Monday, September 17, 2012

Tortellini Minestrone

I've been on a quest lately to find healthy, filling meals that I can get on the table in a hurry.  This one definitely fits the bill- it's chock full of veggies and on the table within 30 minutes. 

I didn't care for the canellini beans in the soup and plan to leave them out next time.

As seen on Cook Like a Champion, originally from Cook’s Illustrated Soups, Stews & Chilis

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, minced
5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 3/4 cups V8 vegetable juice
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (9-ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini (preferably whole wheat)
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pesto (homemade, or if store-bought, use the refrigerated variety)
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until just softened. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until all the vegetables have softened, 5-6 additional minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Pour in the broth, making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Stir in the vegetable juice and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the tortellini and zucchini and continue simmering until tender, another 5-7 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Divide among serving bowls and top each portion with a spoonful of pesto and a sprinkling of Parmesan before serving.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

28 by 28: Homemade Ketchup

I made this homemade ketchup awhile back.  It is super easy and has a depth of flavor that is just AMAZING.  (I am semi-ashamed to admit that I ate a few warm spoonfuls straight from the pan!)  And best of all, it keeps in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, so you can enjoy it again and again.

Note:  The full 2/3 cup of brown sugar may make the ketchup a little too sweet if you prefer a tangier ketchup.  Try adding 1/2 cup in the beginning, then taste and add more if necessary about 30-45 minutes into cooking if you are concerned.

From (Oh, how I miss Gourmet magazine!!!  *Tear*)

1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup cider vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 

1.  Purée tomatoes (with purée from can) in a blender until smooth.

2.  Cook onion in oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 1 hour (stir more frequently toward end of cooking to prevent scorching).

3.  Purée ketchup in 2 batches in blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Chill, covered, at least 2 hours (for flavors to develop).

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