Friday, May 14, 2010

From the Kitchen: Rainy Day Fare

It's been miserable here lately... weather-wise anyway. Stormy, wet, cold... just sort of depressingly icky. Even though it's Spring, I've been wanting warm blankets, shearling boots, and hot tea. Today is going to be a busy one, and I'm doing my best to make a meal ahead of time that my husband and I can enjoy after the kids go to bed. By ourselves. Alone...

I've had a bookmark on page 41 of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes Day since December 26. That is, Pain d'Epi (aka Wheat Stalk Bread). It's simple elegance had me at hello. Today is the day! The dough is made and is resting on the counter. And I'm gearing up for a hybrid Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini, the recipe being a conglomeration of several top-rated Allrecipes selections. My husband loves restaurant-style minestrone, but I like more substance to my soups. I'm hoping that by combining several to my liking I'll find something we both enjoy. Time will tell...

Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini


1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp canola oil
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained
1 medium zucchini, cubed
2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 (9 oz) package fresh cheese tortellini
Fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese for grating as garnish


In a stockpot, brown sausage with onion and garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and carrots, and season with salt and pepper and herbs. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beans (with liquid), zucchini and tortellini. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat, and add spinach. Replace lid allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after standing 5 minutes. Serve topped with grated cheese to taste.

4 hours later....

My dough is in the final rising before baking... my wheat grains turned out much fatter than the graceful ones shown in the book, but I also had to fit two loaves on my cookie sheets to bake them at the same time (like I said, busy day). I guess they were from "the seven good years". They look tasty. The soup is done... we're off to swim lessons followed by a kindergarten play, then back home for a nice romantic dinner.

The next day...

Today day is sunny and bright and both my husband and I agreed that this recipe was a keeper... I'm adding it to the "company appropriate" category because it smelled, tasted and looked delicious. With the bread, it was heavenly.

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