Tag Archives: pancetta

Hamburger Soup

zippysoup

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Soup is one of my favorite meals and since so many soups are quick to make, they are a  staple in my house. Filling, warming and satisfying soups make for the perfect dinner when paired with crusty bread and make even better leftovers for lunch the next day. And just about anything can be turned into a satisfying soup. This recipe, adapted from The Noble Pig has quickly become a favorite in my house where I liberally substitute the vegetables and even the ground meat depending upon what I have on hand. And thanks to the tangy and flavorful V-8, another favorite pantry staple, the broth is rich and flavorful without hours of cooking.

So if you are looking for a fast and tasty weeknight dinner idea, look no further than this soup. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

HAMBURGER SOUP

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

2 pounds ground beef

1-1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick coins

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 leek, white and green parts only, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups beef broth

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

15 ounces V-8 vegetable juice

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 pound small dry pasta

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Place a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, using a spoon to crumble the meat.
  • Drain off the fat.
  • Add the carrots, celery, leek, corn, broth, V8, garlic and oregano to the meat mixture.
  • Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Return the temperature to high, add the pasta to the pot and cook until the pasta is al dental,8-10 minutes depending upon the size of your pasta.
  • Stir in vinegar right before serving.

Serves 6-8

Bolognese Sauce

IMG_4181

Some dishes are simply classics. They are the go-to recipes that you return to over and over again. In my family bolognese sauce is one of those recipes. Rarely does a week go by without our eating a steaming plate of pasta topped with rich bolognese sauce for dinner. Its comforting, satisfying and when I make a pot of the sauce over the weekend, becomes the perfect fast weeknight dinner.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Williams Sonoma’s Essentials of ItalianIts taken me years to find my right balance of meat, vegetables and sauce but I think I’ve finally found my magic combination. The key to a good sauce is long and slow cooking. The process just can’t be rushed if you want to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and texture. I’m also a fan of including a piece of parmesan rind in my sauce. Most people discard this hard remnant of cheese but I stash my leftovers in the freezer then pop one into my sauce while it simmers. It adds a richness and complexity that you just can’t find any other way. If you don’t have a parmesan rind on hand that’s ok to. Skip it for now but save it the next time you use up your hard parmesan cheese. Try it once and you too will be a convert.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 leek, quartered and thinly sliced

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 cup drained and chopped plum tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 parmesan rind

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Melt the butter in a large heavy pot set over medium-low heat.
  • When the butter has melted add the pancetta, carrot, celery and leek. Stirring occasionally, cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the ingredients are golden brown and tender.
  • Add the ground pork and ground beef to the pot and stir well.
  • Raise the heat to medium and stirring often in order to break up the meat, cook until the meats are lightly browned and crumbled with most of the juices having evaporated. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • Add the wine to the pot and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, water, milk, parmesan rind, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir well.
  • Allow the mixture to just begin to simmer then reduce the heat to very low and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 1 hour. If the mixture becomes too thick you can add in a bit more water.
  • Partially cover the pot and continue cooking until the sauce is thick and dark brown, an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Skim off any fat that floats to the surface of the sauce and serve over hot pasta. Alternatively, let cool, cover and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat, additionally additional water or wine as necessary to get the right texture.

Yields 4 cups

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

IMG_8160

I love macaroni and cheese; actually my entire family does. The premise behind the dish is so simple, noodles and cheese baked together in the oven but the execution can be anything but ordinary. Classic macaroni and cheese is delicious as is roasted garlic mac & cheese and broccoli mac & cheese. Or perhaps you prefer your mac and cheese even a bit more different; in that case, beer and jack chili mac n’ cheese might be what you want or if you are looking for an impressive presentation sausage macaroni & cheese stuffed squash is what you need. But what if your mac and cheese doesn’t include the traditional noodles?

That is exactly what this mac and cheese, adapted from Sugar & Soul, is all about. Here, gnocchi, those little Italian pillows of potato goodness, take the place of traditional noodles. The cheese sauce remains the same and is comprised of a variety of cheeses which only adds to the complexity of the sauce. Its so easy and so good.

Serve these cheesy gnocchi with a green salad and dinner is ready. Yum!

GNOCCHI MAC & CHEESE

1/4 pound diced pancetta

1 pound potato gnocchi

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese

1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a ceramic casserole dish with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. When the gnocchi is cooked, drain it a colander and transfer it to the prepared casserole dish.
  • Fry the pancetta in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat until browned and crisp.
  • Drain the pancetta onto a paper towel then sprinkle evenly over the gnocchi.
  • Add the butter to the pancetta fat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant.
  • Stir in the flour and wisk until bubbly.
  • Add in the milk, salt, and pepper and stir until thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cheddar, mozzarella, and the parmesan cheese to the skillet and then immediately remove it from heat.
  • Wisk until cheese has melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the asiago cheese and the bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is melted and golden brown.

Serves 6

IMG_8159

Zuppa Toscana Soup

soup

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love soup and here’s a classic Italian soup that is both delicious and fast. I like to use a spicy Italian sausage but you can also use a milder version if you prefer. Kale is my green of choice but spinach or beet greens are also tasty. Use whatever you like and whatever looks good or even use a combination of greens. All you need is some crusty bread and dinner is served.

