Tag Archives: croutons

Pasta and Goodness

This was such a delightful weekend – we had absolutely nothing to do!  After the craziness of the holiday season we look forward to a time when schedules are much more relaxed and the most pressing decision is what’s for supper?  This was another go to the pantry and fridge and see what’s available suppers!  Sometimes those are the best kind!  Penne pasta, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, croutons, red onion and  red pepper flakes from the pantry; an orange pepper, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese from the fridge.  Ritchey declared this one of my best pasta dishes ever!

  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30 pepperoni
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, or more
  • parsley
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup croutons, crushed

Bring a large pan of water to boil.  Add a handful of salt and the pasta – cook according to package directions.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add onions and saute about five minutes.  Add pepper and garlic and saute for an additional two minutes.  Add the pepperoni, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook an additional two or three minutes.  Mix well.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the pasta and parsley.  Top with mozzarella cheese and croutons.  Put under the broiler for just a few minutes – until cheese melts.  Enjoy!

Winter Panzanella

Winter Panzanella

This panzanella is my favorite salad – strange words coming from a woman who loves her heirloom tomatoes!  But the flavor combinations in this salad, with the slightly warm butternut squash and Brussel sprouts, put this one over the top!  There are three preparational steps for this recipe before adding it all together into one bowl of utter goodness!  We use this as an entree – which makes it perfect for a vegetarian!  This is based on Michael Chiarello’s Winter Panzanella – with a few tweaks!  I love to watch that man cook!

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 pound Brussel sprouts, with ends trimmed, and halved
  • olive oil
  • small handful of sage
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 small loaf sourdough bread, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino cheese
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large baking sheet add the butternut squash and Brussel sprouts.  Drizzle with olive oil, sage, sea salt and black pepper.  Using your hands, combine thoroughly.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.  Let cool.

In a measuring cup add the onion and champagne vinegar and soak for 15 minutes.  Just before adding to salad, whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and a little salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one minute, watch garlic – do not let it burn.  Add bread cubes and stir to coat with the butter mixture.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with Pecorino cheese.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring one or twice.

In a large bowl add walnuts and cranberries.  Add croutons, vegetables and onions.  Carefully mix.  Serve immediately and enjoy!  Much better when the vegetables are slightly warm, but also good served cold for lunch the next day – if there are leftovers!

Roasted Tomato Soup

After such a wonderful five days at Shaker Village – or should I say ‘The Shire’ – with a group of hobbits, elves, dwarfs, wizards, rangers and other such Lord of the Rings’ folk, I’ve developed quite the cold and cough from the nighttime activities.  Soup just sounds so very good!  Surprisingly enough we have quite the amount of tomatoes on the vine!  I picked at least ten pounds!  Roasted with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then made into a soup would be heavenly!  Now my only thought is – can I wait for Ritchey to get home before I dig in?  We’ll have to see!

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 5 large tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • thyme leaves
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 – 14 ounce can beef broth
  • rosemary branch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place tomato chunks on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes, and a small handful of thyme leaves.  Mix well.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes.  In a large pan over medium high heat, in a little olive oil, cook the onion for about five minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more.  Add the beef broth, rosemary and roasted tomatoes.  Let simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove rosemary stem before serving.  Serve with crusty bread or croutons.  Enjoy!