I love vegetable-loaded comfort food. 🙂 This casserole dish also has farro, a favorite, and cheese, of course. My husband said he would have loved it even without the fresh mozzarella on top! Absolutely delicious.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah DiGregorio. I doubled the amount of cauliflower, omitted the olives, used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro, and modified the method and proportions.
We ate the casserole as a main course with garlic bread and green salad. It could also be served as a hearty side dish. The recipe is very adaptable and could be easily modified to incorporate other vegetables.
Yield: Serves 8
For the Farro and Cauliflower:
1 large head of cauliflower, florets and tender stems cut into large bite-sized pieces
8.8 oz bag Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro
1 (28 to 32-ounce) jar good-quality marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, roughly chopped, optional (I omitted them)
10 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano (about 3/4 cup finely grated)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano or dried basil
1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup stock (can substitute water)
2/3 cup water
For the Topping:
1 cup panko
2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup finely grated)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 to 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds (I used 12 slices)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a 9-by-13-inch pan, combine the cauliflower, farro, marinara sauce, olive oil, olives (if using), garlic, grated cheese, onion powder, oregano or basil, vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Season with the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Pour in 1 cup stock and 2/3 cups water and stir well to combine. (can substitute with 1 2/3 cups water)
Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the topping: Stir together the panko, grated cheese and olive oil.
Uncover the pan and stir.
Evenly cover the top with the panko topping.
Top with the fresh mozzarella rounds.
Continue baking uncovered until the farro is tender and chewy, the sauce is thick, the topping is browned, and the mozzarella has melted, about 10 to 15 minutes more. (I baked it for an additional 12 minutes on convection roast.) (I also put my garlic bread in the same oven at this point!)
This was a super quick and delicious skillet dinner that was absolutely packed with flavor. I loved the colorful and fresh tomato topping. We ate it with a green salad but it truly could have been a complete meal on its own.
This recipe was adapted from Half Baked Harvest, contributed by Tieghan Gerard. I used chicken thighs, dried oregano, and capers. I also modified the method and proportions. Next time, I may substitute 10-minute farro for the orzo. Great.
Yield: Serves 6
For the Chicken & Orzo:
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces (about 4 large)
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used a yellow pepper)
2 cups dry orzo pasta
2 T capers, drained
For the Tomatoes & To Serve:
2 1/2 cups mixed heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, grated or put through a garlic press
1-2 pinches/dashes red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, for serving
In a large skillet, toss together the olive oil, chicken, oregano, paprika; season with salt and pepper. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
Cook over medium-high heat until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and garlic, cook another minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet.
Add the bell peppers to the drippings in the skillet. Cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the orzo and 2 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until almost all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste the pasta for doneness; add water and continue to cook until tender, if necessary. (I added 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional water after 5 minutes.)
Stir the chicken and capers into the orzo. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes with olive oil, basil, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
To serve, spoon the tomatoes over the chicken and gently toss. Top with feta cheese.
I have served this flavorful dish as a vegetarian main dish served over baby spinach and as a side dish with rotisserie chicken, roasted cauliflower and green salad. So versatile! I also love that it is made in one pan.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend with Couscous with Quinoa, Orzo, and Garbanzo Beans and modified the proportions and method. Nice.
Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish
1pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, halved (or a combination grape & small Campari- quartered)
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1/4cup sliced scallions, for garnish (about 2 large)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 T balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
3oregano, rosemary or sage sprigs
2cups vegetable stock or water (I used 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water)
1/3cup chopped cilantro, dill or parsley, plus more for serving
8ounces pearl couscous (1 1/2 cups)(I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Brain blend)
1(15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2cups feta, crumbled (about 6 ounces)
1/3cup freshly grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)( I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a 9×13-inch baking dish, cake pan or gratin dish (I used a ceramic 9×13 baking dish), toss together tomatoes, shallot, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary, oregano, or sage sprigs. Roast until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
While tomatoes roast, heat the stock (or stock and water) until it boils, then stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt, adding more to taste. (You want a well-seasoned broth here to flavor the couscous.)
Stir in cilantro, lemon zest and cumin.
Remove tomatoes from oven and fold in couscous, chickpeas and hot stock mixture. Cover pan tightly with foil, and return to oven for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and fold in the Parmesan and about 3/4ths of the feta (save the rest for garnish). Bake uncovered until feta starts to melt, another 5 minutes.
To serve, pull out and discard herb sprigs if you like, and spoon couscous into bowls. (I served it in the baking dish as a side dish.)
Top with remaining feta, more Parmesan, scallions, more herbs, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as desired.
This is another one-pot, cold weather, comfort food stew. Before our first snow, I rescued some rosemary and thyme from my garden- I was so happy to incorporate both in this dish. 🙂
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I added parmesan rind to the pot while the beans were simmering. I also modified the method and used an immersion blender to purée some of the beans after they were cooked to add creaminess to the finished dish.
The recipe can also be adapted to make in a slow cooker, noted below. Easy and delicious with rich and deep flavor.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1+ pounds sweet Italian sausage, sliced 3/4-inch thick (I used 5 links)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
4 cups (1 quart) water
4 cups (1 quart) chicken or turkey stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
parmesan rind, optional
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
minced parsley, for garnish, optional
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stir in the beans, 4 cups water, 4 cups stock, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
Then reduce heat to low, add the parmesan rind (highly recommend!), cover the pot, and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged. (I covered the pot and did not have to add any additional liquid.)
