Tag Archives: Italian

Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs + A Cookbook Giveaway!!!

eggplant and white bean meatballs 039

Thanks to a snafu with my local post office and a generous Amazon customer service agent, I wound up with two copies of The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman. So I’m giving away my extra copy to one of my lucky readers! The giveaway will run all week, until Friday, July 18, 2014 at 5 pm Eastern, and each day that I blog until Friday, I’ll be featuring a recipe from this wonderful book!

First up we have these amazing vegan meatballs. When I say these were amazing, I’m not joking. At all. For full disclosure, I’ll freely admit I was a little wary of these. I’d never before had meatballs that didn’t contain meat or at least poultry or fish. So there was a touch of trepidation at how they would taste, whether I’d screwed them up, etc, etc.

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I needn’t have worried one bit. They were so insane. Matt ate seconds the night I served them, and we argued over who was to get the last container of leftovers. They are that good.

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Whether you are vegan or not, or occasionally vegan, or whatever: try these meatballs – I guarantee you’ll make them again and again. And like any kind of meatballs, they are flexible. I served them simply, just in a bowl with some marinara (someone might have been too lazy to make pasta that night), but they would be so delicious over pasta or in a meatball sub.

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And stay tuned for three more VB6 Cookbook recipes! You can enter to win a copy of this lovely book in the rafflecopter below.

Source: The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes no larger than 1 inch
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 cup cooked or canned white beans
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup breadcrumbs
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Use 1 tbs olive oil to grease a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
Add 1 tbs olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces shrivel a bit and are tender and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of a food processor.
Add the remaining 1 tbs olive oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Return to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the beans (also rinse them if using canned). Add the beans and parsley to the food processor bowl with the eggplant and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not completely pureed.
Transfer the eggplant mixture to a large bowl and add the onion and garlic mixture, along with the bread crumbs, chile flakes, and oregano. Mix to combine well.
Make sure your hands are clean and get them wet. Roll the mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. You’ll wind up with between 12 and 16 meatballs. You will likely need to rewet your hands between each meatball or every other meatball.
As you form them, place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake undisturbed until they are firm and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes (start checking after 20 minutes, though you may need longer).
Meanwhile, warm the marinara sauce; and this is when you would cook pasta or toast hoagie rolls if desired.
Serve the meatballs with the marinara in a bowl, or in whatever other fashion you desire.

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Genoa Salami and Kalamata Olive Calzones #SundaySupper

Genoa Salami and Kalamata olive calzones 050

Welcome, welcome, it’s time for some #SundaySupper, y’all! Our theme this week is Stuff, Roll, and Wrap, which seemed perfect for me because I’ve been craving burritos like nobody’s business lately. But then I realized that by sheer coincidence, or fate, or something, this week’s Sunday Supper lined up with my already planned Pizza Week. So I just can’t do a burrito for today. It has to be a calzone. Hopefully, you understand…

Genoa salami and kalamata olive calzones 034

Calzones fall into that irritating category of foods that usually smell and look better than they actually taste. You order one out, the smell is intoxicating, you’re all but drooling when it’s served to you, you take a bite…. Annnnnndddd, disappointment. The taste is usually quite a let-down.

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Not so with this one, my friends. Turns out, this problem is fairly easy to rectify at home. in fact, I’ve always found calzones to be so easy to make at home, and to make really well at home, that I really can’t fathom how restaurants and take-out places manage to screw them up so much.

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As you can probably guess, this one is really amazing. Cheesy, gooey, salty, and full of flavor. Try it soon. You’ll love it. Promise.

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And please do not forget to check out the rest of my wonderful #SundaySupper crew!

