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 first soup, Italian Bean Soup with Pappardelle, was hearty and delicious. It was inspired by a soup from Trattoria dai Mugnai in Monteveglio, a village outside of Bologna. The second soup, Spanish Garlic Soup, was inspired by an “end of the month” meal, a “meal to make quickly with whatever is on hand and money is tight,” from José Andrés.
The recipes for these simple soups were adapted from Milk Street, the Italian bean and pasta soup from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Rebecca Richmond, and the Spanish garlic soup from Milk Street TV, contributed by Christopher Kimball and Matthew Card.
Italian Bean Soup with Pappardelle
Yield: Serves 4
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T tomato paste
2 to 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 15.5 oz cans Roman (borlotti), cranberry, or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or sage
1 piece Parmesan rind, plus finely grated Parmesan, to serve
8 to 9 oz fresh or dried pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettucine, cut or broken into 2-inch lengths (see Note)
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
In a large saucepan over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste darkens slightly and begins to stick to the pan, about 3 minutes.
Add the beans, rosemary, Parmesan rind (use if you have it!), 5 cups water, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft enough to be easily mashed with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Off heat, remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Using an immersion blender, pulse the bean mixture until creamy but not completely smooth. (see Note) (Alternatively, if transferring to a blender, let cool for 10 minutes and purée in 2 batches before returning to the pot.)
Bring to a simmer over medium. Add the pasta and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente (refer to the package for cooking times, but begin checking for doneness a minute or two sooner than the directions indicate). (I used dried pappardelle, broken into 2-inch lengths, and cooked it for 6 to 7 minutes.)
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with oil and top with grated Parmesan and additional pepper, as desired.
If you can find sheets of fresh pasta, they work nicely, too—simply cut them into rough 2-inch squares.
Don’t puree the beans until completely smooth; leave them with some texture.
Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)
Yield: Serves 4
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra
4 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
6 oz sourdough or other rustic bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups), divided
6 cups water
2 T chicken bouillion (I used Better Than Boullion)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks
2 T sherry vinegar
In a medium saucepan over medium-low, combine the scallion whites, garlic and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to color, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add both paprikas and cook, stirring, until fragrant and darkened, 30 seconds.
Add 1 cup of the bread cubes and stir well.
Whisk in the water and bouillon, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking occasionally to break up bread, for 15 minutes. Whisk vigorously to ensure bread is thoroughly broken up.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the remaining 3 cups bread, the scallion greens, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth. (It is important to do this step to prevent the yolks from curdling when added to the pot.)
Remove the soup from the heat. Off heat, vigorously whisk the egg yolks into the soup, then whisk in the vinegar.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, fill individual bowls with the crouton mixture, then ladle the soup over them. Drizzle with additional oil, if desired.
This is another weeknight one-pot chicken dinner. I loved the colorful and fresh topping- I would add even more next time! This dish also incorporated farro which is one of my absolute favorites. It could appropriately be served any time of year.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used sherry vinegar in the topping and modified the proportions and method. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6) or use whole legs
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large or 3 medium leeks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel or coriander seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
4 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups pearled or semi-pearled farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro)
1+ cup quartered or halved cherry or grape tomatoes or diced tomato
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
fresh lime or lemon juice, or vinegar, to taste, such as cider vinegar or sherry vinegar (I used 1-2 T sherry vinegar)
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper, and set aside while preparing the leeks.
Trim roots from leeks, then cut away any wilted, yellowing or browned parts from the greens. Slice leeks in half lengthwise. Wash well under cold running water to remove any soil, then shake dry. (I soak them in a bowl of water.)
Thinly slice the leeks (including the greens) into half-moons. You should have about 6 cups. Measure out about 2 tablespoons of sliced leek whites and set them aside for garnish.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. (I used a wide and low enameled cast iron skillet.)
When the oil thins and coats the bottom of the pan, add half the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes on the first side ad 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté until tender and golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in crushed spices, thyme sprigs and tomato paste, and cook until tomato paste darkens and caramelizes, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in chicken stock and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Stir in farro and 1 teaspoon salt. When the liquid comes to a simmer, nestle in the browned chicken, skin-side up; pour in any juices from the plate. Cover pan and let cook until the farro is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together the reserved leek whites, chopped tomatoes and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and an acid like lemon or lime juice or vinegar. (I used sherry vinegar.) The mixture should taste tangy and bright.
Discard the thyme sprigs, and serve chicken and farro topped with the tomato mixture.
Christopher Kimball of Milk Street TV announced that this chilled tomato soup was superior in both taste and ease of preparation to my beloved summer gazpacho. I had to try it!
This puréed velvety soup is more elegant, creamy, and filling than gazpacho. We ate it as a complete meal with a green salad. It can be made year round with Campari tomatoes, which I used, or made with peak-season summer tomatoes, of course.
This recipe was adapted from MilkStreetTV.com, contributed by Diane Unger. The bread is undetectable in the finished soup but creates the desirable consistency. The sherry vinegar is an essential ingredient as well. I loved all of the garnishes. Lovely.
Yield: Serves 4
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored (I used Campari tomatoes)
2 1/2 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)(I used fresh sourdough)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 T sherry vinegar, plus more to serve
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plus 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
4 thin slices of prosciutto (about 2 ounces), torn into pieces
3 or 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced or quartered, optional
finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
In a blender, combine the tomatoes, bread, bell pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Blend on high until completely smooth and no bits of tomato skins remain, about 1 minute. (I used a Vitamix.)
With the blender running, gradually add 3/4 cup olive oil.
Transfer to a large bowl of lidded container, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.
