Archive for November, 2008

adapted from Orangette

While I know I will never actually do it, the thought of making a-soup-a-week is very tempting. It’s hands down my favorite thing to cook in the Fall (and no, this statement does not diminish my avowed love of pumpkins because of course, they can also be used in many soups!). I love the way a pot of soup makes the house smell as it simmers on the stove and the way a big bowl warms you up better than an extra pair of socks. There are just so many types I want to try…. so on my day off, I decided to make this simple and easy Tomato Chickpea Soup. Perfect for a cold evening served with warm bread and extra sharp cheddar cheese, and even better warmed up the next day for lunch!


2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
3 Tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 3-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, needles removed from stem and finely chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes, one 28-ounce and one 14.5-ounce
A pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock


Drain the canned chickpeas in a colander, and rinse them well. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook for a minute or two, and then add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, a few grinds of pepper, roughly half of the chickpeas, and the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and purée the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender. Add the remaining chickpeas, and warm the soup over medium heat. Serve warm.


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adapted from Martha Stewart

We had a full house for Family Dinner the other weekend and I wanted to make something “Fall” inspired that would also feed the hungry masses. This dish was perfect. We served it with an Arugula Salad with Pears, Gorgonzola, Pomegranate and Pecans, and Grilled Italian Sausage (to satisfy the carnivores). It was definitely not an easy dish to prepare- Tony and both felt like we were on an episode of Top Chef the way we were frantically spinning about the kitchen. But it was fun and well worth it! We also doubled the recipe to feed 10 people.

(Serves 8  )
3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
Lasagna Noodles
4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/4 cups)



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Combine ricotta, cream, yolks, mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt. Melt butter in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add sage, and cook until light gold and slightly crisp at edges, 3 to 4 minutes.

Place squash in a medium bowl, and mash 1/2 of it with the back of a wooden spoon, leaving the other 1/2 in whole pieces. Gently stir in sage-butter mixture and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 3/4 cup of ricotta mixture in a 9-cup baking dish (we used a 9X13 dish). Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1/2 of the butternut squash mixture over noodles. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over noodles. Repeat layering once more (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta). Sprinkle Parmesan over ricotta mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Butternut Squash Risotto

I know, I know… I said I would cut back on Martha Stewart recipes- but I just couldn’t help myself! Tony and I wanted risotto for dinner and I had leftover squash from the dinner I made earlier this week… so I just happened to already have a Butternut squash risotto recipe on hand from Martha- perfect solution! This was a nice alternative to basic risotto- the squash makes the dish even creamier and flavorful. Another simple and tasty Fall dinner (if you can’t tell I love my autumnal vegetables!)

Serves 4 to 6 (I cut the recipe in half to serve two)

1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Steam squash for 10 to 15 minutes and then mash lightly. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat stock to a simmer. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add oil and shallots; cook for 2 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add wine to rice, and cook, stirring, until wine is nearly absorbed. Stir in a cup of stock and the squash. Cook at a steady simmer until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue stirring in stock, a ladleful at a time, until rice is creamy and firm but not hard in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Add chopped rosemary. Stir in remaining butter and most of the Parmesan. Serve immediately in shallow bowls garnished with the remaining cheese and rosemary sprigs. Serve with crusty french bread and a fruity red wine (we opened a bottle of Sterling Vintner’s Collection Cabernet Sauvignon). Enjoy!

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