Source: adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
Cornmeal, for dusting
Flour, for dusting
1 lb. pizza dough
8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for dusting
4 oz. thinly sliced Genoa salami, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
Fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. tomato sauce
½ tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet with cornmeal.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out your dough into a 13-inch circle, about ¼ inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine the fontina, parmesan, salami, roasted red bell pepper, olives, and olive oil. Spoon the mixture onto half of the prepared dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to lightly brush the egg around the border of the dough.
Carefully fold the unfilled side of the dough over the filling, and pinch the edges together to seal. Brush the top with egg, then sprinkle with black pepper and parmesan. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a few slits across the top of the calzone, to let steam escape.
Bake the calzone for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. While the calzone is baking, make the dipping sauce by combining the tomato sauce with the oregano, salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl or into individual ramekins.
When the calzone is ready, cut into slices and serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Starters and Snacks

Entrees and Mains

All things Sweet

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

Hey guys! I am continuing my week of ASPARAGUS recipes by guest posting over at the fabulous food blog Noshing with the Nolands! My friend Tara is on vacation and I am so honored to be taking over her blog for the day.

Tara asked me to make something for Spring, and this fits in with my asparagus week so perfectly; so I made this wonderful panzanella with grilled asparagus. (Click HERE for the recipe!)

grilled asparagus panzanella

It was beyond delicious, y’all. Asparagus is in season and so gorgeous right now, and a lighter salad is so perfect if you’re one of the lucky few ushering in warmer weather. I’m not one of those people. Today’s high is 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m not bitter.

Anywho, be sure you click on over to Tara’s blog for this fabulous salad recipe! And be sure to check out the rest of Tara’s wonderful blog while you’re at it.

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

{One year ago: Pickled Jalapenos}

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Matt and I hosted a party a few weeks ago, and I bought too much blue cheese. Way too much. Oops.

But, it became not such a problem once I made this delicious pasta dish. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with spaghetti smothered in a rich blue cheese sauce, some crunchy salty bacon, and fresh baby spinach? Nothing. Big, fat nothing is wrong with this lovely bowl of silky, cheesy pasta.

gorgonzola and spinach spaghetti

I just have to share this one with you, it’s become one of our faves. It’s an easy weeknight meal, but special enough for a date night or a dinner party. I’m so happy to post it today! I hope y’all enjoy this one.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Source: adapted from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 lb. spaghetti
Kosher salt
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
Black pepper
8 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles, or whatever blue cheese you prefer
2 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula, roughly torn or chopped

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a medium saucepot until crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the butter to the bacon fat and put the pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute, to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the chicken stock and bring it up to a bubble. Cook, stirring, until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, stir to combine, and then lower the heat to low. Stir in the blue cheese and stir to melt. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
Drain the cooked spaghetti and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach or arugula and the blue cheese sauce. Toss to combine and add the crispy bacon bits on top. Serve immediately.

Anchovy Pasta Carbonara

Anchovy Pasta Carbonara

So this Seafood with Pasta dish came about in an effort to use up a box of linguine languishing in the pantry, and I also needed a good excuse to use some Sicilian anchovies I picked up at Fairway. Non-cheap Sicilian anchovies, I might add…

Sicilian anchovies

Now, I am an anchovy fiend. I love them. I’m constantly looking for excuses to cook with them, and if I don’t have one, I’ve even taken to eating them on toast. I just adore them! Matt is…. not as much of a fiend, we’ll put it that way. I have to sneak around with them sometimes. So the night we had this dish, when he asked what was for dinner, I simply said, “carbonara.” Little omission there, I admit.

anchovy pasta carbonara

Well he loved it. I mean, LOVED IT. He even said it was, and I quote, “the best carbonara I’ve ever eaten.” And yes, at some point he did figure out the anchovies. Well, his assessment of the dish was quite accurate. This carbonara is incredible. As is probably obvious, the anchovies replace the bacon/pancetta as the salty component. And it really does work, I promise!

anchovies and linguine for carbonara

This pasta dish is delicious, simple and kinda sexy. Perfect to make for your other half tomorrow! So even if you think you’re squicked out by anchovies, take a hint from Matt and give this one a go. I think you’ll love it!

