Leek, Tomato, & Farro Soup with Pancetta

This hearty soup had more of a stew-like consistency. We ate it with a huge green salad and sliced sourdough baguette. It was an incredible meal on a cold night. We devoured it. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. I doubled the recipe, decreased the pancetta, increased the garlic, used whole San Marzano tomatoes, and added stock and water to adjust the consistency. Great.

Yield: Serves 10-12

  • 8 oz pancetta, diced
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 leeks (white and light green parts only), cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots (I used purple and orange rainbow carrots)
  • 6-7 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for serving
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 17-18 oz (about 3 cups) Farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute Farro)
  • 2 28-oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, with juice, diced
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-3 cups water or chicken stock, as desired to adjust consistency
  • coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
  • chopped fresh parsley, for serving
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
  2. Add the pancetta and cook until it is well browned and crisped, 5 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a  paper-towel-lined plate. (Leave the rendered fat in the pot.)
  3. Add the olive oil to the pot, stir in the leeks, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes; stir in the garlic for the last minute.
  4. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs, farro, tomatoes, salt, and a generous grind of black pepper.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook until the farro is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the pancetta and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more.
  7. Adjust the consistency with water or stock, as desired.
  8. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, discarding the herb sprigs. Top with shredded cheese and a sprinkling of thyme or parsley.

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Rigatoni with Sausage & Greens

This dish has a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. It’s creamy from the creme fraiche, meaty from the sausage, and earthy from the kale. I loved that the entire dish was prepared in a single pot- such a bonus. It was a great weeknight meal.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. The original recipe called for mustard greens; I used an abundant amount of Toscano kale from my CSA share instead. I also increased the amount of pasta, garlic, and creme fraiche. My family will gobble up any amount of kale if it’s creamy and prepared with pasta and sausage. Genius. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until 
al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain.
  2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  3. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add the leeks, garlic and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened, 
about 5 minutes.
  5. Return the sausage to the pot.
  6. Add the mustard greens and tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the greens are just wilted and the tomatoes start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Add the pasta, crème fraîche and reserved pasta water and cook, tossing, until the pasta is hot and coated in a light sauce, about 2 minutes.
  8. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve right away.

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Summer Squash Gratin

I had to make this lovely summer gratin as soon as I saw a photo of it. So pretty and colorful! 🙂 It is a wonderful celebration of the bounty of summer squash.

We ate it as a vegetarian main dish with a crusty sourdough baguette. It would also be a fabulous side dish. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Laura Rege. I used sweet cipollini onions from my CSA box in addition to the leeks.

After adding an additional sautéed CSA cipollini onion, I also made a mini-gratin with my leftover filling. 🙂 Great.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish (plus an additional mini-gratin, above, optional)
  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 small leeks, white and tender green parts thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 cipollini onions, halved and cut into slices (plus 1 additional onion if making a mini-gratin)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (plus 1 additional T if making a mini-gratin)
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably 
on a mandoline
  • 3 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably on a mandoline
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded Gruyère (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 plum tomato, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • flaky sea salt, for finishing
  • crusty bread such as a sourdough baguette, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat. Add the leeks, and onions, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Spread in a 9-inch round baking dish.
  5. Using a mandolin, slice the squash lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices.
  6. Meanwhile, on 4 large baking sheets, spread the zucchini 
and yellow squash and brush with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Sprinkle with the cheese and let sit until slightly softened, about 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  8. Tightly roll 1 piece of zucchini and set it on the leeks in the center of the dish.
  9. Working 
outward from that center slice, continue rolling and coiling additional pieces of zucchini and yellow squash until you reach the edge of the baking dish.
  10. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then tuck in intervals between the zucchini and squash.
  11. Scrape any cheese off of the baking sheets and sprinkle on top.
  12. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, 
until the zucchini and squash are tender and browned 
in spots. (I cooked mine for 33 minutes, and 27 minutes for the mini)
  13. Remove from oven. While hot, sprinkle with sea salt.
  14. Let cool slightly, then 
serve with crusty bread.

I’m sharing my summer gratin at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #180, co-hosted by Tracey @My Baja Kitchen and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook. Enjoy!

Note: If making the additional mini-gratin, saute the additional onion, adding 1 T wine cooking as directed above. Place in the bottom of a mini-pie dish and layer remaining squash and cheese. Cook as directed.

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One-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Buttery Orzo

I had saved this recipe a couple of months ago just waiting for my CSA box fennel to arrive. As soon as I saw it on my list of veggies to expect, I knew exactly what I was going to make. 🙂 I love how the orzo is cooked like risotto in this dish- the results were amazing.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in. I also increased the amount of fennel and used a sweet onion instead of a leek. We ate it with sautéed collard greens as well as sautéed yellow summer squash, also from my CSA box, of course. Easy, fresh, and delicious.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped, plus fronds, chopped (I used 1 1/2 bulbs)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion or 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped
  • 8 ounces orzo
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 2½ cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat 2 T butter in a medium cast-iron skillet (I used a 10-inch skillet) over medium-high.
  4. Nestle chicken, skin side down, in skillet in a single layer with no gaps (if you can’t quite fit them all, wait until chicken shrinks slightly, then puzzle in the remaining pieces). Cook until meat is opaque around the edges, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Turn chicken browned side up and transfer skillet to oven; bake, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 4 additional minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  6. Set same skillet over medium; combine chopped fennel bulb and leek/onion in skillet and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until leek is looking golden around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add orzo and cook until pasta is darkened (it will take on a brown hue) to a nice nutty brown in spots and toasty smelling, about 3 minutes.
  8. Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute.
  9. Add broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting broth absorb before adding more, until orzo is tender and broth is mostly absorbed but pan is not dry, 10–15 minutes.
  10. Remove skillet from heat, taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in lemon juice and remaining 1 T butter, then chopped fennel fronds.
  11. Nestle and pile chicken on top and finish with lemon zest.
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Caramelized Leek & Potato Soup

