good. If you don’t like liquid smoke because you’ve heard it is full of carcinogens, please direct yourself back to Facebook, or wherever the hell you came from, now. This is not the time to be a pansy about a little liquid smoke. It is the time to embrace it, because I’ve waited a good two years to actually remember to buy the stuff at Sobey’s, and I’m gonna post a damn recipe that uses it!
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Carry on!
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I was originally going to barbeque this, but, again, because of time, and my general sloth-isms, this is a sauceless, badass loin that you will enjoy. It includes some nice barbeque-y notes anyhow, it’s supah easy, and goes hideously well with my recipe for Asparagus and Potato Salad. I would link you to that, but, once again, lazy… I’ve got favours and decorations to make, dresses to sew, appointments to go to, on top of my self-imposed housewifing duties! Anyhow, this was going to be all Plain Jane barbeque, but then my whimsical, whimsical father took note of a bottle of Southern Comfort sitting in my kitchen, banished from my overflowing freezer. “You should add that,” he said, my father, who I don’t think I’ve even seen drink a whole beer. Well, good idea, Dad. You are a triumph of good choices and alcohol-infused gastronomy, and antique kitchen presents. Thank you. We like to think the SoCo adds a hint of fruity spice. Just like us.
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Southern Comfort Poke Tenderloin
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One more, because we had fun arranging this.
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Ingredients
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A 1lb pork tenderloin
2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp garlic (minced, or use powder, I do not mind)
1 tsp minced onion (dehydrated is never a bad call)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper (do not get lazy here)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
5 drops liquid smoke
2.5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Southern Comfort (not the hurricane mix, the real stuff. The… good stuff. Cough.)
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Method
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Okay. This is some easy business, folks. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then mix all of the ingredients together, tenderloin aside, of course. Then, slather it on the tenderloin, all sides. Whack it in the oven for 40 minutes, or till it hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit (internally), and then broil it until it reaches 165, which is the “safe” temperature. Just for crisping and browning, etc..  Slice it on an angle, arrange it on a plate, and drizzle pan juices (you want to do this, you really do) over top, and savour the flavour. Yuh.
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megohm, over and owt!
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Pea S. I Love You April 10, 2011

If, culinarily-speaking, there is anything to say about me, it is that I sincerely enjoy a good dried bean foodstuff. I cook with dried beans/pulses so often, that I could probably make them in my sleep. However, I would not, because I semi-recently had a very vivid dream that my kitchen was on fire. At any rate, I would like to share with you a pretty basic method for cooking the little wonders. Really basic, but wholly satisfying.
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Today was extraordinarily pleasant, weather-wise, and warm weather, for some reason, always makes me want black eyed peas. Now, when I say this, please be aware that I do not condone listening to the musical group, and this is entirely unrelated to that abominable excuse for a band. If you find yourself experiencing confusion between the two, please refer to the pulse variety as, “cowpeas,” from this point on! I can also get behind, “Holstein beans,” but that is my own personal made-up variation, so don’t go asking for them in the grocery store…
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Now, when I say that I cooked up some beans, I do not mean to say that I boiled them up in a pot of water until the point of nasty. This method, regardless of the beans you use, will result in a sort of gravy, which means that it’s goddamn excellent served over rice. Beans and rice? Always. This is sort of a Southern thing, although use of peppers and celery (and a good amount of the spices) aren’t always necessary. You can play around with the spices all you want, also. I usually go with a bit of a Cajun-y vibe, so that’s what you’ll see here, as far as spices go. If you use something other than black eyed peas, the timing will be adjusted accordingly, because most beans have different cooking times. Also, please be advised that soaking is a very good option, you can either go with the overnight (cover with a few inches of water and cover the bowl, overnight), or the quick-soak method, which is covering them in a pot with a few inches of water, boiling rapidly for about 3 minutes, popping a lid on, turning off the heat, and letting it sit untouched for an hour. Same result! In the end, the soaking is a timesaver for the actual cooking process. Enough of that jibber jabber though! Let’s get on with it!
