Hello! I am so excited to be posting my first recipe for 2018.
Sharing recipes with my readers brings me tons of joy, but sadly my blog has been taking a back seat to work, school, travel, etc.
Setting goals is something that I do for myself all year long.
When the calendar goes from one year to the next, it is popular to say “New Year, new me.” While that can feel lofty or dramatic, I find value in that January feeling to take some inventory of life and see where there is room for positive change and improvement. Usually, the list is health related, like, “OK, I’m going to take my vitamins and supplements EVERY DAY” (instead of for two weeks straight and then forgetting about them for the next two months).
Connecting with you guys and sharing my plant-based recipes was also on my list. So, to kick off my 2018 blog posts, I thought I would share this amazing dish that I created out of food that was in my fridge that had to be used ASAP.
Some of my favorite recipes come from those moments.
My friends say that those are sometimes my best meals. Maybe it’s because I hear Ted Allen, the host of Chopped, in my head as I figure out how to plate something delicious out of the random basket that is my refrigerator, or maybe it’s because it allows me to be more creative than usual, but it also feels good to make something tasty out of what I can find.
If you know me but at all, you know that I think pesto is the besto.
The recipe for this sauce that I share with you guys on my website is the one that I grew up on and was created by my momma. People have told her that she should jar it up and sell it because it’s so good. Making it from scratch with impress yours and your loved ones taste buds.
Usually, I have batches of this green gold in my fridge that I made over the summer with fresh basil from my dad’s garden. I am running really low though, so I decided to use the rest of the basil in my fridge that felt like a ticking time bomb- ready to turn black at any given moment. I HATE when that happens! Whenever I am stomping and yelling “NO!” in front of my open refrigerator, the hubster figures it’s most likely because the basil turned bad on a dime.
I love this dish.
It’s warm, fresh, loaded with plants, and answers the question that I so often get which is “how do I cook with farro?” This is a perfect weeknight meal. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Pesto Farro with Eggplant & Zucchini Author: Michele Wolfson Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 50 mins Serves: 4 Nutritious and quick weeknight meal
Author: Michele Wolfson
6 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced half moons
1 smallish Italian eggplant (about 6 inches), diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups farro, uncooked
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper to taste
Recipe for pesto sauce: http://www.thedirtonvegetables.com/2014/07/basil-pesto-sauce/
Cook farro according to package (see notes) and then prepare your pesto sauce.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium/high heat. Then add diced onion and saute until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the eggplant and 3 TBS of olive oil and toss around, making sure it is covered with oil, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put zucchini in the pan with eggplant mixture, add the last tablespoon of olive oil, and saute until eggplant is slightly browning and zucchini is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When finished cooking, drain farro and add to a large mixing bowl.
Put your vegetables in the mixing bowl with farro and toss well.
Add your pesto to the mixing bowl and continue to toss well until all of your vegetables are covered.
1. If there is just no time in your week to make pesto (it's pretty easy to make, but stuff happens, so don't beat yourself up over it too much), I have heard that Whole Foods makes a good fresh pesto. 2. If you can't find pine nuts that are toasted, I toast my pine nuts on parchment paper in the oven for 375 for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing often. OR, I toast them in a dry skillet for 3 minutes over medium heat, tossing often. 3. Whole Foods and Trader Joes have bags of 10-minute farro if you are looking to make this a quick weeknight dinner. 4. I buy the "Italian Eggplant" as they tend to be smaller and firmer. 3.2.2925
Summer pasta dreams do come true… this recipe is proof.
Ripe tomatoes lined my windowsill this morning and they looked like summer’s precious jewels. Either raw or cooked, heirlooms tomatoes have the most incredible burst of sweet flavor. After coming up with about 20 different ideas for my ‘maters, I landed on making this perfect summer garden linguine dish since I was really keen on twirling pasta around my fork in that moment. If you are Italian, you can especially understand what it means to be in a particular mood to twirl your past. A sentence my mother has often uttered in her true Brooklyn form, “No, I don’t feel like rigatoni today, I am really in the mood to twirl.”
