Friday, February 18, 2011

Ribollita Soup and Light Oatmeal Cookies

Here are two new recipes from Mama Metafora. The following one for Ribolitta Soup reminds me of the wonderful cooking of Tuscany and of summers spent visiting Italy. However, this Tuscan bread soup is a great winter meal with a good salad.
Ingredients: Olive oil; 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped; 2 stalks celery, minced; 1 carrot, scraped and minced; 6 cloves minced garlic (2 tablespoons); 2 small russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped; 1 can (appx. 15 ounces) of tomatoes, undrained, or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes; 6 cups water; 1 bunch kale, spinach or other dark leafy vegetable chopped; ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley; ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dry); ½ teaspoon dry thyme; ½ teaspoon dry rosemary; salt and pepper to taste; 1 can (appx. 15 ounces) Great Northern beans, drained (or you can cook your own dry beans); 4 ounces day old Tuscan or other dense country-style bread or baguette, cut into bite-sized pieces; 1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy casserole dish (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat and sauté onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and potato until onion begins slightly to brown and caramelize. Add tomatoes, water, kale, parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary; bring to boil, then reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and if desired, red pepper flakes; stir in beans. In your oven-safe tureen, layer bread and soup (2 layers each works well). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes; let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with additional olive oil to finish this richly satisfying Italian soup.
Light Oatmeal Cookies:
Ingredients: 1 cup rolled oats; ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour; ¼ teaspoon baking soda; ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and if desired, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cloves; ¼ teaspoon salt; 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled; 1 large egg; 1 tablespoon vanilla; ¾ cup dark brown sugar; ½ cup raisins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and if desired, nutmeg (or even cloves) in a bowl, and set aside. In a larger bowl, stir the butter, egg, and vanilla together. Next stir in the brown sugar until the mixture is smooth. Then stir in the oat mixture and the raisins until thoroughly mixed. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (one level tablespoon each) – if the dough is too soft, refrigerate it for ten minutes. Place the balls on two parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until the edges are golden and the centers are just set, about 12 minutes, turning the tray around halfway through the baking. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes, then serve them warm or put them on a wire rack to cool completely (while you're cooking the second tray). Instead of raisins, you can substitute dried cranberries or cherries in these delicious cookies.
In my next post, Mama Metafora will offer some of our Armenian and eastern Mediterranean recipes.

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