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Cowpeas Deluxe (I don’t know why I just decided to call it this, but let’s go with it anyhow)
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Here’s the fancy shot to prove that beans aren’t just for broke-ass hillbillies (oh, to be a broke-ass hillbilly…)
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And here’s the best way to eat ’em. Especially if you mix them all up with the rice, maybe a splash of Louisiana hot sauce too…
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Ingredients
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4 strips of bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces (you can use pork hocks, smoked sausage or salt pork instead, by all means)
1 small onion, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1/3 cup red or green bell pepper (about 1/3 of a big ‘un)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock (or water with bouillon, or just water!)
2 cups dry black eyed peas, soaked
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry thyme
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1-2 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce (or whatever you prefer, you can also use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, too )
1 bay leaf
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Method
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Okay, first, get yourself a big cooking pot, preferably heavy bottomed (cast iron for the win). Saute the bacon until browned over medium-high heat, and add all vegetables, sauteing until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute or so, until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and then drop the heat down to a simmer. Cover with the lid ajar for about an hour, an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender. At this point, it should still be pretty soupy. We want the water to evaporate, and the starches to thicken up now. So, turn the heat up over medium or so, keeping a close eye and stirring frequently (stickbottom, do not want…), with the lid off. When it gets to a gravy-esque consistency, you are done! Check for seasoning, and serve over rice.
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Das all fo’ now. megohm, over and out!

 

So good, a clever title isn’t even necessary. March 27, 2011

Readers, I am, in this moment, reveling in a feeling that can only be compared to the first recognition of love. A dizzying feeling that for me, is often brought on by a slowly cooked, lustrous, tomato-y, pasta-y, legume-y foodstuff. Always cooked in a big, heavy pot. Oh, and did I mention, fatty pork products are involved too? The only thing this is missing is wine, and I may as well pour myself a nice, well-deserved glass now.
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If done right, I could easily say that Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fuh-zoo, if you’re a Marcella) is my last-meal-ever/death row dish, that or Pasta and Cauliflower (Macaroni and Cauliflower, if you are my immediate family). However, if this was my last meal, I’d die a very happy glutton.  I’ve been doing lots of research this past week on Molise, and learning about the use of chestnuts, legumes, and today’s ingredient, chickpeas (garbanzo beans if you’re a snob). I have never been a huge fan of chickpeas, and I am sworn against hummus, so help me (it tastes fine, but nobody is getting turned on but smushed up chickpeas being presented to them by some pretentious jerk who can open an aluminum can and a jar of tahini. There are only so many ways to make hummus, and your mint garnish does not impress me). But, anyhow, I thought I’d give chickpeas another try.  So, need a change from fagioli? Try chickpeas. The dish has now become the ever-loved, humble and shoulder-to-cry-on (if you need it for that), Pasta e Ceci. There are a million and eight ways to make Pasta e Ceci (or Pasta e Fagioli, for that matter), some are simply pasta and chickpeas tossed together with olive oil, salt and pepper, or in a light broth, other times tossed with pasta, and in this case, cooked as an almost-soup, stew-y, I-don’t-know-what kind of lovedish.
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To go along with this, I decided to carb it up (not that it needed carbs, but I felt like making non-“bread”-bread) with some pizza. That is to say, more of a focaccia bread, but as I have learned in recent days, Molise seems to call all of their flatbread/focaccia concoctions, “pizza.” Which I can get down with. Mostly-cheeseless (and sometimes entirely), not dripping with orange pepperoni grease and actually seemingly healthy? Pizza? Don’t mind if I dooo! This page has been blowing my mind today with all the non-bastardized, non-North-American pizzas, and I decided to make one. Jon and I bought some fairly impressive-looking olive oil this week, after watching Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo glug/drizzle it on everything, very excitedly, in glorious excess. This was a nice outlet to show ours off, along with some sundried tomatoes and black olives. So, let’s have at it.