My future self six months from now in the dead of winter will look back on this meal and try to remember a time when we could eat tomatoes that looked and tasted this good every single night. I’ll wonder, “Did I eat this outside?” “In a tank top and shorts?” I will be so jealous of the lucky bitch duck that I am today. But for now, I am obsessed with myself for whipping up such a SIMPLE and incredibly DELICIOUS recipe that I can now share with my readers.
Banza makes linguine out of chickpeas and I think if I blindfolded you and put a bowl of regular linguine and a bowl of chickpea linguine in front of you– it would be hard to tell the difference. I can just feel my skeptical brother rolling his eyes at this last sentence, as he tends to do towards me more than anyone I know… but I will keep you guys posted on his reaction when I serve him a bowl with chickpea spaghetti. Spoiler alert: He’s gonna love it.
Channeling my inner “Barefoot Contessa” as I was making dinner this evening, I put up a large pot of boiling water and added “lots of salt”. She also always advises her viewers to use “good olive oil.” She is my goddess.
The pasta took 10 minutes to cook and I find that the trickiest part about getting chickpea pasta to taste amazing is making sure that it gets cooked the right amount. Too short or too long of cook time can make it go from “YUM” to “MEH” and that’s just not acceptable.
The creation of this dish was actually inspired by a tomato pasta dish I usually make in the WINTER by Giada DeLaurentiis. Canned cherry tomatoes are what make it more of a winter meal.
Can this dish be made vegan?
Can you use regular pasta instead of chickpea?
Either version will be delish, but this version was what my heart was calling for on the day of creation. I even had burrata in the house that I put right on top, but if you don’t have that, you can alternatively add cubed mozzarella, ricotta, or omit the soft cheese all together.
One day soon, hopefully, I will have videos of these recipes in my very own kitchen!
Tips for this dish:
1. I used kosher salt because it really draws out the juices of the tomatoes.
2. I save my Parmesan rinds in the freezer and then whip them out and add them into sauces, but you can always buy parmesan rinds at a reasonable price at many grocery stores. I know Whole Foods has them since I am there pretty much every day.
3. If you want this to be vegan, my advice is to blend half of the sauce so that it isn’t too dry.
4. I have made this kind of dish with macaroni (like penne rigate and rigatoni) as well and it is fantastic.
How beautiful is this pasta dish?
It just looks like summer. Mangia! Let me know what you think of this tomato recipe and please enjoy these precious days of summer.
1½ teaspoons kosher salt (plus more for pasta water)
1 pound Banza chickpea linguine pasta (Can use regular pasta as well, even penne)
1 cup fresh basil, ribboned (leave a little extra for the end).
½ cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese or 4 oz mozzarella, cubed or burrata (optional)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Heat the olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté on medium, high hear for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is lightly caramelized, golden, and fragrant. Slowly add the tomatoes and any juices left on your cutting board. Add the parmesan rind. Adjust the heat to medium to keep the sauce at a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir often to avoid sticking. Stir in the salt.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
Once the sauce has thickened, you can either puree the sauce in a blender or leave it in this chunky form. Remove from the heat, remove the parmesan rinds from the sauce. Stir in the pasta, basil, parmesan cheese and butter. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, and pepper. If needed, thin the sauce with pasta cooking water.
Divide the pasta among bowls and top with ricotta cheese (or mozzarella or burrata, black pepper, cherry tomatoes and basil. EAT!
The beginning of March in NYC still has a little bite in the air even though the end of February gave us a nice glimpse into spring weather last week.
So if you’re still stuck in winter weather like me, I have just the thing. If not, just pretend you’re in your sleeping bag jacket and in desperate need of a recipe that will warm up what my dad calls “your kishkes” (or to the rest of us, your soul).
How does red lentil soup sound? My recipe is perfect for when you’re craving something hearty and comforting yet nutritious.
This soup has 6 ingredients and has convinced even the biggest lentil naysayers that these pink-hued legumes can taste so freaking good. Bonus? It takes less than an hour to make and requires minimal cleanup as it is a one-pot recipe.
