Minestrone Pasta

Seeing as a couple of people in my family have become sick this past week, I thought soup would be a good choice for a comforting meal.  My aunt had told me about a minestrone recipe she had from a friend’s grandmother and I decided to try it.  I added in beans, bacon grease, and pasta, and forgot the peas!  The pasta proceeded to absorb the broth, which was delicious, but made it so that I could no longer call the dish soup!  I served this alongside pesto bread, which is just a crusty baguette slathered with pesto and finished off in the broiler.  I also topped the pasta with fresh romano cheese.  The vegetables all melded down beautifully together and it was really filling even though there is no meat.  Next time I think I will add a little bit of wine for added flavor. photo 2

Minestrone Pasta

olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup zucchini, chopped

1 cup of cauliflower, chopped

2 cartoons of chicken broth

1 cup of water

1 can of tomatoes or 1 cup of fresh tomatoes

1 cup of asparagus, chopped

1 can cannelloni beans

1 pound small shaped pasta

a couple tablespoons of bacon grease

Directions

Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and add the bacon grease.  The temperature should be on high. Add the chopped onions, garlic, celery, garlic, carrots, and cook for a few minutes.  Add the broth.

Add 2 bay leaves, parsley, water, chopped zucchini, cauliflower and one can of diced tomatoes.

Let the soup boil for about an hour and a half, then add asparagus and pasta.

Allow to cook until the pasta is finished.  I proceeded to cover it up and let the flavors meld for around 6 hours.  I think this dish just gets better the longer you wait.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Dressing

This is such an easy side dish to make and not only is it healthy, but it is packed with flavor!  The vegetables would be fine on their own, but I think the dressing adds some extra pizzazz to the plating and taste.  I used chickpeas, asparagus, and squash, but you can substitute in your favorite vegetables.

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Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Dressing (serves 6-7 as a side)

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 bunch of asparagus, tough end parts removed

half a butternut squash, peeled and seeded, chopped into 1 in. cubes

olive oil

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

6 tablespoons of water

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spread the vegetables onto sheet trays.  Drizzle over olive oil to coat.  Sprinkle on salt and pepper.  Bake the asparagus and squash for around 1 hour.  The chickpeas take only 30 minutes.

Combine, the tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the vegetables are done, plate, and drizzle on dressing.

Balsamic Ravioli

This recipe is basically a spin-off from one of my favorite salads.  Spinach, feta, dried cranberries, walnuts, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  I swapped out the spinach for asparagus and ravioli to make the meal a little more substantial.  I love how there are tart, sweet, salty, and savory elements in this pasta dish, and it takes less than thirty minutes to cook!

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Balsamic Ravioli (serves 1)

Cheese ravioli (cooked per instructions on the package)

Asparagus, rough ends removed, and cut into one inch pieces

Butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Feta cheese to crumble on top

Dried cranberries

Chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Heat the butter in a skillet at medium heat.  Add the asparagus and salt and pepper.  When the asparagus is cooked through add the balsamic and olive oil.  Turn the heat on high and cook for a few more minutes, stir the sauce so the vinegar does not burn.  Add the ravioli, cheese, walnuts, and cranberries, and cook until the ravioli is warmed through.  Then plate and dig in!