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Giant Peruvian Lima Bean Soup (From Taranta Restaurant in Boston’s North End)
Oct 19th, 2015 by

Here’s a recipe I got when I was shooting Dorm Room Chef videos for the Boston Globe and Boston.com. It’s delicious and very healthy, according to Taranta chef/owner Jose Duarte.

Duarte’s restaurant is unique in that it features both Italian and Peruvian dishes, two cultures that are part of his heritage. Watch the video above to get the recipe. It’s only 2 1/2 minutes long and the recipe is pretty easy to make. I also wrote the recipe below.

I’ve made it dozens of times and plan to make it again soon, now that the weather in this part of the country is getting colder.

Ingredients:

  • Giant Peruvian lima beans (About 1 1/2 cups). I couldn’t find anything labeled “Peruvian lima beans” at the supermarket so I just bought the largest ones there.
  • Water (About 1 1/2 cups)
  • Chicken stock (About 3 or 4 cups)
  • Garlic, chopped (A few cloves)
  • Celery, chopped (About 1/2 cup)
  • Carrots, chopped (About 1/2 cup)
  • Potato, diced (About 1/2 cup)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (3 or 4 tablespoons)
  • Egg (1 large egg per serving)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

Add the lima beans, the water, and enough chicken stock to completely cover the beans (about 1 1/2 cups) to a crockpot and cook for about 6 hours.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a ban over medium heat. Add the celery, garlic, carrots, and potatoes and cook until tender (about 3-5 minutes).

Add the lima beans and the remaining chicken stock to this pot and cook until nearly boiling.

Add one egg at a time and stir gently to cook the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve each portion of soup with one egg. Pour a little olive oil over the top of each serving too.

Find More Recipes in the RootsLiving Recipe Index

Stracciatella To Get You Through the Storm
Feb 9th, 2013 by

This soup is great all year, but much appreciated on a snowy day.

This soup is great all year, but much appreciated on a snowy day.

This is soup season. And with more than two feet of snow dropping in the Boston area in less than 12 hours, we’re in the thick of it.

What better soup is there to help weather the storm than stracciatella, sometimes referred to as Roman Egg Drop soup? My mother used to make a version of this.

Here’s a quick recipe for Spinach Stracciatella Soup:

Ingredients:

  • Chicken broth (About 8-10 cups. Use your favorite. Homemade is easy and economical. See recipe below.)
  • Pasta for the soup (I like cheese or meat tortellini for this soup, but you can use any short pasta such as bow ties or fusilli.)
  • Chopped fresh spinach or a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
  • Eggs (2 large, beaten)
  • Parmesan cheese (About one cup, grated. Please, use the imported. Or at least freshly grated Romano or Pecorino. The stuff you buy in a jar in the supermarket isn’t cheese. It’s more like plastic.)

Make sure there's plenty of grated parmesan cheese for each person to add to their serving.

Make sure there's plenty of grated parmesan cheese for each person to add to their serving.

What I did:

To make homemade chicken soup, I usually buy a roasting chicken and cook it for dinner one night and then after a day or so (when most of the meat has been picked off clean), I use it to make the soup as follows:

  • HOMEMADE CHICKEN SOUP
  • Drop the carcass into a large soup pot. If it’s a tall pot, cover it with about four inches of water. If it’s a wide pot, cover it with about 2 inches of water. Add a carrot, a celery stick, maybe an onion, some salt and pepper.
  • Boil it for an hour or more. Take out the carcass and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large plastic container.
  • Put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning skim off the fat. You can now use the broth as you see fit.

Bring the broth to a slow boil. Drop in the tortellini (or short pasta of your choice) and cook until nearly done. Then drop in the frozen spinach and about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Cook until spinach and tortellini are done and the broth is just simmering.

Stir soup and slowly pour in the beaten egg in a continuous stream. Continue stirring until the egg is cooked.

Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.

Some other soups to consider making during the storm:

Some other comfort foods to get you through the winter:

Find more recipes in the Food section.

The 12 Treats of Christmas
Dec 17th, 2012 by

A few of these recipes are misfits, but still very good.

A few of these recipes are misfits, but still very good.

There are some foods I make every year around Christmastime. They are tried and true classics that continue to make taste buds happy year after year. And each year, I also try some new recipes. Some stick and become a classic, others fade away either because they didn’t deliver on their promise or simply because of neglect: like a broken doll on the Island of Misfit Toys in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” TV special.

Here are a list of winning recipes. Most I make every year. But there are a few neglected misfits too that are worthy of a new chance in a New Year. We’ll start with the desserts because this time of year is so sweet:

DESSERTS:

This is more of a snack than a dessert but anytime you eat it, it's delicious.

Chocolate Bread is more of a snack than a dessert but anytime you eat it, it's delicious.

1.) Pane alla Cioccolata (Chocolate Bread)This lightly sweetened bread is great with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. You can spread cream cheese over it, but Mascarpone cheese is better.

2.) Chocolate Bark (Christmas Gift): The only thing that would be easier than making this sweet treat would be going out and buying it.

3.) Cenci (Florentine Rags): Cenci are a deep-fried Florentine winter treat, made from Epiphany to Mardi Gras.

4.) Christmas Befana Cookies: My grandmother, Bruna, made these Befana cookies every Christmas.

5.) Chocolate Kahlua Rum Balls: Another quick and easy treat to make. Makes a good gift too.

APPETIZERS:

Ribollita is a hearty soup for a cold December day.

Ribollita is a hearty soup for a cold December day.

6.) Ribollita Soup: One of the most loved recipes in the RootsLiving collection. Who knew, Tuscan Bean Soup, would be such a crowd pleaser?