The combination of simple ingredients that this soup calls for consists of things that are often hanging around in my fridge and pantry, allowing me to whip it up on a whim. Plus, this soup reheats up beautifully and the lentils provide plenty of plant-based protein and fiber, making it a perfect dish to have for lunch or a light dinner throughout the week.
Anything that is this delicious, super heart healthy, easy to make, and hits the spot on a cozy winter day gets an A+ in my book.
This recipe is dedicated to my late uncle Phil who loved ice cream. He had practically no body fat on him in spite of the fact that he indulged in a late-night dessert binge nearly every single evening. Philip Wolfson was warm, kind, quirky, loving, hilarious (without even trying to be), caring, selfless, a great listener, honest, hard-working, brilliant, compassionate and one of the best humans that you could ever meet. He was remarkable, but he was incredibly humble and he had a unique way of making people feel that they were remarkable.
He loved jogging and cycling. He was a pediatric surgeon who was completely dedicated to his patients and he loved teaching medicine to prospective doctors. Most of all, he loved his family. He was infatuated with his wife and two daughters. He was a real man. He was a real man because he was never threatened by letting his wonderful wife be all that she can be and he encouraged his daughters by letting them know they could do anything that they put their minds towards. He would go to the ends of the earth for the people he loved most as well as complete strangers.
When I was in 11th grade I had to write a paper on who my hero was and I wrote about my uncle Phil. Nine years ago today, my uncle left this earth and those of us who loved him, loved him so deeply. Our lives are richer for knowing him, but they will never be the same after his passing. My husband never got to meet my uncle and that makes me sad every single day.
On my wedding day, my father made a toast and said that I possess many qualities that remind him a lot of my uncle and my late grandfather. That has probably been the best compliment that I have ever received.
Photo Credit: Lindsay Madden Photography
Photo Credit: Lindsay Madden Photography
Usually this blog is dedicated to posting plant-based recipes that are nutritious and also delicious, but today I am posting my ice cream cookie sandwich recipe because that’s what I would want to eat with my uncle right now if he could be with me here today.
When you make these treats, remember how fortunate you are to spend time with the ones you love. Live in the moment and appreciate those belly laughs among good friends and family. On a day like today, when I am especially sad, I try to keep my chin up and I remember to treat people with gratitude and respect. I remember to love life because that was the Philip J. Wolfson way and it is what he would have wanted. He will be missed every day. His laugh, his hugs and his amazing kindness to all will forever live on in my heart.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until combined well.
Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
Drop cookie dough ¼ cup (for a ridiculously large cookie, one or two tablespoons for more standard-sized cookies) at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes (bake for about 12 minutes for non-1/4 cup scoop cookies) or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks or plate to cool completely.
Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to combine. The sugar and cocoa should close to completely dissolved.
Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.
Refrigerate the chocolate ice cream base for at least 30 minutes before putting it in your freezer, so it is completely cold. This will help it freeze faster, improving the texture, and allow the cocoa powder to become fully hydrated by the milk and cream.
When ready to use, turn machine on; pour mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 35 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired (which for ice cream cookies is good), transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com/the-absolutely-positively-best-way-to-make-a-perfect-ice-cream-sandwich-84140
Author: Michele Wolfson
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ice cream, any kind but today we are making chocolate
Cool the cookies for no more than 5 minutes. Let them cool for 3 to 4 minutes; they should still be quite hot but just firm enough to handle.
Take your ice cream out of the freezer. Do not remove your ice cream from the freezer until this moment. It should still be quite hard.
Shave the ice cream in strips, not balls. Here's an important part of the process: Scoop or shave your ice cream in long strips — not in big round balls. You want chunky, thin blocks or strips.
Construct the sandwich. Don't spread or scrape the ice cream onto the cookie. Gently lay your thin strips in layers. Press another cookie on top.
Eat your sandwich! Don't delay. Eat immediately.
