Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Easy Minestrone

Although I love cooking, I don't like to spend half the day in the kitchen making a meal (contrary to popular belief). This is a receipe that comes from Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. Its so easy even I couldn't mess it up! I did use fresh veggies in place of the frozen ones as my only change. I love a bowl of this with a baguette.

Easy Minestrone
Yield: serves 4-6


Ingredients:
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup pasta, dry (a small pasta is best)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen vegetables (zucchini, carrots, broccoli and beans) OR one zucchini, carrot, broccoli and some green beans cut up
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves or use 2 T of dried basil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring broth, beans, and tomatoes to boil in large saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture and pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in vegetables and basil and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Spinach Pesto

I love pesto sauce and always looked for vary the way its made. I found a spinach pesto reciepe online and it intrigued me. Since I didn't have pine nuts on hand, I made it with walnuts and it turned out just as yummy! This is a versatile sauce that can be used for sandwiches to pasta. In

Spinach Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups washed, baby spinach (stems removed), well packed, 16 to 24 ounces
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved (or more depending on your taste)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt (to taste)
Directions:
  1. Place a few spinach leaves, garlic, walnuts and a little oil in blender or food processor container. Cover and puree until leaves begin to look crushed. Continue adding spinach leaves a few at a time with small amounts of oil to blender, using a rubber spatula to help to combine pureed mixture. Add Parmesan cheese and salt (if using). Cover and process until spinach pesto mixture is smooth.