Anchovy pasta carbonara

{One year ago: Pimento Cheese Spread}

Source: lightly adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients:
1 lb. long-cut pasta (I used linguine)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
One 2-oz. can flat anchovies, drained
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 extra-large egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the past until al dente, according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil with the garlic and anchovies and cook over moderately high heat until the anchovies have dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper, zest, oregano and parsley, then add the pasta and toss to coat. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the yolks with the reserved cooking water and add to the pasta. Cook over low heat, tossing until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

Well, I’ve officially joined the ranks of cold and flu season with what is hopefully the last day of a bad cold. I hate getting sick. So our weekend was pretty quiet, though we did manage to get our Christmas tree up and mostly decorated. I say mostly because upon removing our box of tree ornaments from the back of the closet, we discovered that our Santa tree topper had somehow gotten himself beheaded over the last eleven months. I swear I don’t know how it happened.

making meat stuffed shells

But, the tree is up, some presents are wrapped, the cats have only tried to unwrap two of them, and I get the sinking feeling that I’m sliding down the slippery slope that is head-cold-induced blathering, so we’ll just get to the recipe now.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

I had a half a box of jumbo shells to use up, and I was thinking of making something vegetarian, but when I asked Matt his thoughts, he said no, he wanted MEAT! And RED SAUCE! And so it came to be. I found a recipe that added spinach to the meat filling, and we both found it hearty and scrumptious. I hope you will too. Enjoy!

Meat and spinach stuffed shells

Source: adapted from 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
½ a 12 oz. box of jumbo shells
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 ½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
10 basil leaves, julienned
1 (10 oz.) box chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
½ cup grated fresh mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then boil the pasta shells according to package directions. Remove with a spider or other slotted spoon to a plate. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, breaking up with a spoon or potato masher, until crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook a few minutes more, until the onion has softened. Add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Lower the heat to medium, add the Italian seasoning, nutmeg, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine and cook about 1 minute to let the flavors marry. Shut off the heat.
Make the sauce. In a small stockpot, add a small drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining clove of minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed pepper flakes and stir about 30 seconds, then pour in the tomato sauce. Stir to combine; let it go about a minute to heat up slightly, then stir in about 2/3 of the basil and shut off the heat.
Remove the spinach from the box and place half of it in a clean, dry kitchen towel. Vigorously wring it out over the sink until the water is squeezed out. Place it in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining half.
When the meat mixture has cooled somewhat, add it to the spinach. Also add the beaten egg, bread crumbs, and ½ cup parmesan. Stir to combine well.
Ladle some sauce into the baking pan. You want a thin layer. Using a small cereal spoon, carefully pack the meat mixture into the each individual shell. Place each stuffed shell in the prepared baking dish, on top of the sauce. When the shells are all assembled, top them with the remaining tomato sauce, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the shells. Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on the mozzarella.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Garnish with the remaining basil and serve hot.

Apple-Pork Ragout over Pappardelle

pork apple ragout over pappardelle

I am such a sucker for a good pasta with red meat sauce. My mom makes a killer spaghetti with meat sauce, and it was hands down my favorite thing she made growing up. She taught me how to make it, and after a few misses learning curves, I did master it. I’ll blog it sometime.

Pork-Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

As much as I love the spaghetti and meat sauce of my youth, I do branch out and try other recipes. So today, we have this delectable meaty ragout made with pork, apples, and capers. I discovered this dish last year with my apple picking stash, but didn’t end up blogging it. Reason being, while it was initially simmering away, it looked rather odd for a meat sauce, and I was convinced the recipe wasn’t going to come together and work well, so I didn’t photograph it. One bite and I felt pretty darn stupid.

Pork Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

It’s a beautiful dish. Meaty pork, with a background hint of sweetness from the apples, and the salty bite of capers… Oh, it’s so good. And leftovers only get better. Feel free to use whatever cut of pasta you like. This would work just fine with fettuccine or linguine, and probably fine with rigatoni, too. This meal is PERFECT for fall and you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Enjoy!

Pork Apple Ragout over Pappardelle

Source: adapted from Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
2 oz. diced pancetta
12 oz. ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can stewed or whole tomatoes, with juices
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbs tomato paste
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. fresh or dried pappardelle, or other long cut pasta
2 tbs brined capers, drained
2 tbs thinly sliced basil
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta. Preheat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the pancetta. Cook until browned and the fat has mostly rendered. Add the pork and cook, breaking it up with your spoon, until no traces of pink remain. Now add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and apples. Cook one minute.
Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by three quarters.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Stir to combine, then hit the pan with your potato masher to crush the tomatoes and apples. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it go for about 15 minutes, until thickened and more uniform. If after 15 minutes it has not thickened to your liking, simply turn up the heat and let it go until it is. Don’t forget to stir occasionally during this time, as that will prevent the sauce from scorching on the bottom of the skillet. Season the sauce lightly with salt and generously with black pepper.
Meanwhile, generously salt the pasta water once it reaches a boil, drop in your pasta and cook according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Lower the heat, then add the capers and basil. Combine everything in the pot, then taste for seasoning. Adjust as necessary.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple-Turnip Hash

