Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup (zuppa di ceci e bietole)

My mother-in-law gave me Swiss Chard from the garden. I wanted to make a healthy soup with the chard with a legume. I had two bags of frozen chickpeas in my freezer. I searched for a recipe and came across a recipe from the Genoa area of Italy. The original recipe didn’t call for potatoes but I added them in because I love potatoes in soup, they always add an extra “heartiness”. The celery and onions also were fresh from the garden.

The recipe also called for tomato paste, which I added because I have an tube of it in my fridge that I need to use. You could replace with fresh chopped tomatoes, tomato puree or canned chopped tomatoes but would with puree or chopped tomatoes, reduce some of the water.

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup (Zuppa di ceci e bietole)

Swiss Chard 1 Bunch

Chickpeas 600g (cooked or canned)

Purple Onion 1 small

Carrots 2

Celery 2 medium size stalks

Potato 250g

Tomato paste/concentrate 1 Tablesoon

Salt 1 teaspoon

Vegetable bouillon cube 1

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Parsley Flakes 1 teaspoon

Water 5 cups (enough to almost cover the vegetables)

Olive Oil 1/4 cup (just do it- it makes the soup delicious)

In large soup pot (I used my Le Crueset), add olive oil. Chop onion, carrots, celery, turn heat medium low and add veggies, stirring occasionally. Cover. Chop potatoes. Add potatoes to veggie mix and stir. Cover. Chop Swiss chard. Add chard to veggies and potatoes, stir. Add water, look to see how much water you need, adjust to your preference. If you want a more stew-like soup, add less, for a more brothy soup, add more.

Add bouillon cube, parsley, and salt. Stir. Turn heat up til high and cover. Once boiling, let boil for a minute then turn heat to low and simmer, covered for 45 minutes. Serve piping hot with a chunk of fresh bread.



Lentil salad with scallions, cherry tomatoes, and fried sage

The weather has been warming  up and the spring vegetables are coming in season in my in-laws garden. I love lentils and usually make a huge batch of them at one time then portion them and freeze them. I had defrosted 3 bags of lentils, I used two to make a lentil soup and had one bag I needed to use. I used a small portion of the lentils to make the kids “pasta e lenticche” (pasta with lentils, a typical Neapolitan dish).

For our lunch, I made a lentil salad. The fresh scallions and sage from my in-laws garden inspired me to make this salad.

Lentil Salad with Scallions, Cherry Tomatoes and Fried Sage

Brown lentils 400 grams (precooked or canned)

Scallions 1 or 2 (depending on your taste preference)

Cherry Tomatoes 10

Red pepper flakes a pinch (adjust to you taste)

Olive Oil 8 tablespoons (divided)

Balsamic Vinegar 1 tablesoon

Salt to your taste

Fresh sage – 8 leaves

Parsley Flakes – 1/2 teaspoon

In a small frying pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, low to medium heat. Wash the fresh sage and pat dry. Fry sage for a few minutes, stirring or swirling it a few times, until it becomes fragrant and crisp but not burnt.

Place lentils in on a serving plate or bowl. Wash and chop scallions, wash and chop the tomatoes into fourths, add to the lentils, add red pepper, salt, and parsley flakes. Measure out 5 tablespoons of olive oil pour over the lentils. Add balsamic vinegar to the lentils. Mix the salad. Place the fried sage leaves on top of the lentils. Serve at room temperature with fresh bread.








Linguine con Pesto Alla Genovese

Enough with blogging about our life in quarantine for now. I want to take a different direction, to something we love doing in our house – cooking. In our time in quarantine, I have been cooking a lot. We’ve made focaccia from scratch,  cakes,  and croissants from scratch.

Last night, my mother-in-law gave me some fresh green beans. I had pesto and a few potatoes left so I made a recipe I’ve always wanted to try, linguine with pesto alla Genovese. This simple dish combines linguine pasta (or spaghetti) with potatoes, pesto and pesto. My kids also loved this pasta, they can be picky eaters and both ate this quickly and finished off their plates (for them I topped it with freshly grated parmesan cheese). This is a delicious meal made in the Spring when green beans are in season.

Linguine con Pesto alla Genovese

250 g potatoes

200 g fresh green beans

1 jar of prepared pesto

220 g linguine, spaghetti or bavette pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is boiling, wash the potatoes and green beans. Cut off the end of the green beans and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into small chunks.  Add the potatoes and green beans to the pot of boiling water.

Let the potatoes and green beans cook in the boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes. You don’t want the potatoes to get too soft. Salt the boiling water (1 teaspoon) .Add the pasta to the same pot as the potatoes and green beans and cook according to the “al dente” directions on the package (mine was for 10 minutes). Check the pasta to see if it is “al dente”, which means to the tooth, the pasta should be chewy, it should have a bite but not hard.

When the pasta is “al dente”, drain the water. Return the pasta, potatoes and green beans back to the pot and add the jar of pesto. Mix it well so all of the pasta is covered. Serve hot (topped with parmesan if you like, not traditional but still good!).