Monday, June 11, 2007

Ministrone Soup

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This soup is a great main dish for chilly fall days. It is
loaded with vegetables and the addition of pasta gives
it its hearty appeal.

2 Tb. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 small zucchini, diced
6 oz. green beans, trimmed, halved
1 can plum tomatoes, 28 oz., with juices
10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 qt. vegetable or chicken stock
salt, pepper, to taste
1/2 cup ditalini or elbow pasta
1 cup canned canellini beans, rinsed

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan heat the oil over
    medium high heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots and
    celery saute for 5 to 8 minutes, to soften the vegetables.
    Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, basil and stock
    and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Season
    again with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in pasta and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Stir in
    beans before serving.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serves 6.

Grilled Duck Salad With Haricot Verts

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A beautiful main dish salad that is perfect for anytime of year.
This can be made with chicken breast in place of duck, if
desired.2 whole duck breasts, skin removed.

1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tb. ginger, peeled, minced
2 Tb. soy sauce
5 Tb. cilantro, chopped
1 cup plum wine
1 small shallot, minced
2 Tb. lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tb. olive oil
salt, pepper
2 small bunches arugula, washed and dried
12 oz. haricot verts, stem end only trimmed, blanched
2 oranges, segmented
2 tsp. each black and white sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Combine the duck with the sugar, ginger, soy and half
    the cilantro in a small bowl. Turn to coat and marinate
    for at least an hour.
  2. Reduce the plum wine to 1/4 cup over medium heat in
    a small saucepan.
  3. Combine the remaining cilantro, the plum wine, lemon
    juice, vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk;
    season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Heat a grill pan for 5 minutes over high heat.
  5. Grill the duck 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until
    medium-rare. Remove to a cutting board. Slice thinly
    on the diagonal.
  6. Divide the arugula between 4 large plates and drizzle
    with some of the plum dressing. Arrange the duck slices
    on top in a spoke pattern. Arrange the orange sections
    between the duck slices. Scatter the haricot verts around
    the outside of the plate in a circle. Drizzle each salad with
    the remaining dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Crispy Herb Foccacia

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This is a low-fat version of the traditional Italian bread
that everybody loves. Minus all the oil that is ordinarily
used, this recipe produces a crispy flat bread that is great
with soup or salad.

1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. plus 2 tsp. rosemary, chopped
salt, pepper, to taste

  1. Pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast
    over it. Stir and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a processor and process
    for 30 seconds. Add the yeast mixture through the
    feed tube with the motor running. Add 2 Tb. of the olive
    oil and 1 Tb. of the rosemary and process until the dough
    forms a ball.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for
    a few minutes to form a smooth ball. Place in a lightly
    oiled medium bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover and
    allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
  4. Heat the oven to 450.
  5. Punch dough down and roll into an 8 inch circle. Transfer
    the dough to a baking sheet and prick all over with a fork.
    Sprinkle with the remaining oil and rosemary and season
    with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake until golden about 7 minutes. Remove to a wire
    rack to cool slightly and cut into 8 wedges.

Serves 8.

Linguine Puttanesca

Linguine Puttanesca (serves 4)

2 Tb. olive oil
3 anchovies
4 cloves garlic, minced
1, 35 ounce can of plum tomatoes, with their juices
1/3 cup small capers, rinsed, drained
2 1/2 cups imported black olives, pitted, chopped
Fresh black pepper, to taste
1 pound linguine
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped finely

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and garlic. Mash the anchovies up with the back of a fork. Add tomatoes with their juices, capers, olives and fresh pepper. Break up tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Bring to a simmer.
2. Reduce heat to low and cook sauce for twenty minutes, covered.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add linguine and cook until al dente, stirring once or twice, about twelve minutes. Drain.
4. Transfer the sauce to a large serving bowl and add pasta, toss well. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.