This is not the typical potato-leek soup. The leek to potato ratio is doubled in this recipe, making it much sweeter as a result. It is also served chunky. It tasted like a combination of French onion soup (with all of the caramelized leeks) and scalloped potatoes (with all of the thinly sliced potatoes).

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. (I love her!) I incorporated some frozen leeks and turkey stock. I also increased the amount of garlic and potatoes and modified the garnish. I increased the cooking time to allow the leeks to be fully caramelized prior to adding the additional ingredients as well.

Although not necessary, before serving, we added a dollop of sour cream (my husband) and Greek yogurt (me!) to the soup to add a little bit of richness. It would be wonderful with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream as well. We ate it with warm bread and green salad on the side. SO hearty and tasty!

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh leeks (about 6) white and light green part only
  • 1 pound frozen leeks, thawed, picked over, and thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 4 large sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 large sprigs parsley, and chopped leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or water (I incorporated 4 cups of Turkey Stock)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and thinly sliced (I used baby gold potatoes)
  • heavy cream, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  1. Halve the fresh leeks lengthwise and thinly slice the leeks crosswise. Place in a large bowl and cover with water. Swish to remove the grit. Using a slotted spoon, scoop leeks out from the top of the bowl removing as much water as possible.
  2. In a small square of cheesecloth, tie together bay leaves, thyme, sage, parsley and celery leaves if using.
  3. Melt the butter into the oil in the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft and dark golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the garlic for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
  4. Stir in stock and/or water, the sachet of herbs, the salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce immediately to medium-low; simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the potatoes and simmer soup until potatoes are very tender and falling apart, about 45 minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  8. If desired, dollop sour cream or yogurt on top or drizzle a small amount of cream into each bowl when serving. Top with parsley or thyme for garnish.

I’m bringing this to share with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #108 this week hosted by Suzanne @ A Pug in the Kitchen and Zeba @ Food for the Soul. Come join the fun! 🙂

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Leek & Gruyère Tart with Prosciutto

I have a new favorite appetizer!! Perfect for any holiday or game day. It is quick to prepare and absolutely delicious- pretty too! This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Laura Chenel.

I made it to serve at our second annual Christmas concert where my kids and their friends perform for my friends, my husband, and me (aka their parents and grandparents!). This year we had many pianists, two cellists and a French horn player. The kids all did a great job, of course. It is quite a festive event! It was so warm this year we were able to have a glass of wine by the fire outside afterwards- so lovely!

I’m going to bring this deliciousness to share with my friends at my favorite blog party Fiesta Friday #102! (once again… better late than never!) This week two of my buddies are co-hosting the fun- Elaine @foodbod and Julie @Hostess at Heart. 🙂 Enjoy!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/2 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks, white and tender green—halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise and rinsed well
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  1. Preheat the oven to 475° preferably on convection.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 13-inch square. Fold the corners in and lightly roll the pastry into a rough round. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks and thyme, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Spread the leeks over the cheese. Cover with the prosciutto; sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold up the tart edge to form a rim and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
  6. Blot any excess fat with a paper towel. Cut the tart into wedges and serve.

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Whole-Grain Stuffing with Spinach, Mushrooms, & Fontina

My son was begging me to make the stuffing muffins that I served last Thanksgiving. I had to break his heart to try this recipe because it could also double as a vegetarian main dish. I also loved that it incorporated farro- a new love of mine. Mushrooms, greens, and cheese… What’s not to like? It had a really special and earthy taste.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Kay Chun. I substituted one pound of organic baby spinach for the mustard greens, increased the amount of garlic, and used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro. I started prepping the ingredients two days before Thanksgiving (steps 2-5, as well as grating the cheese), and assembled and baked the complete dish on the big day.

Yield: Serves 12

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 cup farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro)
  • 1 pound whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch dice (8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 leeks, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mustard greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped (12 packed cups) or organic baby spinach (left intact)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable or mushroom stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese (6 ounces), separated
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter a 4-quart baking dish.
  2. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the farro until al dente, about 20 minutes. (I cooked my par cooked farro according to the package directions.) Drain well; transfer to a very large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the bread on a large baking sheet and toast until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl. (I did this ahead of time and stored the toasted bread in a ziplock bag.)
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the leeks and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the greens in batches and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables to the bowl.
  5. In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add half of the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of oil and mushrooms.
  6. Add the stock, lemon juice, eggs, scallions and 1 cup of the cheese to the bowl and mix well.
  7. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Scatter the remaining cheese on top and bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes longer, until golden.

Note: The assembled stuffing can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

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