While the soup chills, make the hard-cooked eggs, if using. Fill a saucepan about a quarter of the way with cold water. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of the saucepan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. Bring to a full boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, drain. Place eggs in an ice bath. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter or slice. Set aside.
While the eggs cool, place a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering.
Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and let cool completely, then roughly chop; set aside.
Taste the soupand season again with salt and pepper. (Chilling the soup blunts the flavor and additional seasoning may be required.)
Ladle the soup into (preferably chilled) bowls. Top with the prosciutto, hard-cooked egg (if using) and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Drizzle with additional oil and vinegar, as desired. (I omitted this addition.)
These caramelized carrots were part of our Thanksgiving feast. Initially, I thought that the proportions were really off in this dish- only a drizzle of the amazing browned butter vinaigrette is used and I had a tremendous amount leftover. The proportions could be reduced, of course, but I have used the leftover vinaigrette with roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, CSA rutabaga, and more rainbow carrots. It is absolutely wonderful.
This recipe was adapted from chef Neil Borthwick’s “forgotten carrots” at Merchants Tavern in London via The New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I modified the proportions and cooked the carrots in a cast iron skillet. I would roast four pounds of rainbow carrots next time.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
2pounds large carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
3tablespoons olive oil
8tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 3 extra tablespoons for roasting the carrots
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
3tablespoons chervil leaves or chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
Scrub the carrots, and peel them if you like (it really doesn’t matter but I peeled them).
Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a roasting pan over two burners on medium heat; put the olive oil in the pan.
When the oil is hot, add the carrots and cook, turning as they brown, until lightly caramelized all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons butter, spices, salt and pepper.
Transfer the roasting pan to the oven, and cook, shaking the pan once or twice, until the carrots are crinkly on the outside and you can pierce them easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 45 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, put 1 stick butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter foam subsides and the butter turns nut brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Put brown butter, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a blender or mini food processor. Blend until a creamy emulsion forms, about 30 seconds; taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Put the carrots on a platter, drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and garnish with the chervil or parsley, and serve.
Note: Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator to toss with other roasted vegetables.
I love one-pan dishes! This dish is made in the oven using one baking dish. It was also easy to prepare. 🙂 I modified the recipe due to personal preference- and to incorporate ingredients that I had readily available. I included all of the options in the recipe below.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I modified the proportions and oven temperature, used celery instead of fennel, and added carrots. I also substituted sweet Italian pork sausage for hot sausage and green lentils for brown lentils. The vinegar was essential to the finished dish.
Yield: Serves 6
4 celery stalks, diced or 1fennel bulb, cored, cut into 1/2-inch wedges through the root, plus 1/4 cup fresh fennel fronds
4 large carrots, diced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds bulk hot or sweet Italian pork sausage (or fresh Italian sausages, casings removed)(or a combination)
3cups chicken stock
1 1/2cups green or brown lentils
4 to 8garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1fresh rosemary sprig
1-2tablespoons sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2cup fresh parsley leaves, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
In a 9×13-inch baking pan or baking dish, gently toss the celery and carrots (or fennel wedges) with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (I used a ceramic baking dish.)
Roast until vegetables are golden brown underneath, about 10 minutes for fennel or up to 20 minutes for carrots and celery. (Fennel will not be tender at this point.)
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use your hands or a spoon to mix the sausage with the egg until combined. Roll the mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs.
Add the chicken stock, lentils, garlic and rosemary to the roasted vegetables. Stir to combine, then season with 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Place the meatballs in the lentil mixture, drizzle the meatballs with olive oil, then roast until the meatballs are browned on top and lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Discard the rosemary sprig, then stir in the vinegar, parsley leaves and fennel fronds, if using (reserve a few fronds for garnishing, if desired). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the lentils and any braising liquid onto shallow bowls and top with the meatballs.
Garnish with additional parsley leaves and fennel fronds, if desired.
I almost exclusively roast the acorn squash that I receive in my CSA box. It’s a gold-standard crowd-pleaser. 🙂
After making and absolutely loving both a classicand a summer version of chicken saltimbocca, I was excited to try this unique acorn squash version. Unlike the chicken versions, the squash is roasted instead of fried. After roasting, the skin was tender and completely edible. The browned butter sauce made it amazing- especially because it incorporated sherry vinegar.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Ann Taylor Pittman. I reduced the amount of browned butter (and there was plenty!). I served it with roasted CSA beets, kohlrabi and potatoes along with a green salad. It was a sweet and buttery CSA feast.
I served it as a main dish but it could also be served as a seasonal side.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4 as a main dish
1 large (1 1/2-pound) acorn squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch more for the sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 to 18 medium-size fresh sage leaves, divided
8 very thin prosciutto slices, halved lengthwise with ends left intact
4 T (1/4 cup, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey, for drizzling, optional (I omitted it)
Preheat oven to 425°F, preferably on convection roast.
Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds and membranes. Cut each half into 4 wedges.
Toss together squash wedges, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
Arrange wedges, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roast in preheated oven 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. Let cool 5 minutes.
Arrange 1 whole sage leaf on rounded flesh side of each squash wedge; wrap 1 prosciutto strip around each squash wedge.
Arrange squash wedges on pan, skin sides down. Roast in preheated oven until prosciutto is crisp and squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium-high, stirring often with a wooden spoon, just until milk solids begin to sink to bottom of skillet and brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add 8 to 10 sage leaves; cook, stirring constantly, just until sage stops sizzling. Remove from heat, and let stand 1 minute.
Carefully stir in sherry vinegar and remaining pinch of coarse salt.
Transfer squash to a warm serving platter, and spoon browned butter sauce over squash. Drizzle with honey, if desired. (I omitted it.) Serve immediately.