steamed broccoli and pea soup

September 3, 2013 § 44 Comments

Broccoli (and peas for that matter) can be quite insipid as a side dish.  We do like steam broccoli as long as there is a good dipping sauce made up of yogurt and sweet chili sauce or a garlic rosemary aioli.  Every week I toss a few different green vegetables in the shopping basket and sort out the cooking later, which most likely is a steamed side.  This particular evening was perfect soup weather.  Deciding to keep it light (no cheese or cream), fresh and of course easy, I set out to make broccoli soup.

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I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 large head of broccoli, approximately 4 cups
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 3-4 cups of stock, chicken or vegetable
  • 4 slices of good quality bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/3 cup pecans or pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • small handful of chives, finely chopped
  • a splash of cream or half and half (very optional)

Steam the broccoli and peas in a large pot until tender.  Drain and place in a blender…if you are using a hand blender return the broccoli and peas to the pot.  Puree until nicely mixed and mashed.  Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy, then chop into little bits.  Place the nuts of choice in a non-stick skillet and toast them while occasionally giving the pan a good shake.  Once your green puree is back into the pot pour enough stock in until desired consistency.  Cook for 5 or 10 minutes.  Serve with a drizzle of cream (or not), chopped bacon, nuts and chives.
Serves 4.

conchiglie with yogurt, peas and chile

July 10, 2013 § 60 Comments

I love visiting food blogs specifically looking for something to prepare for dinner…”tonight”!   The other day I visited one of my favorite blogs (I have too many to count) and found this recipe.  I am a huge fan of Molly’s blog and I took heed to her urgency about cooking this pasta.  I ran out and pick up what I needed, came home that late afternoon and made one of the most delicious pasta dishes we have ever had.  I never imagined  pasta prepared with yogurt sauce.  This was so creamy, yet light, a bit spicy from the chile, yet a little sweet from the peas, nutty from the pine nuts and lightly salty from the feta.  All melty hot and delicious.  

I have yet to pick up my copy of  Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  Convincingly after making this recipe I am heading out today to do so.

I could never in my wildest dreams come up with this so I am giving you Molly’s posted recipe “verbatim”.  And if you haven’t read Molly’s book A Homemade Life it is quite charming and features some incredible recipes.

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A s   w r i t t e n   o n   O r a n g e t t e . . . . 

Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile

Adapted slightly from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The original version of this recipe calls for conchiglie, or shell-shaped pasta, but you could use any small pasta shape you like: orecchiette, penne, farfalle, and so on.

If you have some exotic type of dried chile, like Urfa chile, Aleppo chile, or Kirmizi biber, you lucky lucky dog, this is a great place to use it. If not, you can use regular red pepper flakes. I happened to have some Aleppo chile, and though it was ground, not in flakes, and probably a few years old, it worked beautifully. Oh, and if you’re worried about the amount of heat, consider starting with a little less of the chile than what is called for – or just don’t put much chile oil on your pasta.

  • 2 ½ cups (500 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
  • 1 pound (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (500 g) pasta shapes of your liking
  • Scant ½ cup (60 g) pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons Turkish or Syrian chile flakes, or red pepper flakes
  • 1 2/3 cups (40 g) basil leaves, coarsely torn
  • 8 ounces (240 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the yogurt, 6 tablespoons (90 ml) of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup (100 g) of the peas. Process to a uniform pale green sauce, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it until tastes like pleasantly salty seawater. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (you could scoop out a bit of the pasta water for this); then drain.

Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, and shake it well to get rid of excess water that may have settled into the pasta’s crevices. Add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce; adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to separate. Add the warm peas, the basil, feta, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss gently. Serve immediately, with pine nuts and chile oil spooned over each serving.

Yield: about 6 servings

peas and pancetta

March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Served on rice with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Years ago I had a friend who spent a few years in Italy.  She fell in love, married an Italian man and they moved to America.  They ended up in my home town.  We began sharing weekly meals together over the course of a year or so.  It was as though I was in cooking school!   She always made sure to include me while she was cooking.  Whether it was chopping, grating or stirring, I felt “involved”.  Sadly, she moved away.  She found her dream job working for a winery in the Alexander Valley area of Northern California, catering their special events.  What I wouldn’t do at the time to follow her!

This peas and pancetta recipe came from one evening cooking with her.  I have changed it a little.  She actually used ham.  I think it was because the town we lived in didn’t have a market for good quality proscuitto or pancetta.  Bacon is another good substitution.  I think if I was to use bacon I would cook it crispy before adding it to the peas.  This is a very italian style pea recipe.  They become thick and creamy after simmering for a good 15 minutes.  Delicious served on rice.  That is how we had it for dinner tonight.  With a generous sprinkling of parmesan.

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 red onion,  chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen peas
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • About 4 oz. pancetta, proscuitto or 4 slices of crispy cooked bacon

Melt about half of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook slowly until it is softened and aromatic.  Add the peas, stir to combine, and then add the remaining butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender and sweet, about 15 minutes. Add your choice of cured meat and stir to mix. Then turn off the heat, cover the skillet, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Taste, and season as needed.

Serves 4

buon appetite!

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