1 16 oz. bag of lentils
1 small celery stalk
1 small onion or ½ medium
1 15 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 1 lb. box small macaroni
1 piece rind of grating cheese, approximately 1 inch long
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 fresh parsley sprigs, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine a half bag of lentils with 6 cups (1 ½ quarts) of water and let come to a boil and then simmer until beans are almost tender. Dice the celery and onion small and add to the pot with the beans. Add the can of tomatoes and simmer. On another burner of the stove, start boiling water for the macaroni. Add cheese rind to beans. When the water boils, add macaroni and cook until almost tender. Drain well.
Add macaroni to beans with parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the soup. Serve with grated cheese on the side as an option.
Straw and Hay
4-5 slices of prosciutto, cut crosswise into shreds
½ lb. white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbspns butter
3 large sage leaves or 5 small
1 lb. fettucine, fresh or dried
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated Romano or Parmigiano cheese
4-5 sprigs parsley, chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large frying pan, melt butter and add garlic and sage. Add mushrooms and cook stirring for a minute. Remove sage leaves. Add prosciutto and stir for another minute. Add pasta to boiling water and stir. If using fresh pasta, it will be done in only 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile add cream to pan and simmer for a minute to combine the flavors. Stir in the cheese and parsley off the heat and cover until ready to combine with fettuccine. Before draining pasta, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta but keep it moist. Add sauce to pasta and toss to combine with fettuccine. Serve immediately!
Cauliflower and Macaroni
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
4-5 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped or ½ tspn dried
½ cup pitted black olives, sliced
1 small head cauliflower
1 lb. box of chunky pasta (shells, ziti, etc.)
Start a large pot of boiling water on one burner of the stove. Saute the onions until soft and pale in the olive oil in another pan. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and cut out any tough core around the flowerets. Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and add the diced tomatoes to the onions. Cook cauliflower about five minutes and remove from water with a slotted spoon. Add the cauliflower to the sauce with the sliced olives. Bring the water that cooked cauliflower to boil again and add pasta. Simmer sauce as pasta cooks and drain the pasta when almost cooked. Combine the pasta and cauliflower sauce together. Serve immediately with grated cheese and crushed hot pepper on the side.
2 cups packed fresh parsley, or basil when in season, rinsed and well dried
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
1 cup grated Romano or Parmigiano cheese
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. short chunky pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
Place herbs of choice in processor or blender and add garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add nuts and cheese and pulse again until a rough paste starts to form. Slowly drizzle in oil and blend or pulse until smooth. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add pasta. Cook until done but reserve a 1/3 cup cooking water before draining. Immediately toss pasta with pesto sauce, adding reserved cooking water if sauce looks too thick. Serve immediately with black pepper grinder on the side to add to taste.