minestrone

We’ve had a slight chill in the air this week. As you might be able to tell from my last post, I’m thinking about fall. I’ve really been trying to go through my collection of cookbooks, as I have collected such a wonderful assortment over the years. This one is no exception. It’s written by Henry Hill, the notorious mobster that the film “Goodfellas” is based off of. Now, let me just say what a great “food movie” Goodfellas is. The razor thin garlic? The cannoli incident? So many good scenes. But, I digress. You get me talking about any classic mafia movie, and I could go on for days!

There are so many great recipes in this book, I diddn’t even know where to begin. After much deliberation, I decided on this wonderful minestrone. It was delicious, and a relatively easy. It wasn’t super quick as far as cooking time goes – at 2 hours. But, for me, as a general rule of thumb – a good soup can’t come together quickly. Just the way it is folks!

I like to pre-cook my pasta first. I find that it doesn’t get quite as overcooked in the leftovers that way. I used elbow macaroni in this batch – but feel free to use whatever you like or have handy. This is really a “clean your fridge” out kind of meal. Lots of room for additions and substitutions. I kind of felt like maybe it would benefit for corn? Or some canelli beans perhaps? I was out of Parmesan cheese (I know! I know!), but I’d definitely top the soup with some before serving. Or, if you happen to have a rind laying around in the refrigerator or freezer, feel free to toss that into the mix as well. Just make sure you remove it before dishing it up!

Serve with a nice green salad and some crusty bread. Perfect for the cool fall evenings we have ahead of us!

risotto

I have a confession: I was a risotto virgin. I know, I know… How could call myself a “foodie”, and not yet experienced a delicious masterpiece like risotto? Alas, I have now found it, and plan to keep it in my repertoire for a long time to come. It was ridiculously easy; not only to cook, but also to clean up as it is a “one dish meal”.  I can easily see it becoming a “go to” meal for those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking anything. You can pretty much throw anything in there with equally delicious results. A great way to clean out the refrigerator at the end of the week!

I was concerned that this dish would need a protein to go with it. So, I served it with seared scallops. Now, the scallops were delicious, don’t get me wrong. I made a balsamic reduction in the pan that I seared them in, and drizzled that over the whole mess. It definitely added an extra oomph, or “kicked it up a notch” if you will. But, both my husband and myself agreed that it could certainly stand on it’s own as a satisfying dinner – sans meat.

So, if you haven’t tried making risotto at home yet – do yourself a favor, and please do. I kick myself for waiting as long as I did!