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Friday, February 25, 2011

Stay Warm with a Hot Bowl of Porcini Mushroom Soup

While there is a chill still in the air, don't miss out on a scrumptious, yet healthy, bowl of hot soup! Porcini mushrooms, not always easy to find fresh, make a flavorful broth. You can make this one using dried Porcini and still get their aromatic flavor. This soup can be served as a first course dish, or you may want to make a meal of it.

Rustic Porcini Mushroom Soup

(copyright 2011 art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup dried chick peas (that have been soaked overnight and cooked in boiling water till tender) or use 32 ounces of canned chick peas that have been rinsed)

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 scallion

1 tsp thyme

1 tablespoon flour

4 tablespoons + 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper to taste

4 slices crusty thick, day old Italian bread

Place dried mushrooms in 1 cup warm water and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain chick peas. Puree 1 ½ cans in food processor. Place in a pan with vegetable broth. Stir with wooden spoon.

Puree remaining chick peas, finely chopped scallion, thyme, and drained mushrooms, then add to pan. Place on low to medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir with wooden spoon every so often. When boiling, lower heat and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Add in flour and 4 tablespoons olive oil and stir with wooden spoon. Add in pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Preheat oven to broil. Place bread on cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. When golden, turn over and repeat.

Remove slices and cut each into 4 squares. Place 4 squares on bottom of each soup bowl and ladle soup on top.

Serve hot.

For more great recipes get your copy of the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents. Day, Jefferson & Tortino di Pappardelle

Happy Presidents' Day! it is no secret that one of my favorite Presidents was Thomas Jefferson! he was a Renaissance  man, far ahead of his time, and the person responsible for bringing some of the first formal Italian langauge programs to Universities. He was also a true connoisseur of  Italian wines, architecture and food. He brought the first 'maccherroni' machine to the USA from a trip to Naples.. So in honor of The Prez and a day to celebrate all Presidents here is a recipe for wine and pasta that I know he would have loved. There is historical  documentation at Monticello (Jefferson's restored residence, now a museum)  that shows that he frequently purchased  Nebbiolo wines from Italy for his dinners

Tortino di Pappardelle

4 zucchini flowers
2 zucchii flowers for decoration
1 onion
2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of pappardelle pasta
1 tblsp nebbiolo
1 tblsp butter
1 small packet saffron
1.5 ounces cream
salt and pepper to taste

Place oilve oil in saute pan, warm and add in chopped onion. Saute till just golden. Add in zucchini flowers and wine. Saute for 3 minutes. One moinute before removing from heat add in saffron and cream.Place pappardelle in salted, boiling water. Cook till al dente. Drain
Place in cream sauce. Butter a ceramic or aluminum round casserole dish. Place in pasta. Place in  pre heated oven to 400 degres oven for 3 minutes. Remove ,decorate with zucchini flowers. Serve this with a Nebbiolo wine.

For more great recipes get yor ucopy of the book seected for the Gourmand Word Cookbook Awards-
The Basic Art of Italian  Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

Friday, February 4, 2011