One of the biggest blessings of this past year has been our puppy, Boone. He’s just the sweetest and has brought so much joy with his playful personality and all around adorableness. Recently, he has been begging for food. He doesn’t whine or anything, he just sits about 1 foot from the table and looks at us with his big brown puppy eyes and from time to time licks his lips. It’s really all my fault. It’s just that I want him to get to taste a little bread or bacon once in a while. I’ve never fed him directly from the table, I promise! I usually “accidentally” drop something on the ground while I’m cooking. I don’t think my trickery is working. He’s figured out that I’m a softy who can’t say no…to my dog. This does not bode well for one day when I have kids.
So of course, when making this stew, I may or may not have dropped a piece of Parmesan cheese on the ground. It’s my favorite food and I feel like in his little dog life, Boone should get to taste it.
Anyways, on to why you’re here: kale, beans, & pasta in a rich tomatoey stew seasoned by a Parmesan rind (don’t be scared!) and pancetta (again, don’t be scared). It’s Italian, it’s comfort food, it’s healthy, and it’s flavorful. With a big piece of crusty buttered bread for dipping, it’s the perfect winter meal. I like my soups and stews to have lots in them. I’m not a huge fan of creamy, evenly textured soups. I like to get different flavors and bites throughout. And this fits the bill!
Pasta é Fagoli
adapted from My Favorite Things
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 2-ounce piece pancetta, minced
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 Tbsp dried bay leaves
1 piece parmesan cheese rind, (buy a block of cheese, cut off the rind!)
2 cups small pasta, I used Orecchiette but shells would work great
1 bunch kale, stems and ribs discarded, leaves chopped
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, rosemary and pancetta, if using, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes; season with salt. Add the beans, chicken stock, the bay leaves and parmesan rind. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Uncover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 more minutes.
Remove the bay leaves, parmesan rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with parmesan cheese and parsley.
P.S. In real life I topped my with significantly more of the beloved freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
We’ve been living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for almost three weeks and we absolutely love life here! Cajun food, LSU paraphernalia, a multitude of delicious restaurants, and humidity like none we’ve ever experienced are all part of our daily lives. As you may know, my husband and I along with seven other of our close friends are beginning the adventure of church planting in Baton Rouge. We are sending out monthly updates about our life and ministry here via email; if you’d like to receive these updates, send an email to newlybread @ gmail dot com and I’d be more than happy to add you to our list!
As you might imagine, getting accustomed to our new home has been quite the task, albeit an enjoyable one. We have been busy organizing, cleaning, and setting up our home, spending time with new friends in the city, and exploring. While exploring we’ve found a few treasures here in the city, one being a produce market that is open daily and provides fresh and inexpensive fruits and vegetables.
The combination of moving furniture, hot weather, and humidity does not lend itself to cooking gourmet feasts. I’ve found that whipping up either of the following recipes is easy and tasty. This Easy Fried Rice is a versatile recipe that can be adapted to your personal taste and what you have on hand. Beside the essentials of rice, egg, and soy sauce, the addition of peas, green beans, mushrooms, grated ginger, minced garlic, cilantro, and chicken make this dish filling and delicious. Really whatever vegetables you have at home, fresh or frozen, can be thrown into the mix. I even added white beans to a recent batch which heightened the protein content and melded surprisingly well with the Asian flavors.
The Simple Bean Salad is a light accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. I’ve also enjoyed it by itself as a light lunch or as a dip for pita or tortilla chips.
Hopefully these recipes will help you enjoy cooking in the summer!
Easy Fried Rice
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3-4 eggs, beaten
- Salt and pepper
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- one clove garlic, minced
- 1 can (15.5 oz.) white beans, rinsed
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix, thawed
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, cover the rice with water and stir until the water becomes cloudy; drain and repeat twice. Return the rice to the saucepan, add 1 cup cold water, cover and cook over medium-low heat until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for just one minute. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until set and just dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool; coarsely chop.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and bell pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Add the beans and peas-carrots mix and cook until heated through; transfer to a large bowl.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the cooked rice. Spread into a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the rice forms a crust, about 3 minutes. Break up the rice and sprinkle with the soy sauce. Stir in the scallion greens, cilantro, bean mixture and eggs and cook until heated through.
Simple Bean Salad
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-oz can black eyed peas
- 1/2 white onion, chopped fine
- 1 cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Adapted from Simply Recipes
1 In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, onion, parsley and rosemary.
2 In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.
3 Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.