Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Chill

Sometimes, I hate it when I'm right.  Temperatures dropped this weekend; it's not wintry or anything, but it's a challenge after the sheer bliss of earlier in the week.  What to do, what to do?

Make soup.

Make-Way for Spring Minestrone w/ Ricotta-Honey Toasts

serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced, peeled turnips
1/2-1 cup diced, peeled parsnip (sometimes I find parsnip an overwhelming flavor, so I go light)
2 bay leaves
3-5 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 cups shredded cabbage (I used green)
1-1 1/2 cups peeled carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch coins
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, water, or a mix
1 cup rinsed and drained cannelini beans
1 rind parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional, unless you live here)
1 cup chopped frozen green beans (not thawed)

1.  In a Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, celery, 1/4 c chopped carrot, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften.
2.  Add the turnips, parsnips, bay, thyme, and parsley.  Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
3.  Add the cabbage and carrot coins.  Stir to coat with the oil, and add 4 cups of the liquid.  Bring to a boil, reduced the heat, add the cannelini beans and cheese rind, and let simmer 10 minutes.  (Before adding the beans, check the level of liquid; if you'd like it "soupier" add the rest of broth.  I did.) Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.
4.  Just before turning off the heat, add the frozen green beans.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Serve immediately, with Ricotta-Honey Toasts.

Ricotta-Honey Toasts
make as many as you want :)

1/2" thick slices of a country-style or Italian bread, lightly toasted
ricotta cheese (1 tbsp per toast slice)
freshly grated black pepper
honey, for drizzling

Spread ricotta on toast slices.  Warm in the oven or toaster oven (I used the "light" toast setting on my toaster oven).  Grind black pepper over the ricotta cheese (I go about medium-heavy with this) and then drizzle honey over top.  Serve warm.

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