Tag Archives: Parmigiano-Reggiano

Lentil and Sausage Soup: No Fuss, Simply Satisfying

When I made this Lentil and Sausage Soup, it was delightfully easy and its flavor impressive. Surprised by numerous recipes calling for “just throw everything in the pot” once the sausage browned; I struggled a little with not layering the flavors, skeptical of great taste with so little effort.  Melding a few promising recipes into one, this soup proved worthy of a regular spot on the menu rotation. Nothing fancy, just down right delicious.

Lentils boast a beautiful range of autumn colors to choose from; I selected yellow for a bright, appetizing soup. Green and brown lentils are more common and equally as tasty, but tend to make soups look muddy or cloudy. Its humble ingredients will never outshine Lobster Bisque or Cream of Asparagus for culinary elegance, however, Lentil and Sausage Soup delivers a flavorful and satisfying meal without a lot of fuss.

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Serves 6
2        tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
1         lb  Italian sausage — removed from casings (link chicken sausage is great too)
1         medium  onion — chopped
2         stalks  celery — chopped
3         medium  carrots — chopped
1          orange  bell pepper — chopped
4         cloves  garlic — minced
1          teaspoon  sea salt
1          teaspoon  lemon pepper
1/2 – 1  teaspoon  red pepper flakes — or more, to taste
1          teaspoon  basil — or 1/4 cup fresh basil
1          teaspoon  oregano
1/2       teaspoon  thyme — or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2         cups  dry lentils
1          medium  zucchini — chopped
28       ounces  diced tomatoes — undrained
6          cups  chicken stock
1          piece  parmesan rind
2         tablespoons  fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, brown sausage in olive oil. Removed from pan and drain sausage on paper towels. In the same pot, saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until vegetables are softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, salt and spices, cook until fragrant.

Mix in the remaining items, except the parsley, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are tender.

Stir in parsley and simmer about 10 minutes before serving. Remove Parmesan rind and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread.

Minestrone Soup with Blue Cheese-Parmesan Meatballs

Sunday is our day to rest, which includes a rest from cooking, so dinners throughout the week have to carry us through the weekend. As the weather turns colder, soup is ideal to comfort from the chill in the air, as well as provide for Sunday’s break from the kitchen.  I have had this Minestrone Soup recipe rolling around in my head for months. It is one of those things you have to get into the kitchen to work it out—even take an entire day just to make it as you imagined. Well, that’s how it is for me, anyway.

Yes, I’ve had those times when not all the tweaks and additions measure up to what my taste buds anticipated, though it is never a waste, I always learn. Fortunately, yesterday wasn’t one of those times :D.  This recipe turned to gold right before my eyes with beefy broth, loads of savory vegetables, and tender meatballs.

Rolling mini-meatballs can be a bit tedious, but I am a perfect bite kind of gal, so there has to be more than just a meatball on the spoon.  The blue cheese is subtle, blending with the Parmesan beautifully, packing deep flavor in each morsel—it was exactly as I imagined. If it is the perfect bite you’re after, you will want a hearty, crusty bread to soak up every drop of the delicious broth too.

Minestrone Soup with Blue Cheese-Parmesan Meatballs

Serves 8-10
For the Meatballs:
2          eggs
1/2      cup  milk
1 1/2   teaspoons  Worcestershire sauce
1/2      cup  bread crumbs [for gluten-free, use GF bread]
3/4     cup  Parmigiano-Reggiano — grated
1/4      cup  fresh parsley — minced
1           teaspoon sea salt
1           teaspoon  pepper
2          teaspoons  unrefined sugar
1/2      teaspoon  ground ginger
1/2      teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1/2      teaspoon  ground allspice
1          teaspoon  Italian seasoning
1          teaspoon  oregano
2         tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
1          medium  onion — finely chopped
3         cloves  garlic — minced
1          pound  ground beef
1          pound  ground lamb
1/2      pound  hot Italian sausage — casing removed
1/4      cup  blue cheese — crumbled fine

For the Soup:
3        quarts  beef stock
2×3 piece  Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
4        tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2  cups  leeks — white and light green part only, coarsely chopped
1         cup  fennel bulb — sliced, then coarsely chopped
1         cup  celery — chopped
6         cloves  garlic — minced
1         cup  carrots — diced
1 1/2   cups  parsnips — diced
2         teaspoons  oregano
1/2     teaspoon  rosemary leaves — crushed fine
1/4     teaspoon  red pepper flakes
2         cans  diced tomatoes — crushed or pulsed in processor
1          can  red kidney beans — drained and rinsed
1 1/2   cups  dry pasta [for gluten-free, use Ancient Harvest Quinoa Shells]
3          cups  baby spinach leaves — lightly packed
1/2      cup  fresh parsley — minced
sea salt and pepper, to taste

For the Meatballs:
In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix in the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, sugar, and spices; set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened.

