Minestra di zucchine e scarola — “zucchini and escarole soup”
Unlike a minestrone, this is meant to be a first course. You can add rice, pasta, beans or increase the amount of potato to make it heartier. Or add pancetta, sausage or ham in the beginning if you’d like a “meat-y” flavor in addition to the vegetables.
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and diced
1 carrot, peeled, trimmed and diced
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, trimmed and diced
1 zucchini, trimmed and diced
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
freshly milled black pepper
1 head escarole, washed, trimmed and shredded
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional), for garnish
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables have softened. Add the potato and continue to cook – stirring every so often – until it begins to stick, and the chunks begin to brown, about an additional 5 to 6 minutes. If necessary, adjust the level of heat to prevent the bits of potato that stick from getting too dark.
Add the zucchini, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the stock (or water) to the soup pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes over medium heat, or until vegetables are tender. Towards the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the escarole. A kitchen timer is useful for this purpose in case you don’t have one.
Taste for salt and pepper, stir in Italian parsley, then ladle into soup bowls. Top each serving with a heaping tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese if desired, then serve at once.
This is a simple peasant soup with African origins that is often served with toasted or fried bread doused with vinegar. This deliciously filling soup is suitable for a late spring/early summer meal.
1 cup chickpeas, washed, picked over and soaked for 4 hours or overnight in 1 quart water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice, or 1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste
Pinch of saffron
1 pound spinach , stemmed, washed thoroughly in 2 changes of water, and coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1. Drain the chickpeas and combine with 1 quart fresh water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add salt to taste and continue to simmer until tender, 30 minutes to an hour.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy soup pot and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 2 of the garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, paprika and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes cook down to a fragrant sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Add the chickpeas with their liquid, the potatoes, wine, more salt to taste, pepper, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Stir in the remaining garlic, the saffron and the spinach and simmer another 5 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.
Variations: You can add toasted bread, plain or garlic for a thicker soup.
Advance preparation: You can make this through Step 3 up to a day ahead. You might want to hold off adding the spinach until you reheat, if you want it to have a nice color. Bring the soup to a simmer and proceed with Step 4.
Nutritional information per serving (6 servings): 259 calories; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 41 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams dietary fiber; 79 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 11 grams protein
These breadsticks are so cheesy they’ll keep coming back for more …. so be sure to make plenty !
1 (10 ounce) cans prepared pizza crust
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 425
Unroll pizza dough onto a greased cookie sheet or Lg. pizza Stone, and brush with butter.
Sprinkle cheeses and spices evenly over the dough.
With a pizza cutter, cut dough lengthwise into 12 inch strips. Then cut in half again
to make 24 strips. Do not separate strips.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Recut along each strip and remove from cooking sheet.
Serve sticks warm with marinara sauce
The refreshingly cool, cucumber flavor in this soup is complemented by tangy yogurt, cherry tomatoes, fresh cilantro & garlic … and no cooking!
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/2 cups finely diced cucumber
Salt to taste
1 quart plain low-fat yogurt (free of gums and stabilizers) or buttermilk, or a mixture of the two
1 cup finely diced celery
1 garlic clove, finely minced or puréed with a little salt in a mortar and pestle
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or mint, plus additional leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)
1 cup cooked farro
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
To Make :
1. Place the cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Toss and place in a strainer set over the bowl. Allow to drain for 15 minutes. Rinse if desired and drain on paper towels.
2. Combine all of the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for one hour or longer. Serve, garnishing each bowl with cilantro or mint leaves.
Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving. It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information per serving: 177 calories; 4 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 10 milligrams cholesterol; 26 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 153 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 12 grams protein