7.) Asian Shrimp Salad: Trish found this recipe in an old cookbook a previous tenant left in her apartment about 30 years ago. It has become a traditional Christmas Day appetizer.

SIDE DISH:

8.) Nan’s Mashed Potatoes (with Cream Cheese and Sour Cream): No Christmas Roast Beast would be complete without a side dish of this. It puts the “comfort” in comfort food.

ENTREES:

Shrimp Saute can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.

Shrimp Saute can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish.

9.) Shrimp Saute (For the New Year): I made this for the first time last year, but it’s a keeper. From Joshua’s Restaurant in Wells, Maine.

10.) Best Lobster Stew Recipe, Ever!: The recipe is from Morrison’s of Portland, Maine. It’s even easier to make if you have your lobsters steamed when you buy them.

11.) Pizza: Cheese and Fig & Proscuitto (from Figs Restaurant): My grandmother made pizza every Christmas Eve. This recipe is a combination of her pizza, Julia Child’s pizza, and Todd English’s pizza.

12.) Breakfast for Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes: In these last, short, dark days of December sometimes it’s nice to stay in your pajamas all day and have breakfast for dinner. Here’s a suggestion in keeping with the holiday spirit.

Gnocchi Di Pollo E Patata Soup
Nov 28th, 2010 by

Roll the dough into a snake with your fingers before cutting it.

Roll the dough into a snake with your fingers before cutting it.

Gnocchi di pollo e patata sounds so much better than chicken and potato gnocchi. But they both taste the same: light, savory, elegant.

This recipe, from The Art of Eating Well, by Pellegrino Artusi, makes many gnocchis so it’s great to make and freeze. And then when you crave gnocchi, you’ll always have it on hand.

First the broth:

Ingredients:

  • A whole chicken (1)
  • Celery Stalk (1, split in half)
  • Carrot (1 whole, peeled and cut in half)
  • Salt/Pepper (to taste)

What I did:

Put a whole chicken in a large pot and cover with cold water.

Add celery and carrot, and salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for an hour or more.

Remove chicken. Pour broth through strainer into a large plastic container and refrigerate over night.

The next day, take the fat off the top of the broth with a soup spoon.

To make the gnocchi:

Ingredients:

  • Mealy potatoes, peeled, boiled and pressed through a ricer or strainer  (1/2 pound)
  • Small chicken breast, boiled  and minced (Use one from the chicken you used to make the broth).
  • Parmesan cheese (3/4 of a cup)
  • Egg yolks (2)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (a pinch)
  • Flour (3-4 tablespoons)

What I did:

Mix all of the ingredients, except the flour, together well.

Work the flour into the mixture to bind it.

Roll the mixture on a floured surface into a snake, the diameter of your little finger.

Cut the snake into 1-inch lengths. Put what you don’t use into a large freezer bag and put in a freezer for later use.

Simmer the gnocchi in the broth. They are very delicate and may fall apart. Don’t be too concerned as when they fall apart, they flavor the broth.

Find more recipes in the Food section.


(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

Ribollita Soup
Dec 6th, 2009 by

Ribollita means to "re-boil" in Italian.

Ribollita means to "re-boil" in Italian.

Also known as “Tuscan Bean Soup,” this is a real crowd pleaser. I’ve tripled this recipe and fed nearly 50 people with it at our annual Christmas open house party.

I got this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, but incorporated a few short cuts so you can make this in about 1 1/2 hours. Using a food processor to chop all of the vegetables also helps make the work go faster.

The taste is sweet and a little sour with a punch of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. It’s a great, hearty soup on a cold winter night.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large can of cannellini beans (about 19 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound diced pancetta
  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I always use Kosher as it’s the most flavorful.)
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably the imported Parmesan Reggiano), for serving

What I did:

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot.

Add the pancetta and onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. (Stir occasionally)

Add the carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. (Stir occasionally)

Add the tomatoes with the puree, the kale, and basil. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Stir occasionally)

Rinse the cannellini beans under cold water. Puree half of them in a food processor with about 1/2 cup of water.

Add pureed beans to the soup. And then add the remaining half of the whole beans. And stir.

Add the eight cups of chicken stock.

Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add the bread cubes to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.

Serve hot in large bowls. Sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. And then drizzle a little olive oil over it.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Our Signature Soup: Root Soup
Nov 4th, 2009 by

This soup is pure enough for a baby to eat.

This soup is pure enough for a baby to eat.

I’ve always loved vichyssoise soup (served warm) and decided one day to build on that. The result is this soup.

This is the signature dish of RootsLiving. It encompasses everything that RootsLiving is about: it’s simple, uses fresh ingredients of the season,  healthy (so healthy it should ward off H1N1) and delicious.

BONUS: And if you leave out the cream and butter, it’s low-calorie. (If you substitute water for the chicken stock, it’s just as good and zero points for you weight watchers out there.)

Ingredients

  • 6 leeks (chop off the roots and leaves; use just the white and light green part, discard the rest.)
  • 5 cups diced potatoes
  • 3 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups diced carrots
  • 8-10 cups chicken stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Dash of nutmeg (Nutmeg is strong so use no more than 1/8 teaspoon.)
  • Butter (1-2 tablespoons, or less)
  • Heavy cream (About 1/4 cup)

What I did:

Put everything in a pot (except for the nutmeg, butter and heavy cream) and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer, covered loosely for about 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Wait until ingredients cool and then puree in a blender in batches (if ingredients are still warm or hot, be careful not to burn yourself).

Heat up soup, add nutmeg, butter and the heavy cream (don’t let it boil.)

Serve with a crusty bread (french, ciabatta, italian etc.)

Find more recipes in the Food Section.

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