Mix meats and blue cheese together, add egg and spice mixture and onions; mix thoroughly. Shape into small 1/2″ meatballs. Place meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Broil on HI until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on size of meatballs.  Break one open to be sure they are cooked through, extend cooking time if needed.

Set meatballs aside to finish the soup.  Note: This meatball recipe will produce more than is needed for the soup, though you can add as many as you like. Add the remaining meatballs to a pasta sauce or use for appetizers, simply freeze until ready to use.

For the Soup:
Pour beef stock into a soup pot and add a 2×3″ piece of Parmesan rind, bring to a low simmer (if you do not have Parmesan rind, grate some Parmesan into the stock). In a skillet over medium heat, saute leeks, fennel, and celery in half the olive oil until the vegetables begin to caramelize. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add to the soup pot with stock.

In the same skillet, saute the carrots and parsnips in the other half of the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle with the oregano, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and cook until vegetables begin to brown lightly and herbs are fragrant. Add to the soup pot.

Crush the tomatoes by hand or in a food processor until desired consistency. Add tomatoes with juices to the pot along with the drained kidney beans and meatballs. Stir to combine and simmer until flavors meld and vegetables are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Add dry pasta, spinach, and parsley to the soup and simmer an additional 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with more Parmesan and serve with crusty bread or Parmesan-Garlic toasts.

Note: This meatball recipe will produce more than is needed for the soup, though you can add as many as you like.  Add the remaining meatballs to a pasta sauce or use for appetizers, simply freeze until ready to use. A versatile soup, easy to substitute your favorite vegetables in place of any of those listed.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
Premeditated Leftovers Hearth & Soul Hop
SS&GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
Mom Trends Food Friday
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Easy Natural Food Sunday Soup Night

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe: One Last Stirring of the Pot

As our One-Pot Blogger Party ends, we conclude with a hearty pot of Tuscan White Bean Soup—with soup, there is always enough for everyone.  Thank you for joining me over the last three weeks in reviewing Emeril’s newest collection of recipes in Simmering Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders.  I am honored Savoring Today was chosen to be part of this project it has been a privilege.

Special thanks to William Morrow Cookbooks, of Harper Collins Publishers, The Secret Ingredient, Emeril, and his team for inviting such a terrific group of bloggers to the party. Their team has been supportive, encouraging, and delightful throughout. If you haven’t already, please visit the other 19 One-Pot Bloggers, I think you will enjoy their culinary adventures very much.

Now for the final stirring of the pot…

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe is one of the recipes we are allowed to share in full, so I couldn’t pass up making a pot at home too. In a house full of carnivores it was hard to imagine making bean soup without ham or smoked turkey, but I wanted to stay as close to the original as possible.  Uncertain as I was about the lemon component of this soup, it worked!  It subtly blended into the background of the broth brightening other savories as well as the broccoli just a bit.

With the absence of meat, it seemed only appropriate to serve it with Bacon Irish Soda Bread, which proved a worthy companion.  I highly recommend cannellini beans—a larger, plump white bean with a creamy texture—and as with any soup, homemade stock is ideal for the base.  I hope you’ve been saving your Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds (I have extra if you live close-by) it is a wonderful flavor boost. Of course, shaved Parmesan to top it off is good too!

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe

Emeril's Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe

This is a comforting, hearty soup with flavors reminiscent of northern Italy. We used baby lima beans because we just love their tender, creamy consistency, although in Italy it would likely be made with cannellini beans or great Northern beans. Use whichever beans you love or have on hand; just take note that the cooking time will vary slightly.

Yields 13 cups, about 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups small-diced onion
1 cup small-diced celery
1 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds dried white beans (cannellini, baby lima, or great Northern), rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, about 1 × 3 inches
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
1 ½ pounds broccoli rabe, tough stem ends trimmed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1 ½ cups)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1. Heat the olive oil in an 8-quart soup pot or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, dried Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, beans, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer gently and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 1 cup of the beans from the pot to a small bowl and mash them with the back of a spoon. Return the mashed beans to the soup and add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until the broth thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining black pepper, the broccoli rabe, and rosemary sprig and continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove the Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig and discard them. Serve the soup in wide, shallow bowls, garnished with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Click on the Photo for Order Info

Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders is now available!
Cajun Shrimp Stew,
Spicy Vegetable Coconut Curry, Turkey Club Casserole, Wok-Seared Duck Salad, Rigatoni with A Beefy Mushroom Gorgonzola Sauce
,
“BTL” Risotto and more than 130 other delectable recipes are compiled in this great cookbook.  Just click on the link or the photo to order yours and start enjoying them today.

