Winter is almost here and nothing says comfort like a rustic Italian dinner.
Pasta e Fagioli (Bean Soup)
1 quart hot water
2 or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup of dried beans
1 small ripe tomato, seeded, peeled and diced (or you can use canned peeled tomatoes, drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or rosemary
2 cups fresh egg pasta, or you can use dried egg pasta (broken down pappardelle), or regular dried pasta.
1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of cold water.
2. Dice the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and chop the onion finely.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato, beans, and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Cover with hot water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one hour or until the beans are cooked.
6. Add the pasta and allow to simmer until the pasta is also cooked (for fresh pasta, usually 3 to 5 minutes; for dried pasta, follow the instructions on the package).
7. Sprinkle with black pepper, adjust the salt, drizzle with a little more olive oil, decorate with the parsley and serve hot.
Potato Salmon Terrine
3 medium/large potatoes
1 fillet of salmon (about 2 lb), baked or steamed
2 scallions or a medium onion
½ cup Chardonnay
3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chives and parsley, to taste
1. Boil the potatoes until soft, drain, peel and mash with a fork or potato masher.
2. Add the salt, pepper, wine and about 2 tbsps of the oil.
3. In the meantime boil the salmon for 15 minutes with the peeled and sliced scallions (you can also cook it in the microwave in 5 minutes).
4. Then drain it and chop the whole mixture in a food processor along with the juice of ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, and about ½ tbsp of chopped chives.
5. Combine with the mashed potatoes and pour into a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3″), previously lined with plastic wrap.
6. Press the puree into the pan with your hands or a wooden spoon, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
7. Unmold and serve decorated with more chives, and (if you like) some mayo.
* If you are in a rush, replace the fresh salmon and scallions with canned salmon and a touch of onion powder, but the result is less delicate.
Chicken Stew (Ezekiel’s Chicken)
1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slightly pressed or minced
1/3 cup green or/and black olives, pitted
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons mix of freshly chopped herbs (sage, rosemary, plus basil, mint or parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 or 3 peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup dry wine, red or white
1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the chicken and sauté until golden.
3. Add the salt, pepper, olives, garlic, and herbs, and the chopped (and drained) tomatoes.
4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, add the wine, then lower the flame and cook covered until tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally, and adding a little water if it tends to dry out.
5. Uncover, and if the sauce is too liquidy turn up the heat to thicken it.
6. You can serve it with a side of polenta, potatoes or rice as a main course.
Chocolate Hazelnut Whole Grain Cake
3 medium/large eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz parve dark, bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp DiSaronno liqueur
1/8 cup almond or soy milk, or more if needed
1 cup hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
4/5 cup whole grain flour (oatmeal or spelt or other; for a GF version, try buckwheat flour)
1 package baking powder
1 pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Beat the eggs with the sugar for a couple of minutes or until light and frothy.