Is it shameful to admit that part of why I love fall so much is because it’s a time of year when tons of new cookbooks hit the bookstore shelves? Ah, well, so be it. This year is no exception, and I’ve already begun my shopping. I snapped up the much anticipated Scarpetta Cookbook by Chef Scott Conant.

pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin

His restaurant Scarpetta is on my bucket list; I haven’t gotten myself there yet, but in the meantime I have this beautiful book of their recipes. This pork dish is my inaugural use of the book, and all I can say is WOW! If this recipe is an indicator of what the rest of the book is like, flavor-wise, then I have hit a jackpot. Because, my friends, it was so delicious.

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Apple Turnip Hash

The flavors were so clean and vibrant. The mild, lean pork tenderloin benefitted from the crispy, saltiness of the pancetta; and the sweetness of the apple balanced so well with the bitterness of the turnip. The earthy pop of rosemary took the whole thing over the top. So far, yeah, I’m loving this book.

I will heartily recommend it to any foodie out there, but I should warn you, it’s a restaurant cookbook. And restaurants have resources and budgets that home cooks can’t really even fathom. So I did adapt this recipe a bit, since I’m home cooking, and I’m sure I’ll be adapting many of the recipes from this book. But I think the spirit and core essence of the dish was wholly captured, and it turned out to be a very easy, quick, yet total knockout, weeknight meal.

pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin over apple turnip hash

Only one recipe note: this recipe requires tying the tenderloin up with kitchen string. Of course you want to make certain you have cut all the string off before serving. But you should also make very certain you throw all the strings in the garbage. While humans do not want to eat pork-sopped kitchen string, it’s possible that you have a cat who would love such a thing. Unfortunately, kitties cannot property digest kitchen string. Don’t ask me how I know this. So just make sure you have thrown it out before sitting down to dinner. 🙂 Enjoy!

Pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin over apple-turnip hash

{One year ago: Banana Bread}

Source: adapted from The Scarpetta Cookbook by Scott Conant

Ingredients:
3-4 oz. deli-sliced pancetta
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 ½ lbs.
Fresh cracked black pepper
Olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 left whole and 1 minced, divided
3 garlic cloves, 2 smashed and peeled, 1 minced
1 small-to-medium turnip, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
Kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 275 F. On a clean work surface, unroll the slices of pancetta. Sprinkle the black pepper all over the pork tenderloin. Starting at one end, wrap the pancetta around the pork. Tie with kitchen string at about 4-5 intervals along the tenderloin to secure it. If at either end you have any portion of naked pork tenderloin, lightly salt just that part that isn’t encased in pancetta.
Add 1 tbs olive oil to a cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet. Heat over medium-high and add the tenderloin. Brown well on all sides. Remove from the heat and pour the fat out of the skillet. Add the smashed garlic, the thyme, and 2 sprigs of rosemary to the skillet on one side. Place the browned tenderloin on the other side and slide it into the oven. Roast until the internal temperature reads 135 F on a meat thermometer, anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes depending on your oven and thickness of your pork.
While the pork is roasting, heat another drizzle of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turnips and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and about halfway cooked, 5-6 minutes. Add the apple, the minced garlic and minced rosemary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the turnip is cooked completely, another 5 minutes or so.
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and let rest on a cutting board for 5-7 minutes. Cut the string off and using a sharp knife, slice the pork tenderloin into rounds. To serve, divide the hash among to dinner plates. Lay half the pork tenderloin slices neatly across the hash. Serve immediately.