Meet Emeril at “Sizzling Skillets” book tour! Check Emeril’s Newsroom for details and cities.  Also, check out ‘EMERIL’S TABLE’ on the Hallmark Channel.  He describes it this way, “Food brings us all a little closer together and I hope that as we’re gathering around my table each day everyone will invite us in to their kitchens and be inspired to cook along.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Disclosure: For my participation in The Secret Ingredient’s One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party, I received a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, a jar of Emeril’s Essence seasoning, and a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece. Once the party concludes, upon my successful completion, I will receive a $50 grocery reimbursement and a set of Emeril’s cookbooks.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
21st Century Housewife Hearth & Soul
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
SS&GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Mom Trends Food Friday
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday


Emeril’s Butternut Squash Lasagna with Italian Sausage and Sage: One-Pot Wonderful

There are those meals you select knowing you are going to put extra effort into it.  You buy the freshest ingredients, dedicate a chunk of time to fuss over it, accept no substitutions, no excuses, you go all-out.  Emeril‘s Butternut Squash Lasagna with Italian Sausage and Sage is one of those planned indulgences.  I invited my cooking buddy over to indulge with me and we got started at 3:00 for a 6:30 dinner.  Don’t let the time investment dampen your enthusiasm for trying this dish; it is worth every minute, besides new recipes always take longer.

I like butternut squash prepared savory rather than sweet, so this recipe was especially appealing to me. Tender squash seasoned with fresh marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf, accompanied by Honeycrisp apple, fennel, and onion. Fennel sausage, fresh sage leaves and toasted hazelnuts join the mix, rounding out flavors and imparting a hearty texture.  Oh, and it is lasagna, so ricotta, mascarpone, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano set the stage for a sensational dinner.

When you pick up a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders for yourself, mark page 76 for a cold fall afternoon and invite a small army of friends over for dinner.  I had to split this between two pans, the smaller of the two went directly to the freezer and we still had 8-10 servings.

Everyone loved it, each of us trying to describe our delight at the same time. Our daughter said, “This tastes like fall. It’s a little sweet, but then it’s not.” She was right, every bite was a nuance of engaging flavors. By the time we finished dinner, we finally agreed on a single word to describe it–delicious!

Click on the Photo for Order Info

Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders is now available!  Butternut Squash Lasagna with Italian Sausage and Sage and more than 130 other delectable recipes are compiled in this great cookbook.  Just click on the link or the photo to order yours and start enjoying them today.

Disclosure: For my participation in The Secret Ingredient’s One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party, I received a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, a jar of Emeril’s Essence seasoning, and a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece. Once the party concludes, upon my successful completion, I will receive a $50 grocery reimbursement and a set of Emeril’s cookbooks.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken Pasta: Test Kitchen Tuesday

This is one of those recipes I have had tucked away for a long time–anything with six cloves of garlic has promise, right.  Pasta dishes are ideal for a quick weeknight meal, use Tinkyada brown rice pasta and it’s gluten-free too. Basil is at its peak right now, available at most farmers markets—I anticipate that is what makes this dish really sing. We shall see!

I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at savoringtoday@comcast.net so it can be included in this post, or include a link to your site with your comment.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken Pasta

Source: http://www.cookscountry.com/recipe.asp?recipeids=5444
Serves 4
6       garlic cloves — minced
1/4    teaspoon  red pepper flakes
6       tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
4       boneless, skinless chicken breasts — about 1 1/2 pounds
Salt and pepper
1        pound  penne pasta
1        bag  baby arugula — 5-ounce
1/2     cup  chopped fresh basil leaves
6        tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1        cup  grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Meanwhile, combine garlic, pepper flakes, and oil in bowl and microwave until garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon oil from bowl with garlic mixture to large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken and cook until well browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice thin and set aside.

3. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in sliced chicken, arugula, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and remaining garlic mixture, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

NOTE: Microwaving the garlic, pepper flakes, and olive oil until fragrant blooms the flavors and infuses the oil.

Garnishing a Meal: More Than Just A Pretty Plate

Blackened Salmon garnished with Feta, Basil, and Fresh Tomato

So, you have dinner on the table with the last ounce of energy you could muster for the day and the thought comes to you, how I can garnish it? … Uh, hardly.  I know, it should be enough to have dinner done every day, but a simple garnish can transform a meal from ho-hum to ta-da! with little effort.  An easy rule of thumb to is, if it goes in it, it can go on it.  If a recipe calls for celery and onion, then celery leaves and scallions will be a complementary garnish when served.  The fresh components of those ingredients already in a dish create a bright, enzyme-rich finish.  These are just a few suggestions using common grocery items as a garnish to make any meal even more appealing.