Storage: These aren't made for storage. But if you must store them, you can wrap them individually in wax-paper bags or plastic wrap and put them in a box in the freezer. If you underbake the cookies, they should stay chewy and soft — even when frozen.
I am a little bit obsessed with Israeli couscous. It combines a lot of my favorite qualities from both of my motherlands: Israel and Italy. Why Italy? Well, Israeli couscous is sort of like pasta, but it’s a good transitional grain to its heartier relatives like quinoa, farro, barley, buckwheat, and sorghum. Israeli couscous is the grain that got my Italian mother out of the routine of making pasta multiple times a week and into a habit of exploring other grains. When I introduced it into my parents’ world my mother looked up and asked, “why didn’t I know about this until now?”
Look, I am a health supportive chef, and I am aware that Israeli couscous is not a whole grain and it’s actually closer to a pasta than anything else since it is made from semolina flour. There are two main reasons why practically any dish that you see couscous:
1. It’s a good transition grain to get skeptics into trying carbs outside of bread & pasta. Israeli couscous can be replaced with a grain such as quinoa, bulgur or barley for added nutrients and fiber.
2. I can’t be perfect every. Single. Night. Israeli couscous is comforting and delicious. I load the veggies and the homemade slow roasted vegetables in this recipes and even kids LOVE the taste.
This recipe is good for a dinner party or a Wednesday night at home. I tweak it for every time of year, but the asparagus was surprisingly amazing looking for this time of year, so I just couldn’t resist. This is my favorite go-to Israeli couscous recipe. Clients ask for it time and time again, so I think you’re gonna love it too.
• 10 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced lengthwise
• ½ cup fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
• ½ pound asparagus, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch sections. Remove thick ends
• 1 ½ cup vegetable stock (unless using the roasted tomato sauce. Then only use ½ cup)
• ¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
• 3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
• 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
• Freshly ground black pepper
Bring 2 ½ cups of water (or vegetable broth if you have extra) to a rolling boil.
Add 1½ tablespoons of salt and stir, then add the couscous. Let it boil rapidly for about 7 minutes, or until it is almost but not quite ready; it should have a hard core in its very center. Drain the couscous quickly and then rinse it thoroughly under cold running water, turning it over several times. Leave in a sieve or colander.
Put the oil in a large sauté pan or large frying pan (preferably nonstick) and set over high heat. When hot, put in the shallot and garlic. Stir for 20 seconds and put in all the mushrooms. Stir rapidly for about 1 minute, or until the mushrooms look satiny.
Now put in the asparagus. Stir for 30 seconds then add the stock, vermouth and about ⅛ teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil, cover, and keep cooking on high heat for 2½ minutes. Put in the partially cooked couscous and cook, uncovered for another 2½ minutes on high heat, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat. Check the salt. You will probably need about ¼ teaspoon more. Add the salt, pepper, cheese and parsley. Stir to mix and serve immediately.
***Sometimes I make this with a roasted tomato sauce instead of using 1 ½ cups of vegetable stock. When making the tomato sauce, I use ½ cup of vegetable broth and then use the 1 cup towards cooking the couscous with water.
Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
Peel garlic and puree with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and ½ cup roasted tomatoes in a food processor until dressing is very smooth. Pour over the couscous with the veggies.
This recipe is NOT related to “the cabbage soup diet,” although it’s very healthy, so if you are looking to stay slim and trim, this recipe will do the trick. Believe me when I tell you that this soup tastes incredibly delicious. When I tell people I am making cabbage soup, it usually invokes the that-doesn’t-sound-so-appealing facial expression, but those people couldn’t be more wrong!
This soup contains few ingredients, yet it is packed with flavor. I learned how to make this recipe back in 2004 when I was a freshmen in college and my aunt & uncle would invite me over to Staten Island to their house for Sunday supper. The prospect of not having to ingest another gross meal from the college cafeteria was pretty much my version of Heaven on Earth, especially because I knew that I was going to eat an incredible meal prepared by my Aunt Elena.
