Thursday, November 25, 2010

Spaghetti with Chickpeas

Spaghetti with Chickpeas

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen which was adapted by Chef Michael White published in New York Magazine. The garbanzo bean/tomato sauce is so full of flavor, I can imagine the sauce on its own is equally delicious eaten with brown rice or substituting orzo pasta for the spaghetti. A few vegetarian readers on Smitten Kitchen have omitted the pancetta with great success. I may just do that the next time.

Two 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
About 1 cup diced pancetta (4 ounces) (Optional)
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
About 20 to 30 basil leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti, linguine or orzo pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)

Set aside 2/3 cup garbanzo beans. In a food processor, combine remaining garbanzo beans and chicken stock. Pulse a few times until garbanzo beans are coarsely chopped.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high until hot. Add olive oil and pancetta. Reduce heat to medium and continue to saute for about 2 to 3 minutes until nicely browned, partially covered to avoid grease splattering. Add the chili flakes and saute for a few seconds. Add the onions and garlic. Increase heat to medium-high heat and continue to cook until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes and basil leaves. When mixture comes to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in salted water for about 11 to 12 minutes, or just slightly under al dente. Drain pasta and immediately add hot pasta to the bean sauce. Continue to cook and toss pasta for another minute or until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat and toss in the Parmesan cheese. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese.

Yields 6 to 8 servings

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Appliance Recommendation: The best slow cooker on the planet: All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/8260341/made exclusively for Williams-Sonoma. What I love about this slow cooker is that it has a 7-quart nonstick cast-aluminum insert that you can use it on your stovetop for browning your ingredients before transferring it to your slow cooker to continue cooking. The slow cooker base and lid is constructed of polished stainless steel which is beautiful to display in your kitchen. I like to brown my ingredients before I slow cook so I no longer have to wash an extra pot just to brown ingredients. When I'm making soup, I like to give the soup a head start to reach boiling point before I transfer to the slow cooker. This slow cooker is a bit pricey, but worth the investment for the serious cook.

Red Beans and Rice Recipe: This recipe is adapted by www.thebittenword.typepad.com which was published in Cook's Illustrated, January/February 2010 issue. This recipe was modified to a much healthier version and for a slow cooker which turned out quite delicious:

1 pound small red beans and/or red kidney beans
1 small onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup (6.2 to 6.5 ounces)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped, about
1 cup (5.8 to 6.9 ounces)

1 rib celery, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup (2.3 to 2.9 ounces)
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced (0.5 to 0.6 ounce)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
One 14-ounce can Swanson's Brand 33% Low-Sodium
Chicken Broth

5 cups cold water
About 1:6.9 to 2 pounds smoked turkey drumsticks,
skin removed
3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
8 ounces turkey kielbasa sausages, cut in half vertically, then thinly sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices or leftover quality lean ham
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Hot cooked brown rice
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Wash beans and soak beans in about 10 cups or enough cold water to cover by 3 to 4 inches. Soak for about 4 hours or overnight. Beans will triple in volume. Drain beans and rinse well. Set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and then add the onions, green pepper, and celery. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, paprika bay leaves and black pepper and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans, chicken broth, water, turkey drumsticks and liquid smoke. Bring mixture to a boil and transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours.

Remove turkey drumsticks to a plate and dice up meat. Scoop about one-third of the beans into a large bowl. Mash the beans with a potato masher. Add the diced turkey meat, mashed beans, turkey kielbasa, red wine vinegar and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the slow cooker. Continue to cook on high for additional 2 hours.

For each serving, scoop about a cup of hot cooked brown rice in a shallow wide soup bowl. Push the rice to the sides of the bowl, leaving an empty space in the center for the beans. Scoop about 1 to 1-1/2 cups bean mixture in the center of the bowl. Sprinkle with green onions. Enjoy!

Yields 8 to 10 servings