Avocado — sliced or cubed, avocado goes on tacos, grilled or blackened fish, breakfast eggs, sandwiches, salads, soups, and more.

Croutons — go beyond the usual salad, this cupboard staple works great for soups too.  It won’t boost the nutritional value of the meal, but does add interest and texture.

Fresh herbs add color, flavor, and increase nutritional value. If a recipe calls for dried herbs, adding the same herb as a fresh garnish is guaranteed to enhance the dish.  These are three I use most often on just about everything.

Parsley — that leafy green sprig placed on many restaurant plates is there for more than contrast, it is a digestive aid and breath freshener.  This mild herb is a great place to begin if unfamiliar with using fresh herbs.

Cilantro — a cousin to parley, sometimes called Chinese parsley, fresh cilantro can be used in the same manner as parsley, placement of a stem and leaves or chopped and sprinkled atop a meal.

Basil — used for more than pesto, basil is an aromatic and beautiful garnish when julienned and sprinkled over pasta dishes or grilled meats. Basil varieties are fun to experiment with allowing flavor accents of lemon or cinnamon to bring new dimensions to old favorites.

Fennel fronds, celery leaves, and scallions are often regarded as waste when they could be used to garnish instead.

Lemon / Lime / Orange — citrus wedges or slices brighten and enhance meats, salads, and vegetables with a fresh squeeze of Vitamin C on each plate.

Nuts & Seeds — not just for your morning yogurt, nuts and seeds add crunch and texture to vegetable dishes and fruit or lettuce salads. Fiber, healthy oils, and antioxidants make these a garnish powerhouse.

Parmesan, Feta, Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola, and Chèvre (soft goat cheese) deliver on taste with only a small amount, so strong-flavored cheeses like these are ideal on grilled meat, pasta, burgers, salads, soups, Quiche, and vegetables.

Tomatoesseed and chop tomatoes, or quarter grape tomatoes; toss with salt and pepper before adding as a topper (allow to sit for 5-10 minutes). The salt will help the tomatoes release a little juice and enhance flavor. Use fresh, seeded tomatoes to garnish scrambled eggs, grilled meats, crostini, soups, or pasta dishes.

Beef Stroganoff Garnished with Parmesan and Parsley

Chopped Fresh Tomatoes & Basil Garnish

Shaved Parmesan & Goat Cheese Garnish

Sliced Almond Garnish on Green Beans

Crouton Garnish on Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cilantro, Avocado, Sour Cream Garnish

Fruit, Walnut, and Feta Garnish on Roasted Asparagus

Celery Leaf Garnish on Seafood Chowder

Lime Wedge Garnish with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Is there a favorite garnish you like to use? 

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Girlichef for EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


Caesar Salad: A Tableside Classic

If you’ve had the pleasure of Caesar salad prepared tableside at a restaurant or made fresh for dinner, you already know there is no bottled dressing that compares.  Clinging to crisp Romaine, the lemon, anchovy, and Parmesan anchor bold, rich flavors, the egg’s creaminess is unmatched.  There are always variations, even for the classics—anchovy or no anchovy, egg or no egg, white wine Worcestershire or regular—the delicious part is finding the one that suits you.  This is our favorite Caesar Salad recipe, served as a side or topped with grilled chicken or blackened salmon as a main dish.

Caesar Salad

Serves 6  as a main dish
2         large  heads of romaine lettuce — washed and dried
2         large  garlic cloves — minced
5        small  anchovy fillet — approx 2 tablespoons
2        tablespoons  lemon juice — fresh squeezed
1         egg + 1  egg yolk
1/3       cup  Parmesan cheese — shredded
1 1/2    tablespoons  Dijon mustard
2        teaspoons  Worcestershire sauce
1/4      teaspoon  pepper — freshly ground
1/2       cup  extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1         cup  croutons

Chop cleaned and dried lettuce into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Mix garlic in lemon juice, set aside.  Place anchovies, egg, egg yolk, Parmesan, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper in a food processor and blend until anchovy is chopped fine. Add lemon juice and garlic; blend until incorporated.

With the processor running, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified and incorporated.  Add salt, to taste.  Chill for at least 15 minutes before dressing salad.

Toss with romaine lettuce and croutons just before serving.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and fresh-cracked pepper, as desired.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

A note about raw eggs: There is potential risk of salmonella bacteria occasionally found in raw egg from cracked or improperly washed eggshells. Some versions of this recipe call for briefly cooked coddled eggs or pasteurized eggs. If this is a concern, you can use this method at Baking Bites to pasteurize your eggs at home before using eggs in uncooked egg recipes. Those at greater risk (pregnant or compromised immune system) can omit the egg for a vinaigrette-type Caesar, or use yogurt as a substitute to maintain a creamy texture.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesdays