March 10, 2017

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Minestra con il Romanesco e spaghetti spezzettati 

Recipe n. 41

I made this delicious soup the other day.

I was looking in my fridge for some inspiration for a simple, light and nourishing dinner and voilà, there it was: this amazing pointy green broccolo, which looks like a sculpture from nature.

In Sicily during winter the green broccolo is probably the most popular vegetable that you see at the market. It’s a pretty picture to look at: lots and lots of bright green broccoli. The romanesco is not as common as the plain green one, but they are very similar in taste.

I followed my mom’s old fashioned technique to prepare the spaghetti for this soup. Nowadays you can purchase a bag of broken spaghetti everywhere, but there is something ‘therapeutic and mindful’ in breaking your own spaghetti, especially if done in the way my mom taught me when I was a child.

You don’t need much, just half bag of long regular spaghetti (I like to use wholewheat pasta) and a kitchen towel, where you first would place the spaghetti broken into large pieces and then after wrapping them inside the towel,  you start crushing them on the counter with the strenght of one of your arms, using the palm of your hand in a motion movement until they become about 1 inch long or less.

In my moms version of this soup there is no garlic or tomato paste, but I thought adding these simple ingredients would give a little kick to the soup and oh boy they did the job, especially  when you add some hot chili pepper flakes.

I could have eaten the enire pot, no kidding!

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Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of whole wheat spaghetti (broken)

  • 1 romanesco

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 1 to 2 tbsp of tomato paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes

  • olive oil

  • salt

  • pepper

Wash the romanesco and cut in small pieces. In a large pan sautee the garlic, hot chili pepper flakes in olive oil. Add the tomato paste and the romanesco. Let it mix well for a few minutes with all the ingredients and slowly add enough water. Add some salt and pepper and bring it to a boil.

As soon as the romanesco is well cooked, you can add the broken spaghetti. If the water evaporated too much you can add some more.

Once the pasta is cooked serve immediately and enjoy.

Go for seconds with zero guilt: it’s all good!

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ZUPPA DI CECI – CHICKPEA SOUP

Recipe n. 20

With these sudden changes of weather in early summer it’s hard for me, to make up my mind about what to cook (and what to wear too!). When it’s rainy and cloudy like today I feel like finding some comfort in a warm and creamy soup while looking out the window at the rain coming down, but then it’s sunny and hot again and I feel like I want to eat a fresh summery crunchy salad. Today I made a soup and realized that soups are not just meant for the winter. They are good even in summertime, as long as you eat them room temperature. Usually when I make my own hummus I cook enough chickpeas to make this soup with some of my favorites herbs.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Good quality olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Farro or Rice to go together with the soup (optional)

Soak the dry chickpeas overnight. After draining the chickpeas, place them in a medium sized pot and cover them with water, cooking for about 2 hours. In the meantime in a small skillet add 4 spoons of olive oil and when it is hot add the onion and garlic cloves until softened. After 2 hours remove the chickpeas from the heat and put a few spoons of cooked chickpeas in a small bowl on the side for later. In the pot with the rest of the chickpeas add the rosemary and thyme, the onion, garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper. Use an electric immersion blender to obtain a creamy velvety soup.

Transfer to a serving bowl or dish and add the whole chickpeas and chopped chives for garnish.

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