Eggplant Parmesan Soup #SundaySupper

eggplant parmesan soup

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week was One Pot Meals. A fantastic theme, of course; who likes doing dishes? We all need some one pot meals in our repertoire, meals we can bust out on those grumpy days where you know that calling for take-out will be guilt-inducing, but you really don’t want to cook an elaborate meal. This recipe is PERFECT for those days.

eggplants

So, no false advertising here – this is eggplant parmesan in a soup bowl. I’m serious, it’s soup, but it tastes exactly like eggplant parmesan! And since I’m a huge eggplant parm fiend, this soup delighted my little soul.

eggplant parmesan soup

Like I mentioned, I love, love, love a well-executed eggplant parmesan. But let’s be honest, eggplant parm is the complete opposite of a one pot meal. More like a use-almost-every-dang-pan-in-your-kitchen meal, right? It’s kind of a production to pull off. But with this soup, you get all those beloved flavors in an easy to make and easy to clean up soup. Perfect!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

The only recipe note I have is to add the vinegar slowly and titrate up if desired. I added the entire amount called for, and while that tang is a lovely addition to the soup, I found it a tad strong and wished I had backed off a little. And be sure to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper crew! As per usual, I’ve linked to their amazing recipes as well. Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

Source: Flour, Too by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 large eggplants, chopped (no need to peel)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups white sandwich bread, cubed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese
Up to 2 tbs red wine vinegar (I’d start with half of that, taste, and then add more if needed)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Set a large soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, add the onions and garlic. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onions just start to soften. If they brown a little, back off the heat a tad. Add the eggplant and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the eggplants break down and start to become mushy.
Add the tomatoes. Fill the now-empty tomato can with water and add that to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the bread cubes and stir for 1 minute, or until the bread breaks down in the soup. Stir in the basil and parmesan, turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
Using your immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Alternately, you can do this in batches in your regular blender. Bring the pureed soup back up to a simmer. Season with the vinegar, salt and pepper. If the soup seems too thick, thin with a little water.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.

Check out the rest of the fabulous #SundaySupper team!

“Take the chill off” Chilis, Soups, and Starters

“Put meat on your bones” Stews

“Make room for seconds” Main Dishes

“Can’t say no” Desserts

Salumi Burgers

Salumi Burgers

Apparently today is National Cheeseburger Day! I would love to say that I knew this all along and made this delicious and decadent cheeseburger specifically to share it on this blog today. And I suppose I could say such a thing, but well, it wouldn’t exactly be true.

ground salumi

In reality, I made this burger because I had some leftover salumi cold cuts in the fridge that shouldn’t go to waste, and it sounded great. Then, I found out late yesterday that today is National Cheeseburger Day, and here I am!

salumi burgers

You probably already knew this, but grinding up Italian cold cuts, crisping up bacon lardons, and then combining all that with ground sirloin to form patties makes for one of the more flavorful burgers you will ever eat. Actually it’s pretty much bona fide ridiculously good. And even though today’s “holiday” randomly happened upon me, instead of me carefully and smartly planning it, I think this burger is quite worthy of such an arbitrary yet fun day designated to celebrate cheeseburgers! Enjoy!

Salumi Burgers

{One year ago: Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream}

Source: adapted from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
¼ lb. bacon or pancetta, diced
2 oz. spicy salumi, such as salami or soppressata, or any Italian cold cuts you prefer
¼ lb. prosciutto
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
Drizzle of olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 deli slices provolone cheese
4 brioche hamburger buns, toasted if desired
A handful of baby arugula

Directions:
Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add the bacon or pancetta and cook until crispy and the fat is rendered. Shut off the heat. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Pour out most of the fat, leaving about a tablespoon or so in the pan. Set aside.
Place the salumi and prosciutto in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, garlic, crispy bacon, minced salumi mixture, oregano, a drizzle of olive oil, a little bit of salt, and black pepper. Divide the mixture into quarters, and shape into 4 patties. Using your thumb or forefinger, make an indentation in the center of each burger, to prevent “burger bulge.”
Heat the cast-iron skillet over medium-high again. When very hot, place the burger patties into the skillet. Cook the burgers, flipping once, for 10 minutes for medium. When you flip them, top the burgers with the cheese slices and let melt. Place the burgers on the bottom buns, then top with some arugula, then with the top buns. Enjoy!