Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup


Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
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Yield: ~2 quarts
 
When the weather cools, a bowl of hot soup is a lunch or dinner favorite. Fall and winter bring delicious squashes and hearty root vegetables in abundance. You can make a particularly tasty soup by roasting your vegetables and pureeing them with some broth to achieve the consistency you like. The quantities of the vegetables can be adjusted and even the choice of vegetables can vary. In the base recipe here, I have used butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and a yellow onion, but you can change up the taste a bit by adding garlic, carrots, other squashes, or even something more exotic such as a small beet. If you use vegetable broth and leave out the sour cream garnish, this recipe will meet the guidelines for being vegan.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups butternut squash cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 4 cups orange yams or sweet potatoes cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 1 large onion cut into ~1 inch dice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (a microplane works well for this)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Diced red pepper for garnish (optional)
  • Celery leaves or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Light sour cream thinned with a bit of milk or water for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 1/4 sheet pan or a large baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and stir to mix. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with ~1 teaspoon of salt, and mix to coat all of the vegetables evenly. Pour into the lined baking pan and distribute the vegetables into an even layer. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and are beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven. At this point you can use a standard blender to puree batches of the vegetable mixture with the broth and spices or you can use an immersion blender. In either case, you transfer the mixture to a sauce pan (3 quarts or larger) so that you can heat it to serving temperature. If you would like a thinner consistency, add additional broth or water. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with a sprig of parsley or celery leaves, diced red pepper or some sour cream. An especially attractive way to use the sour cream is to use a small spoon to distribute dots of thinned cream in a circle. Use a toothpick to drag a line connecting through the middle of all the dots to make a pretty pattern.

Mean Woman Pasta

Mean Woman Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads, Vegetarian
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Yield: 12-16 sides
 
Here is another very versatile salad that is great for potlucks. It is best after it has marinated for a minimum of several hours, so it is a good salad to prepare the day before you plan to serve it, with no last minute effort other than a quick re-stir. If you are going to a party with a loved one, make sure you both eat some, as garlic has a strong role in this. As with other pasta salads, it can go a long way and is inexpensive, especially in the late summer when tomatoes are abundant. You can still make it at other times of the year using good quality canned, diced tomatoes, but there is nothing quite like the sweetness of a home-grown, ripe tomato. If you are planning to do some of the preparation with a food processor, I suggest dropping the garlic cloves into the running processor and when they are chopped, stop to add the tomatoes and pulse them to get small chunks of tomato. Resist the urge to set the processor to “on”, as that will give you tomato sauce. If you haven’t tasted a Kalamata olive, you should. Kalamata olives are the ones you also will find in a tasty Greek salad. I don’t recommend trying to substitute with other sliced black olives as they will not have the distinctive taste of the Kalamata which makes this salad so good.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound small pasta such as shells, elbows, bowties, etc.
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
  • 1/4 pound of feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain, but do not rinse. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, olives, basil, olive oil, and pepperoncini. Toss the pasta with the sauce and marinate for several hours or overnight. You could eat it immediately after preparation, but it will improve from letting the flavors meld and the garlic mellow a bit over time.

Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper


Made with Juice and Zest from a Lemon, and Capers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta, Vegetarian, Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Yield: 6 servings
 
When I am tired of tomato sauces and I want pasta with an easy, yet satisfying taste I turn to extra virgin olive oil, lots of garlic, red pepper flakes, flat leaf Italian parsley, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese sprinkled over the top. A microplane grater makes quick work of grating a block of cheese. Although Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is expensive, a little goes a long way because of its depth of flavor. Once you have tried freshly grated cheese, you won’t be satisfied with pre-grated parmesan cheese in those green cans. The olive oil loses some of its distinctive taste when heated, which is why we are reserving half of it to add to the dish when it is off the heat. After the basics, you can throw in extras like tuna fish, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, Kalamata olives, broccoli, spinach leaves, asparagus, marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves or a myriad of other ingredients to switch up the pace. If you are adding chunky ingredients, it is good to use chunky-shaped pasta. The base recipe clings nicely to any of the long pastas. There is a classic Italian dish called Pasta Aglio Olio e Peperoncino which is made with those basic ingredients I described. Here is a base recipe which you can tweak to your own tastes.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of pasta of your choice
  • 12 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, sliced very thin or minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup packed flat Italian parsley leaves, chopped coarsely
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground coarse black pepper
  • Salt
  • Water
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta in a large amount of salted water for a minute or two less than the time suggested on the package. Taste. The pasta should be cooked, but still a little short of the ideal “al dente”. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a skillet large enough to hold the drained pasta, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil. Sauté the garlic and the red pepper flakes in the oil until the garlic is golden, but not browned, about a minute or two. Stir in the drained pasta and some of the pasta water to moisten the pasta if needed. Add the reserved extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground coarse black pepper to taste, the parsley and any add-ins that you would like. Serve the pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.