When I would arrive, all of my favorite dishes would be splayed across the table like eggplant parmesan, potatoes and eggs, vodka sauce, and cabbage soup. My aunt and uncle would encourage me to bring along whoever I wanted and Aunt Elena would make enough food to feed an army. She insisted that I take home all of the leftovers and would also send me home with a grocery bag filled with gourmet cheeses and pasta as well. I would come home and struggle to shove all of my goods into my sad little mini-fridge. My aunt’s generosity and delicious food, paired with my Super Nintendo setup, made me the most popular room to hang out with on the entire floor.
Back then, I was a novice in the kitchen, but I craved home cooked meals since I didn’t even have a kitchen on my floor in my college dorm. My Aunt showed me how to make her cabbage soup and it’s so easy, that even a beginner in the kitchen such as my 2004 self could handle. Aunt Elena uses only water in her version and it’s delicious, but I add some broth to mine. This is another old Italian dish that is considered to be “peasant food.” I guess I would have been a really good peasant when it came to eating because all of those recipes are my favorite!
According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Woods, “cabbage ranks as one of the healthiest of vegetables, with good reason. It supports chi circulation, clears heat, and tonifies the lungs, large intestine, and stomach.” Cabbage in general—but also Savoy cabbage in particular—turns out to be an especially good source of sinigrin. Sinigrin is one of the cabbage glucosinolates that has received special attention in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC. This isothiocyanate compound has shown unique cancer preventive properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Cabbage also helps treat contipation, poor circulation, mental depression and irritability. It was used by the Romans as a hangover cure, so maybe plan to have yourself a bowl of cabbage soup the day after your upcoming holiday party!
4 cups green or savoy cabbage (about ½ head), shredded
½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups water
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes (if making vegan) OR ½ cup parmesan cheese (if making vegetarian)
Detach and discard the first few outer leaves of the cabbage. Slice the remaining head of leaves into very fine shreds. If you are going to do it by hand, cut the leaves into fine shreds, slicing them off the whole head. Turn the head after you have sliced a section of it until gradually you expose the entire core, which must be discarded. If you want to use the food processor, cut the leaves off from the core in sections, discard the core and process the leaves through a shredding attachment.
Put the olive oil and garlic into a large pot, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the garlic until it becomes vey pale gold colored. Then add the shredded cabbage. Turn the cabbage over 2 or 3 times to coat it well, and cook it until it is wilted, about 5-7 minutes.
Add crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, white beans and water. Turn the cabbage over once completely, lower the heat to minimum, and cover the pan tightly. Cook for 50-60 minutes, or until it is very tender, turning it from time to time. If while it is cooking, the liquid in the pan should become insufficient, add 2 tablespoons water as needed. When done, add nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and then taste and correct for salt and pepper. Add as much broth as desired. Allow it to settle a few minutes off heat before serving.
I can’t believe that I haven’t introduced one of my favorite kitchen items to my blog until right now, and for this I sincerely apologize. Ladies and gents, meet my spiralizer.
This past spring I was running a cooking demo at William-Sonoma and this strange looking contraption caught my eye. Letting a chef loose in a lovely kitchen store is the equivalent of a kid running free in a candy shop. William-Sonoma had this spiralizer device on display (also known as a sparooli at Bed, Bath and Beyond, OR, my favorite name… the veggeti), and I knew that once I had a break in between demos, I had to try out this gadget with any leftover produce from my meals.
The first veggie I spiralized was a sweet potato. Now, I don’t want to start sounding like an infomercial for this product, but I feel like I am obligated to let you know that it comes with SIX different blades so you can make all kinds of noodle shapes and ribbons out of your vegetables. From the first twist of the handle, I was hooked. I mean, there is NO ONE on God’s green earth who enjoys pasta more than I do, but as a carb-addict, I realize that I have to be careful when it comes to my spaghetti and rigatoni intake. This spiralizer is a great solution to my ever-loving pasta needs. I am not trying to suggest to you that the end result tastes like pasta– it doesn’t, but it is a really good replacement if you want to eat healthy veggies with your favorite kind of delicious sauce. It goes well with fresh marinara, yogurt sauce, garlic and oil… pretty much anything works and the sauces ESPECIALLY pair well with zucchini noodles.