To add creaminess, use an immersion blender to purée some of the stew. (I blended for about 10 seconds.)(Alternatively, 1 or 2 cups of beans can be removed, puréed, and returned to the pot.)
When beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with more vinegar and olive oil, if desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
To Make the Stew in a Slow Cooker:
Add all of the ingredients, except the sausage and garnishes, and 7 cups water/stock (instead of 8) to the machine.
Cook on low for 8 hours. (It holds well on low for 2 more hours.)
When you’re ready to serve, roast the sausage on a sheet pan at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Slice and add the sausage, as well as any accumulated juices from the pan, to the soup. Warm through and serve.
Brussels sprouts are an essential part of my Thanksgiving weekend menu because my mom and mother-in-law are here to gobble them up with me. 🙂 In this dish, they are sweetened- and darkened- with balsamic vinegar.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Amanda Hesser. I significantly reduced the amount of breadcrumb topping. It was a nice side dish to serve on Thanksgiving because it comes together quickly and requires minimal oven time.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1/2cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh
1tsp thyme leaves
4 T extra virgin olive oil
4 T unsalted butter
2 lbs baby Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (cut larger ones in two)(I used an entire stalk of sprouts)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
6ounces pancetta in small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 T minced shallots
1 T minced garlic
1/2cup balsamic vinegar
1/2cup veal stock or rich chicken broth, more if needed
2 T chopped parsley, for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
In a bowl, mix bread crumbs and thyme with 2T olive oil, and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Heat butter and remaining 2 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foamy.
Add brussels sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add diced pancetta, and sauté, tossing frequently, until sprouts are well browned and softened slightly, and pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes more.
Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes.
Increase heat to high, add balsamic vinegar and stock, and cook, tossing frequently, until sprouts are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes; add more stock if needed.
Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary.
Transfer to a warm serving bowl and scatter bread crumbs and chopped parsley on top.
We gobbled up the original version of this classic Italian dish when it was published in Bon Appétit. I had to try this summery version of the same dish. It was absolutely incredible.
This recipe was adapted from Half Baked Harvest.com. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, increased the amount of garlic, and substituted ciliegine mozzarella balls for the burrata. It is an amazing adaptation of the original recipe.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
6boneless, skinless chicken thighs
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1cupfresh basil, approximately, divided
10 thin slicesprosciutto
3large eggs, beaten
2cupsPanko bread crumbs
2cupscherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 Textra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T fresh thyme leaves, optional
zest of 1 lemon, optional
4 oz ciliegine mozzarella balls or 3ballsburrata cheese, torn
Working one at a time, place the chicken thighs between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound to achieve even thickness.
Place the eggs and Panko in separate shallow bowls. (I used glass pie dishes.)
Rub the chicken with garlic (1 clove per chicken thigh) and season with salt and pepper.
One at a time, press 2 basil leaves on top of each chicken thigh.
Wrap 2 pieces (1 1/2 pieces if small) of prosciutto around each cutlet to secure the basil.
Dredge both sides of the chicken through the egg and then through the Panko, pressing gently to adhere. Place the chicken on a plate.
Make the marinated tomatoes: In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup fresh basil (chiffonade), and a pinch of salt, as well as the thyme and lemon zest, if using. (I omitted the thyme and lemon zest.) Add the cheese, if using ciliegine. Toss to combine. Set aside.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and cook until the bottom side is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Carefully flip the chicken and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and lightly season with salt.
Serve the chicken warm topped with the mozzarella/burrata and marinated tomatoes.
I have a couple more zucchini recipes to share. I receive a healthy amount of zucchini in my CSA share and I enjoy finding new dishes to make with all of it. I recently roasted a zucchini or two with fresh thyme and CSA onions, then added my special CSA corn (raw), and used it as a calzone filling. Delicious!
I knew that I would really enjoy this wonderful zucchini dish because it incorporates farro and arugula- my favorites. I ate it as a main course but my husband ate it as a side with grilled chicken and roasted potatoes. Everyone was happy. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I roasted the zucchini and increased the amount of arugula. I also decreased the amount of salt and oil and used a combination of basil, predominantly, with parsley, and oregano in the finished dish.
1cup soft, fragrant herbs, such basil, mint, tarragon, or a combination, roughly torn or cut
freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 large handfuls of arugula
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Parmigiano Reggiano, for shaving
Rinse and drain the farro and chickpeas. Add both to a medium pot with 2 large pinches of salt and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, skim foam from the top, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until farro is tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide your squash haul in half. With one group, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick planks. Reserve the other 1/2 pound for later.
Place the zucchini planks on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 to 2 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a preheated 425 degree oven, roast the zucchini planks until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes per side. (I set my oven to convention roast.)
Transfer browned zucchini to a shallow dish and, if desired, cut the planks into 2-inch pieces. (I cut mine.)
In a small bowl, whisk together 4 T olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and half the herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour about half the dressing over the zucchini and let marinate while you finish making the salad. Set remaining dressing aside.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave the rest of the zucchini into ribbons (here’s the easiest way: lay the zucchini on a cutting board, then drag the peeler across it). If your farro is far from done, you can preserve the zucchini strands by soaking them in cold salt water. Drain and pat dry before using.
Drain the farro and chickpeas and transfer to a large mixing bowl. (I returned mine to the pot.)
Toss with the reserved dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Add arugula, zucchini ribbons, marinated zucchini, lemon juice and Parmesan shavings. Gently toss to combine and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and top with the remaining herbs and more arugula and Parmesan, as desired.