A Simple and Savory Bolognese

img_20180213_210823-011452353602.jpegWhat can you do with all those leftover celery stocks and carrots from your winter soups?  Chop a few up and throw them in with a tomato sauce and a pound of ground beef and you’ve got a Bolognese that is simple, warm, comforting and satisfying.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 large celery stocks finely chopped
2 large or 4 medium carrots finely chopped
3 large cloves of roasted garlic or raw
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 cup bone broth or red wine (or both)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric – (not traditionally Italian but it is my new obsession to aide with inflammation)
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (flat or curly – I combined them in this recipe)
6 or 7 large basil leaves chopped
Grana Padana cheese grated
1 pound fresh pasta

Directions:

Heat heavy deep pan on medium, with olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots – add salt, pepper, red pepper, and turmeric – until soft, add garlic for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomato paste until mixed in completely. Deglaze the pan with a bit of bone broth and/or wine until evaporated. Add meat and cook through, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining broth/wine and stir for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce and bay leaf. Cook on low or in the oven at about 275 F if using a Dutch Oven for about 1 hour.

Serve over your favorite pasta and top with fresh basil, parsley, and Grana Padana cheese.

Last weekend we visited the Farmer’s Market in Cold Spring, NY and picked up a delicious spinach fettuccini from the Knoll Krest Farm, Hudson Valley Farmhouse.  Here’s a little look:  I admit it may be my new favorite pasta.  It melted in my mouth like butter!

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Turkey Chili Layered with Smokey Rich Flavors

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Did everyone try the South Beach Diet ten years ago? My close friends and I surely did. I couldn’t imagine starving myself and depriving myself of much of the food they said we couldn’t eat in those first weeks. So, naturally I modified and scoured the internet for food they considered acceptable; turkey chili was top of the list. Soon all my guy friends were ordering batches of it from me on a weekly basis. I don’t think I ever lost weight from the diet, probably didn’t need to at the time, but these guys sure did and they loved the chili.

So here’s my recipe but first, full disclosure: this recipe is kicked up a bit by roasting, sautéing and grilling my veggies before they go in with the turkey just to give them an extra layer of smokey rich flavors. I never did this for the boys back in the day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 1 cup celery stalk finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic oven roasted and chopped
  • 2 pounds ground turkey 70% lean
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes chopped with seeds kept in
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of hot Hungarian paprika
  • 2 to 4 small sweet red peppers or 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
  • dash or two of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of bone broth
  • 1 32oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 15 oz. cans of beans depending on your preference (kidney, black or pinto)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large heavy pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and celery. Fire roast the peppers or grill on pan while oven roasting the garlic. I oven roast the garlic by wrapping it in aluminum foil with a little olive oil and place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. Once those two are done, add your garlic and peppers to the onions and celery. (You may want to do this ahead of time). Add your spices and herbs and sauté for another 5 minutes until mixed well. Add the ground turkey and cook until lightly brown breaking down the meat with a wooden spoon.

Add the tomatoes, broth and tomato sauce, bringing to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beans (do not strain) and salt and pepper to taste. Stirring, cook for another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with grated cheddar, fresh oregano and green onions – or any combination you prefer. I sometimes top mine with homemade tortilla chips and a slice of avocado, lime and cilantro.

I should note that I also like to make my bone broths ahead of time (following Thanksgiving and Christmas I had a lot to work with) and freeze them in ice trays, ziplock bags and repurposed quart containers. I also slow-cooked this for another 4 hours in the oven on low (about 275 degrees Fahrenheit) just to be sure all of those flavors get married, make love and have babies! If you do this too you may want to add another cup of broth, it’s up to you!

I hope you and your friends enjoy this recipe as much as we will tomorrow in the snow!

Happy eating and stay warm!

I still get orders for this dish and when I do, I usually get about 4 quarts out of the recipe. I will add more broth as needed if I’m slow cooking it in the oven as liquid tends to evaporate. This batch is filled to the rim and topped with chopped green onions and flat leaf on parsley!!

More Soup Please!

White Bean Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

White Bean Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

What happened to our early summer weather? Just when we New Yorkers were starting to forget about the coldest winter in recent years and beginning to complain about the humidity and heat in crowded elevators, temperatures suddenly drop?  And now we’re pulling out our sweaters again and craving hot bowls of soup?

Okay, fine.  So with my bones a little cold and wishing I’d not worn the linen skirt, I turned for comfort in my kitchen.

In my fridge I grabbed some summer greens, carrots and celery, four or five hot and sweet Italian sausages. Staring into the pantry I grab a can of organic cannelinni beans and a box of organic chicken stock.

Here’s what I came up with.

Ingredients:

1 pound kale, stems (and veins, if desired) removed and leaves washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 scallion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large cellery stalk, chopped
1 cans cannellini beans, (29 ounce), drained and rinsed
4-5 Italian sausage (I used two sweet and three spicy) removed from casing
4 cups water
2 cups chicken stock, or reduced-sodium canned broth
Sea aalt and black pepper
4 thick slices country bread
Grated Parmesan cheese, (optional)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, scallion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add sausage and cook until brown. Break up into smaller bits with a fork.

Add about half of the beans, and lightly mash with a fork. Add water and stock, and bring to a boil. Stir in kale, remaining beans, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Grate fresh Parmesan and enjoy.