Saturday, December 29, 2018

Escarole Bean Soup

One of my favorite soups my mom used to make was this delicious escarole bean soup. I'd watch her bring in batches of escarole to wash thoroughly in a strainer.  She'd always complained about how hard it was to actually clean the leaves, because they left a lot of sand on it, but in my experience in recreating her dish, I have never once found a grain of sand in mine. I'd sometimes beg her to make it and she would grumble, "Ugh, the work that goes into it---how about pasta fagioli instead?" Basically, pasta fagioli is the same soup premise, except it does not have escarole, and it requires one small can of tomato paste. Escarole bean soup should be a neutral color in the broth. Some like it with the tomato paste, but it gives it an entirely different twist that I'm not crazy about.  I will say this: if you're suffering with a cold, it's a great soup to make because it requires a whole lotta' garlic and onions! Every scoop is packed with garlic---at least mine is.

So first you want to start off just as you would a marinara sauce or a pasta fagioli.

Pour a little olive oil on the bottom of the pot, so you can simmer the herbs.

Chop 1 large bulb of garlic in chunks
Chop up some fresh parsley
Slice & dice 2 large onions
Chop up a handful of fresh basil (dried is ok too)
Throw in a dash of salt, pepper, oregano & a little hot pepper

Let that sizzle and sauté until your house smells like heaven. Don't burn the herbs though! Let it sizzle for like 25 seconds!

Then add 4 cups of organic chicken stock or broth -- (substitute is 4 cups of water 4 chicken bullion cubes.)

Strain and wash 3 cans of 16 oz of cannelloni beans
Add them into the broth and herbs and let it simmer for 30 minutes

While that's simmering nicely, grab your escarole and start washing! It's about 2 1/2 heads of escarole, 3 if you're lucky enough to fit it in! It's never enough in my opinion!

Wash each leaf off thoroughly, because they tend to gather grains of sand on them
Then rip them into pieces, whether you prefer smaller or larger leaves. I prefer them to be a bit on the larger side.

After 30 minutes, pour in (depending on the size of your pot) 15-20 cups of broth, let that come to a simmer. Then add in the escarole piece by piece, squishing down the leaves so that they can shrink in the soup. When you finally have all of the washed leaves into the soup, let that come to a small boil and wait it out for like 10 minutes.

Last step: throw in 1 lb of elbow pasta and sprinkle the soup with a generous amount of parmesan cheese.

Put on the lid and push it over to the side and let the pasta soften up on its own. Do not boil the pasta first! This can be enjoyed with some good Italian bread paired up with a chardonnay.

If you'd like to see me make this soup step by step, come watch a pre-recorded live stream by clicking HERE. You can always fast forward the mundane parts of it. I'll allow it. ;)

Bon appetit!

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com and join her on Twitter & Facebook for updated recipes and articles!  Also, please send her photos over on Twitter if you made one of her recipes! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Bacon Wrapped Roast Beef

My mom made a lot of roasts and other things that never really appealed to me until later in life. When my mom was still here suffering from her unbearable disease, I tried to make food like she did so it would comfort her somehow. She had a hankering for roast beef and mashed potatoes one night, and somehow I managed to pull it off. She said to me, "Just poke some holes in it and stuff it with garlic." Of course, I had to check Youtube about how this was done, and I was very happy with how it came out, and so was my. mom. I haven't made this kind of dinner since she's been gone, and the other day it felt like I was being prompted from above to make it once again, with a little twist of my own.

Take a 3-4 pound rump roast. Let it set out on your counter for about 45 minutes. It cooks better at room temperature. 

Place it in a small pan, with another room for your onions and roasted potatoes (if you wish.) Usually this dish is best with mashed potatoes---homemade garlic taters!

Rub your roast down with a quarter of a cup of olive oil, making sure it has touched every part. 

Sprinkle Himalayan (pink salt) liberally, fresh ground pepper & garlic powder. Rub it in evenly. 

Take a regular steak knife and poke little holes so they look like pockets, some deep, some not. Place chunks of freshly chopped garlic in each hole, so when you slice it, it'll have a beautifully distributed amount of garlic. 

Chop 2 onions and fresh parsley. Spread it around the roast. Add about a half a cup of beef broth for flavoring. If you're not making mashed potatoes, throat your chopped up potatoes (with skin or skinless) into the fun. 

Take out your bacon and carefully place each one on top of the roast as evenly as you can. This will provide more flavor and juice. 

Throw a bunch of dry parsley for garnish.

Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees and cook for about 30 - 45 minutes -- depending on how rare or well done you prefer it. For rare, you want the roast to be at 150 degrees.

Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

With the roasted potatoes in the mix, you have yourself a complete meal along with whatever vegetable you are serving up. This time, I did the roasted potatoes, but usually I make garlic mashed with this and it comes out sooooo good!  

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com and join her on Twitter & Facebook for updated recipes and articles!