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Pasta e Ceci
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Ingredients
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4 oz smoked pancetta or bacon, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz (2 Tbsp) pimento, or diced roasted red peppers
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes
1/ 4 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1 796mL can diced tomatoes (3-4 cups)
1 156mL can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1.5 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp dried basil (1 tsp oregano, sage or marjoram would work nicely as well)
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
1.5 cups small-cut pasta, or broken long-cut pasta (shells, ditalini broken spaghetti, etc)
salt and pepper
water
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Method
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In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add olive oil, and begin to saute the pancetta or bacon over medium-high heat. When sufficiently browned/not chewy fatstuff, remove all but 2 tsp or so of the fat. Add onions and celery, sweat three minutes or so until they soften, add garlic, cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Add pimento (or roasted red peppahs), cook for a minute or so, then stir in hot pepper flakes (or cayenne), and anchovy paste, if you’re using it.
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Add tomatoes, paste, and chicken broth, stirring until tomato paste is smooth. Add sugar, bay leaf and herbs (I used basil because I think it is glorious). Make sure it comes to a simmer if it already isn’t, then turn heat down to medium-low, cover and let simmer for at least 40 minutes or so, stirring fairly frequently. I happened to have dry chickpeas, so I cooked them (not long enough) in the pressure cooker, and finished them up in the pot on the stove, so it took 1.5 hours or so for me.
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Add pasta, and a little extra water if needed (I went with a bit under 1.5 cups of additional water), stir, and simmer, till pasta is tender. You will need to stir pretty frequently, or else surrender yourself to bottom-stick-stew. But do not worry, I believe in you! Anyhow, when the pasta is cooked, check for seasoning, and you’re done. Top with some Parmesan or Romano, and let it’s hearty succulence envelop whatever soul you have left.
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Pizza con Olive e Pomodoro (Molise-style flatbread with olives and tomatoes)
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Ingredients
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For the dough:
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3 cups flour
1.5 tsp instant yeast
¾ tsp salt
1.5 tsp honey
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp olive oil
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For the toppings:
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Cornmeal (enough for a sprinkle)
Fresh garlic
Salt
Black olives (good quality, I recommend something delightfully sodium-enriched and stored in oil, NOT water)
Sun dried tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
Herbs (rosemary, oregano, or basil)
Good Italian cheese (I went with Pecorino Romano, because it was what I had around, opened, but Bocconcini, good Mozzarella, or Scamorza would be equally acceptable)
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Method
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Combine dry ingredients for dough in a bowl, mix lightly, and add remaining ingredients. Mix together until a slightly-sticky and soft dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic. If using a mixer with a dough hook, 2-3 minutes until end result. Lightly oil the bowl with olive oil, a teaspoon or so, and rub it around the bowl with the dough (use it as a sort of mop), then flip the dough over, so it is coated on both sides. Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in a warm place. When dough has doubled, sprinkle a pizza pan (or cookie sheet, whatever you have) with a little cornmeal, and punch the dough down in a bowl. Put it on the pizza pan, and press it out with your hands until it is about 1/2- 3/4 inch thick. Let rise 10 or 15 minutes again.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., and then rub the dough with a little fresh garlic, sliced in half. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough, then very lightly, sprinkle a small amount of salt. Just scatter it, nothing fancy, nothing excessive. Place some olives over the dough (whole, don’t worry about pits, you’ll get to them when you eat it), you may want to indent them into the dough a bit. Sprinkle sun dried tomatoes or place thinly sliced fresh tomatoes sporadically around dough as well. Sprinkle with a small amount (or a lot?) of red pepper flakes, and a good amount of whatever herb you’re using (I used basil, derrrp). If you wish to, go ahead and use fresh basil, or whatever herb, by all means! Then, place some slices of the cheese around the pizza (or grated, if you want). Add a little glug of olive oil, if you feel like saluting Jamie and Gennaro, and place in the oven, bake 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and top is golden-brown. Cut into slices any which way you want, e mangiare!
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So, that is what you get for today, i miei bambini! megohm, over and out! Alla prossima!