Category Archives: Italian

In need of comfort

It feels like coming back from Italy was the biggest mistake we possibly could have made. Like the universe is kicking us a bit for making such a foolish decision.

The heat in our house hasn’t been working for 9 of the last 15 days. Kick.
The entire backyard is covered in a thick blanket of leaves and two weekends wasn’t really enough to clean it up before they stop collecting greens. Kick.
Laundry and other household chores have fallen behind thanks to lethargy/cold. Kick.
It doesn’t feel like Christmas.

The only good thing is that I came back from the trip very inspired to explore Tuscan and Florentine cuisine more deeply. I’ve got high hopes for it as everything else I’ve made has been great so far (chestnut flour gnocchi and pappa al pomodoro). I’ve got plans for a panforte, baccalà, and fegatini (chicken liver pate) later this week.

When I was looking for a recipe for ribollita, it was hard to find something that felt quite right. Every restaurant and each cook has their own version of ribollita, much like many other Italian dishes. There is a general consensus on bread, kale, and beans. But differences in quality and consistency cover the board. I knew I wanted to be able to tell what was in the soup and that I like a little tomato in mine. Of course, you can adapt it to your own tastes.

Ribollita (Tuscan Bread Soup)
Adapted from many recipes and differences versions I have tried

3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
4-6 c water
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
14 oz can cannellini beans
1/4 c tomato puree
1/4 lb (110g) stale bread, cubed
Salt, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large pot, saute onions, garlic, and carrots in olive oil. Cook, stirring, until slightly softened.

Add enough water to cover vegetables and kale to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add beans, tomato puree, and bread. Continue cooking on low heat until bread is very soft, about 15 minutes. If soup is becoming too thick, add additional water.

Season with salt to taste. Serve topped with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

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Filed under Italian, Soups & Stews, Vegetarian

Veggie shashuka

I like the idea of summer squash. They are so pretty. They are similar to zucchini. They have a lot going for them.

And yet, whenever I buy summer squash, I always feel at a loss for what to do with them. They lack zucchini’s flavor. They don’t have the meatiness of fall squashes. 

But in this recipe, they just work! 

Mr. F, who is always hungry after vegetarian meals, was satisfied and happy. The leftover “sauce” was reused to top pasta, which was also delicious. 

I’ve simiplied the recipe a lot from the original because I don’t keep some of those ingredients around and I don’t like that many steps for my weeknight dinners. All in all, this dish is a winner!

Summer Squash Shashuka

Adapted from The Kitchn

 2 lb summer squash

1 tbsp salt

olive oil

1 small onion, sliced in half moons

2 garlic, minced

14 oz crushed tomatoes

4 eggs

In a food processor, grate summer squash. Squeeze as much moisture as you can from each handful and transfer to a large sauté pan.

After all the squash is squished dry, add olive oil, garlic, salt, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Turn heat on to medium. Cook until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Smooth mixture out evenly in sauté pan. Make 4 divots and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan and cook about 10 minutes. Egg whites will be set but yolks will still be soft. Serve with lots of crusty bread!

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Filed under Breakfast, Eggs, Italian, Moroccan, Vegetable

Zucchini pasta with saffron cream

This dish may win the combination of “most grown-up sounding food” but also “most child-like food.” It tastes like a jazzed up version of mac and cheese. You get a balance of half zucchini strands and half pasta strands so it doesn’t feel like you are deprived. And, yet, you can feel good that you ate your vegetables.

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Filed under Italian, Pasta, Vegetable

A Very More-ish Cake

Sometimes a hankering just pops into my head and I can’t seem to shake it. This is the second time I made this cake in a week and I may aim for a third. It came from a lack of sweet things in the house and a desire to use up some chocolate still leftover from Easter.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cakes & Tarts, Italian

Getting ready for Easter

17862795_10209500613295808_5785488272482727336_nPasqualina is something my mother would make basically only once a year and I have always loved. Spinach is among my top three favorite vegetables, along with broccoli and zucchini. But those also happen to be my sister’s top three least favorite vegetables. So any chance to have spinach was good with me. I know, strange child.

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Filed under Eggs, Italian, Savory Tarts & Quiches, Thoughts, Vegetable

Cold Weather Comfort Soup

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In October, I had the good fortune to go to a little town in Connecticut to celebrate my favorite TV show. I saw many wonderful people and had a great time, despite the cold incessant rain. Bone chilling rain. All. Weekend. Long.

Needless to say, soup was definitely on the mind.

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Filed under American, Italian, Soups & Stews

All cake, all the time

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I’m beginning to think I have a problem. This certainly isn’t helping my pants fit any better. But birthday and celebrations call for cake and there certainly seem to be a lot of them this summer.

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Filed under Cakes & Tarts, Italian, Thoughts