I have tricked served kids zucchini “pasta” and they just twirled it around there forks and ate it like it’s going out of style. I have a handful of recipes that I have made with zucchini pasta, but this one I am posting is my most unique so far because it includes a whole roasted cauliflower. First, the cauliflower poached in a wine flavored broth with a kick, then it is roasted whole, which results in a brown and crackly masterpiece.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower & Zucchini Pasta with Spicy Yogurt Marinade Assembly
Author: Michele Wolfson
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small spaghetti squash, sliced in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 large zucchini, trimmed and run through the fine grates of a spiralizer
Toast pine nuts on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until golden brown. Roast spaghetti squash in oven at 475 degrees for 45 mins with 2 TBS olive oil. Once that is cooked, scoop out the spaghetti squash. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 tsp olive oil. Add the spaghetti squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and quickly toss with the squash. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and place in a serving dish. Place roasted cauliflower on top and then pour yogurt marinade over the top. Top with toasted pine nuts.
I’m not sure if this was a dish on the original Yom Kippur table when they were breaking fast thousands of years ago, but lentils with pasta has always been on the Wolfson table that evening. We had a guest over during the occasion last month and he has been hounding me to post this recipe ever since. The best part is that he isn’t Jewish, so it wasn’t like he was fasting all day long and would’ve thought anything was delicious at that point– he was just hungry for dinner, as usual, and was blown away by this simple, yet flavorful dish.
There was a point when my mother made this dish so much when I was a little girl that I could hardly look at lentils, so it took me a few years to get back onto the lentil bandwagon. Despite my personal protest, my mother taught me how to make this meal and I am so grateful that she did because it is now one of my favorites.
Now that summer is a thing of the past, I am really trying to make the most of it by cooking fall/winter friendly recipes such as pasta e lenticchie. It is very easy and cheap to make while doubling as a figure-friendly dish! For my super-skinny variation, I make Lenticchie e scarola, aka lentils with escarole. I leave out the pasta and in its place add a 1/2 – to 1-pound head of escarole, chopped or shredded. This variation will have a soupier consistency.
Lentils and pasta are a traditional pairing in Italian cooking, and most of the regions in the southern part of the boot enjoy pasta con lenticchie in some form, usually in soups. In the future, I will post a variation of this dish where the lentils are cooked with other vegetables into a sauce that served as a delicious dressing for rigatoni. It was excellent that way—this sauce seems to me even more delightful as a dressing for whole-wheat or barley pasta.
I’ve been to restaurants before where orriechetti (also known as “little ears” macaroni) is used in this dish, but in my family, we always used Capellini, also known as capelli d’angelo (angel’s hair), broken into 2- or 3- or 4-inch lengths. I prefer using this very thin pasta and I love it because it cooks so quickly. Be warned: This is not soup. It should be very thick and it is eaten with a fork.
Pasta e Lenticchie (Pasta & Lentils) Author: Michele Wolfson
Author: Michele Wolfson
3 TBS olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can or jar or tube of tomato paste (6 oz)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 bag of lentils
1- 14 ounce can of tomato sauce
1-2 cups water
1 lb of capellini pasta, broken into 3 inch pieces or Fideo Cut Spaghetti
Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat.
Add minced or pressed garlic, cook for a few minutes, but be careful not to brown.
Add tomato paste, then put the stove on a on low flame. Watch carefully stirring frequently for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, bring another pot of salted water to a boil for the lentils. Once it comes to a boil, add lentils and simmer for about 30 min.
Add the lentils to the pot with tomato paste and stir. Add the tomato sauce and additional water to the consistency that you want, 1-2 cups.
Check the salt and pepper. Add if needed.
Boil salted water for pasta. I usually use capellini and break it into about 3 inch pieces, but there is a new pasta that I found out there called Fideo Cut Spaghetti that is perfect because it's already broken all up. Drain and put the pasta in a serving bowl and add enough lentil mixture to keep it from sticking together. Put some in a soup bowl and add more lentils. I keep some of the pasta and the lentils separate so that the pasta doesn't suck up all of the liquid.