ZUPPA TOSCANA SOUP

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1½ tsp crushed red peppers

1 red onion, diced

1/3 cup pancetta

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 cup heavy cream

3 large red potatoes, skin on and sliced

1/4 pound fresh greens of your choice, I prefer kale or spinach

  • Sauté the sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot, using a wooden spoon to crumble the meat into smaller pieces. Drain off the excess fat, move the meat to a separate plate and set aside.
  • In the same pan, sauté the pancetta, onions and garlic over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and translucent
  • Add the chicken broth and water to the pot, raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the mixture starts to boil.
  • Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft when pierced with a fork.
  • Lower the heat, add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  • Return the sausage to the pan then add the kale, let all heat through and serve.

Serves 4

 

Chicken Jardiniere

chicken

Fall means stews and one of my favorite fall dishes is a hearty chicken stew. You really can’t go wrong when you combine chicken, potatoes and vegetables in a rich broth. But sometimes I like to change things up a bit and when that is the case, this French inspired chicken stew from Cooking Light is just what the chef calls for. The classic ingredients remain but instead of a cream based sauce, the broth for this stew is a white wine reduction. The result is a lighter yet equally flavorful dish that is sure to please.

Serve it as is with crusty French bread for sopping up the sauce or on top of egg noodles.

CHICKEN JARDINIERE

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1-inch-long, ½-inch-thick strips
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup dry white wine
¾ cup water
1¼ cups sliced carrots
1½ tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
12 small red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
8 baby portobello mushrooms, halved
12 small pearl onions
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 cup frozen petite green peas

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the pancetta and salute until crisp, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and cook for  8 minutes, turning once.
  • Sprinkle the flour, pepper, and salt evenly over chicken mixture, turning chicken to coat; cook for an additional minute.
  • Stir in the wine and water.
  • Add the carrots garlic, potatoes, mushrooms, onions and thyme; stir well.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken is very tender.
  • Add the peas to the chicken mixture.
  • Bring the stew to a boil; cook 2 minutes.

Serves 4

 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

IMG_4671

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here is another easy end of the week soup that was inspired by Damn Delicious. Chicken and pasta soup is a classic but the squeeze of lemon juice brightens the broth and gives it an unexpected flavor. The addition of pancetta adds saltiness and an additional level of complexity to the broth as well. I’ve used boneless and skinless chicken breasts but you can easily substitute chicken thighs or even leftover rotisserie chicken. If you choose to use precooked chicken, simply add it to the broth in the final few minutes of cooking and then continue cooking until the chicken is heated through.

Easy peasy on a Friday night!

LEMON CHICKEN ORZO SOUP

2 ounces pancetta, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 leek, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

5 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta

1 sprig rosemary

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stockpot set over medium heat.
  • Add the pancetta and fry until crispy. Remove from the pan to drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper then add the chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes; set aside.
  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Add garlic, leek, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the chicken stock, bay leaves and 1 cup water; bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the orzo, rosemary and chicken; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Serves 6

“Sauceless” Fettuccini Alfredo

IMG_4225

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Ask most Italians about fettuccini alfredo and they are likely to not recognize what you are talking about. Or at best they may shudder since they don’t recognize the often gloppy cheese and cream sauce that covers pasta as being remotely Italian. They would say it is Italian American cooking and nothing like what Grandma used to make. Personally, I’ve always found alfredo sauce to be too rich so rarely have I partaken in this American pasta tradition. But when time is tight I do whip up my own take on the dish and think it is so much better.

My version is inspired by The Splendid Table and is fast, delicious and decidedly not covered in thick sauce. With all of butter and the cheese is it still decidedly rich but an occasional splurge never hurt anyone. I prefer to use fresh pasta; not only does it cook faster but I think it tastes better as well.

“SAUCELESS” FETTUCCINI ALFREDO

1 pound fettuccini

3/4 cup diced pancetta

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

2 cups grated parmesan cheese

  • Cook the fettuccini according to package instructions. Drain and return to the pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, saute the pancetta in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Once the pancetta is crispy, turn off the heat and add the butter, allowing it to melt.
  • Pour the butter and pancetta mixture over the cooked pasta and toss well to coat.
  • Sprinkle with the red chili pepper flakes then add the grated parmesan cheese, again tossing well to coat.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 6

One Real Peach.

reflections on the heartbreak and hilarity of mothering, writing, and living authentically

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

Part aged wisdom, part trashy yumminess, always slightly salted observations about life, love, and living abroad

Sprouted Kitchen

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Not Without Salt

Delicious Recipes and Food Photography by Ashley Rodriguez.

101 Cookbooks

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Local Milk Blog

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Spoon & Shutter

In and out of the kitchen with Susan and Ted Axelrod

Plating Up

The food that accompanies my adventures!

A Life of Spice

Food, Culture and Lifestyle with Monica Bhide

The Blueberry Files

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Zosia Cooks

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Yummy Supper

The food that accompanies my adventures!

What Julie Ate

It's a delicious life, but somebody has to live it.

United Noshes

The food that accompanies my adventures!

The Bitten Word

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Savory Simple

Everyday Gourmet Recipes

Hip Foodie Mom

The food that accompanies my adventures!

From Away

Cooking and Eating in Maine

Always Order Dessert

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Yankee Kitchen Ninja

The food that accompanies my adventures!

%d bloggers like this: