March 15, 2011

A Bolognese, a 3 bean Minestrone & a batch of chewy brownies

I am using a European imported flageolet bean as one of the 3 in my Minestrone Soup tonight. Even though they are a cultivated French bean I am using them in a traditional Italian soup.

Since they came dried, they must be soaked overnight. A half cup yielded over 1 cup, which was a good amount for 1/3 of the beanage. I will open a can of pink beans and navy beans.

Cover the beans with enough water to expect that they will double in size. I add salt to my soaking water to toughen up the skins so they won't mush when simmer for a long time. The specialist say to NEVER cook them in salted water or in a broth with tomatoes in it. They will take forever and some will never soften. I like to make a court bouillon just for beans and simmer them in that. Then I add them to the soups. Try it, it works well.
When they were in the water for 1 hour The nudge took one look into the bowl and laughed. The skins had wrinkled completely and looked like a science project but when I got up this morning they had soaked to perfection.


I just love the color of the flageolet beans. They have the same shape as a cannelloni or kidney bean but slimmer and smaller. Will be interesting to see how they cook up and taste.

Flageolet Beans
* 1 quart filtered water
* 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
* 2 fresh bay leaves or 3 dried ones
* 1 teaspoon both thyme and rosemary
* Top 1/2" of an onion
* Sprinkle of olive oil

Bring to a simmer, place the beans in the pot, cover and lower to a gentle simmer for 1 hour. Skim the scum off the top every half hour.
After an hour check for doneness by squeezing one between your fingers.
If it squishes, try another and another. If all three seem to be done, remove from the pot and cool.
At this point they can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

This soup is more like a "Clean Out the Refrigerator" soup than a Minestrone. Although when you read a few Minestra recipes the things they all have in common is tomatoes, beans, pasta/rice or potatoes. A sofrito of onions, carrots, celery and garlic starts the process with some kind of pork fat, being pancetta or bacon. The rest is whatever you want. I would have liked some cabbage in it but didn't buy it, even at 17 cents a pound, so I added mushrooms and the leftover creamed spinach from Saturday night to the three beans.....peas (1), pink beans (2), fageolets (3) one small diced potato and 1/4 cup tubettini. I had a Parma rind in the freezer and threw that in. It will be extremely healthy and filling and I will have lunch for the rest of the week......lol


I decided to make some homemade dinner rolls to go with the soup tonight.
They had a nice texture to them, chewy but very firm.
You use a Texas muffin tin.

These rolls are a very basic recipe. I used only half. The other half was put in a sprayed Zip bag and into the fridge for tomorrow night's garlic knots.

3 cups flour
1 packet rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1 T. agave nectar
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp salt

Everything goes into the bowl of a Kitchen Aide with the dough hook attached. Mix on medium for at least 8 minutes. Remove onto a floured board and cut in half. Divide that half into 4 pieces and make 4 balls. Spray a Texas muffin tin with Pam and place 1 ball into a muffin hole. Cover with wrap and a towel and place it on top of the oven while it preheats to 400 degree.
Let rise to 2x their size. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle sea salt on tops and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the rolls to a sheet pan and continue to bake for 5 more minutes. This will brown all the sides. Remove and let cool.

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Now to dish #2.... Bolonese Sauce


My Bolognese is a basic, but really good one. I make mine like Christina Ferrare does on Oprah's Network cooking show Big Bowl of Love. Only difference is I use less tomato product then she does and after browning all the ingredients I plop them into a 5 cup Crockpot and hit the LOW button.

I am sorry about the messy dish but I did not take a pic of dinner so I took one of my lunch (which I nuked in a small paper bowl).



I never did get the time to make fresh pasta but I did find a wonderful dried pasta that I will buy over and over again.
It was light and very tasty for a dried pasta and the perfect shape for my bolognese sauce.
I love the leftover sauce, so make plenty.

I also see another Pizza alla Bismarck on the menu this weekend (recipe here)

Get Christina's bolognese recipe here or you could search this blog for my recipe which includes an Italian hot sausage.

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