This soup recipe is from the cookbook, Soup; Superb Ways with a Classic Dish, and is super easy to make...well beyond mincing up two onions. Get out those swim googles so you don't cry like a baby and risk chopping your fingers. It does take about 90 minutes to cook though, so best to make it on a weekend and eat it as leftovers during the week. It holds up well for about a week and also freezes perfectly...I often make a double batch.
It makes me feel connected to my Italian roots and think back to the amazing two trips I've taken to Italy. I'm fortunate enough to have actually visited the Ligurian region of Italy and enjoy truly authentic Ligurian Pesto while there...so I'm excited to bring a taste of that amazing vacation back home with this recipe! Since heirloom tomatoes are in season right now (along with all of that basil I needed for the pesto!) I tossed some chopped tomatoes into this dish to brighten it up a bit. Sometimes pesto can feel a bit indulgent with all of that olive oil and cheese. Add a glass of Pinot Grigio and you have a happy Italian SavoryGirl!
The pesto recipe that I used can be found here. I typically use the pasta recipe right in my Kitchen Aid manual, but this is a pretty similar recipe. Mangia!
The original recipe calls for topping the lasagna with herb feta cheese, but over the years we've decided that we like it better the traditional way so we just put lots more mozzarella on top. We also always make our own lasagna noodles vs. buying store bought...which means no pre-cooking of the lasagna noodles required! That was always one of the biggest pains of lasgna to me...cooking the noodles, then keeping them moist enough while you layer so they don't all get stuck together but also waiting long enough so your not burning your hands. Issues! So homemade noodles are the way to go in my opinion...preferably wheat.
Breakfast...my go-to choice here is a smoothie and a hard-boiled egg. The beauty of this plan is that I make a full batch of smoothies up and boil/peel all of my eggs on Sunday so all I have to do is grab them out of the fridge in the morning and enjoy while I'm getting ready (see - efficient with morning getting ready time too!). My smoothies are pretty straightforward...for 5 smoothies I puree 2-3 bananas, a mix of 2-3 frozen fruits (blueberries, pineapples, peaches, mangos, whatever you prefer), about a cup of OJ, another 1-2 cups of almond milk, a Tablespoon or so of wheat germ and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you want higher protein then you can also add a couple spoonfuls of almond butter or peanut butter. Basically you want a full blender to make 5 servings...then pour them into 3 glasses (freeze the other two so they last until the end of the week) and put saran wrap on the top, making sure to push the saran wrap down to the surface of the smoothie so no air gets in and pop them in the fridge. For the eggs I simply boil them up, peel them, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and pop them in an air-tight container in the fridge. In the morning I just microwave my egg for about 20 seconds (I prefer them a bit warm, stir up my smoothie (they can separate a bit in the fridge) and enjoy! All of this prep takes 20 minutes max once you get in a routine. Easy breezy.
I love chickpeas, soups and pretty much anything spicy...so seeing that this dish has all three going on it's really no surprise that it's one of my favorite winter dishes. It's one of those rustic dishes that kind of tastes like home, no matter where you're from. Super simple ingredients, relatively easy preparation and delicious. One thing to note though...I would consider this more of a soup than a stew because the broth is thin, but since it's served over bread I've stuck with calling it stew.
The original recipe, shown below, is from the Bon Appétit February 2012 issue and I've pretty much been making it consistently since then. Usually when I share recipes here I like to share my own adaptions that I think make them even better, but to be honest this one is so good in it's original form that it's pretty much identical to what you'll find here on the Bon Appétit website.
Two changes I do usually make though; I double the recipe below since it only makes about 4 servings and I roast my own peppers instead of buying pre-roasted peppers. Roasting your own peppers is so easy, cheap and makes your house smell so good that I strongly recommend it. As long as you have a gas stove you can follow my tutorial for how to do it included in this recipe...and then I promise, you'll never pay a premium for roasted red peppers again!
There are two reasons we love the clafouti so much in our house (besides how fun it is to say!)...the first is because it is one of the fastest and easiest desserts you can possibly make and you often have all of the ingredients in the house, meaning you can even whip it up on a weeknight or if guests surprise you! The second reason we love it is because the mild vanilla, cinnamon and lemon flavors are so versatile that it works with almost any fruit you have on hand...especially summer fruit like berries, Italian plums, figs or cherries (the traditional fruit of choice). Versatile, easy and beautiful to serve, what more could you ask for? Gotta love those French bakers!