It’s no secret that summer is my favorite time of year. As a native northeasterner, I relish the days of bright dresses, strappy sandals, and sun-kissed skin. It also means prime time season for watermelon.
Watermelon is delicious in all forms. Whether it be all by itself, in a salad, on a skewer, and of course in a boozy summer cocktail. I made these watermelon caprese skewers pictured above for a wedding I catered this July… and they were definitely a hit! This eye-catching simple recipe was a fan favorite by both the kids and adults who attended.
When the bride, Patti, asked me to be her caterer for her special day, I knew that this little appetizer would be a big hit. They are so adorable and delicious. And now I’m convinced there’s something special about this treat because right after I made them this past weekend, my boyfriend proposed to me at my childhood summer home- my favorite spot in the world.
Want to know the best part about these skewers, besides the fact that they may have convinced my fiancée to propose? There is no cooking and little to no cleanup required! If that doesn’t sell you on this recipe, then I don’t know what will. These kabobs look good even when you use toothpicks in place of mini skewers—they are that easy. If you can’t find unseasoned little balls of mozzarella, cubed feta works great as a replacement!
After I take a melon baller to the watermelon for these skewers, I have a fair amount of fruit chunks left over. But as the saying goes, when life gives your watermelon, make a watermelon martini! Does life say that? Well if not, it should. I made a batch of Watermelon Lemon-Thyme Martinis and they went down in a flash. It’s the perfect summer evening cocktail to end the perfect summer day.
Watermelon Caprese Skewers With Fig Balsamic Vinegar
Author: Michele Wolfson
Recipe type: Appetizer
1 large watermelon
16 oz of Ciliegine or ‘Cherry Size’ Fresh Mozzarella
10 leaves of basil
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
Cut the watermelon in half.
Make as many balls as you can out of your watermelon.
Slice the basil leaves into thin strips and throw away the thick vein that runs down the middle. Skewer one watermelon ball, one piece of mozzarella, and then another watermelon ball on each skewer, drape with a basil slice.
Have a potluck party coming up this weekend and you’re not sure what to make? I have the answer. I didn’t know that a bean salad could be so appealing to the masses until I made this recipe for a BBQ one 4th of July and it was a major hit.
Let’s talk about beans. I loooooooove beans. I try to add them into my meals on the daily because they are chock full of all things good. It’s actually amazing how something so tiny can be so full of nutrition and flavor. Also, beans can be added into so many dishes as well as pureed. Ohhhh pureed beans… Now we’re talking. But this time, we are eating them whole and we are actually eating black-eyed peas. After trying this recipe, you will see why Fergie wanted to be in a band named after this delicious legume.
If you’ve never eaten black-eyed peas before, you are in for a treat. They are pale-colored with a prominent black spot and are very low in calories while being high in fiber. Each serving has 16% of your daily fiber 70 calories, to be exact! I usually eat this salad by itself but sometimes I put in on toasted bread and make it into a bruschetta or I could even make it a dip and have it with some tortilla chips. It is such a good way to get kids to eat their beans and vegetables.
My favorite way to eat this recipe is to pair it with a frozen margarita. The perks of a hot summer day! 🙂
(Right after I made this salad for a Kitchensurfing photo shoot. Look how happy dem beans make me!)
You can make different variations of this recipe all year long. During the winter, I add stewed tomatoes and sautéed spinach instead of avocado. In the South, eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day is thought to bring prosperity into the New Year, so please enjoy this dish 365 of the year.
Okay, I am going to go make some now because I just got a serious craving after writing all of this up and my cousin wants to have a picnic on the water by the South Street Seaport, so I leave you now with red wine + Black-Eyed Pea Rainbow Salad in-tow. (I don’t have the margarita ingredients, and besides, she has to go back to work not totally hammered!) Don’t be too jealous.
The picnic happened and Carrie gave this recipe (and the wine) a big stamp of approval!