Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

The other day got a little chilly out (FINALLY!!!) and on top of that, my office was freezing. All I could think about all day long was making soup for dinner.

I scrolled through my Pinterest soup board, which sadly doesn’t have very many options yet, and settled upon a pasta soup. I added some white beans to give it protein and mushrooms…just because I can’t NOT add mushrooms to a recipe :)

Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

I recommend with any pasta soup that you only add the pasta to the amount you know you’re going to eat. Otherwise, when you go to get your leftovers, the pasta will have absorbed pretty much all of the remaining liquid. You can just add water usually, but it’s easy enough to just bring your leftover soup to a boil and cook up some new pasta in it.

I didn’t heed my own advice, so the next day when we went to eat leftovers, I added water to my portion but for Nate’s I just heated it up as-is. It was more of a pasta dish that way, which he much prefers to soup. 

Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

I’m sorry for all you vegetarians (or non pork-eaters) out there, but the pancetta absolutely makes this soup. It adds so much flavor and makes it smell amazing. You could leave it out but it definitely will be a different soup altogether. 

I also highly advise you to use alphabet noodles :)

I recommend that the next day that there’s a chill in the air, you whip up a batch of this delicious soup! Serve it alongside some crusty buttered bread and you have yourself a perfect cold-weather dinner.

Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

Pasta soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Mushrooms
Serves 6
A chunky, broth-based soup perfect for a cold night!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large leek, washed and finely chopped
  3. 9 oz. pancetta, diced
  4. 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  6. 4 medium red-skinned potatoes, chopped into 1/2" pieces
  7. 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock (or substitute chicken, beef, or duck stock)
  8. 10 oz. can diced tomatoes
  9. 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  10. 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  12. 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) farfalline or another soup pasta (or even spaghetti, broken into bits)
  13. 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the leek and pancetta for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, potato and mushroom and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the stock, tomatoes, and rosemary, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and beans and continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, stirring every 2 minutes, until the pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.
  5. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Immediately ladle the soup into bowls. Or, ladle into bowls and sprinkle parmesan on top.
Notes
  1. If you plan to eat this again the next day, only add noodles to the portion you are going to eat immediately. Otherwise, they will absorb all the liquid by the next day.
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria
Adapted from Leite's Culinaria
http://elephanteats.com/

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

I’m exhausted! I finally finished my wedding thank-you notes. But I’m mostly tired because I just spent 2 straight days baking Christmas cookies. I usually bring them to work and hand out to any friends we can find a time to see before the holidays.

My aunt kindly lets me “borrow” her kitchen for a weekend since she has two ovens and a lot of room. It makes for some fun time to catch up with her while I get everything done.

I like to go all out when I do these cookies. I usually make at least 8 varieties, and I like a good mix of shapes and flavors. I think this year I may have gone a little too far. Some of these recipes were more complicated than I realized, and given my strict timeline I barely had time to eat during the baking extravaganza.

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

At one point I literally felt like I was going to faint. I texted this to Nate (since he was back in NY at our apt) and he replied “You don’t have to be a hero. It’s just Xmas cookies. You ain’t a cat surgeon.” L.C. is thankful for that, I’m sure. And my husband is obviously a wise, wise man.

I ended up finishing all but one type of the cookies that I needed to make. That’s a no-bake one so I can do it back at my apt. All-in-all, a productive two days!

Is it weird that I woke up with sore muscles today? I guess standing for 12 hours will do that to you, not to mention mixing by hand since there was no kitchen aid mixer (I did use a handheld mixer for some stuff).

Anyway, speaking of Nate and his sage advice, I think I’ve mentioned this before but periodically, he will email me recipes from the NYTimes that he “advises” me to make. I appreciate when he does this since the NYTimes recipes are usually very reliable (I’m trying not to hold it against them that they overlooked our wedding announcement!).

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

So when Nate sent me a recipe the other day for Penne with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta, I knew that it would be as delicious as it sounded.

There are many foods Nate doesn’t eat, despite the fact that he claims to not be a picky eater, but luckily for me he happens to love brussels! After discovering what is now one of our annual family Thanksgiving recipes, my family has decided that brussels are much tastier when shredded. So when I saw this recipe I had no doubt it would be a winner.

Brussels Sprout Pancetta Pasta

Penne with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Slightly adapted from the NYTimes

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Sea salt
16 ounces penne
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta, diced
2 large rosemary sprig
8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Freshly ground black pepper
20 ounces fresh brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shredded (i used the shredding plate on a food processor)
4 teaspoons butter
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Freshly grated pecorino cheese (optional)

Bring large pot heavily salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until pasta is just al dente (do not overcook).

Meanwhile, heat large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the pancetta and rosemary, and sauté until the fat on the pancetta starts to turn translucent and very lightly brown, about 1 minute.

Add the garlic,and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and sauté until garlic and pancetta turn richly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, a large pinch of salt and a splash of water to pan, and sauté until sprouts just start to soften, about 2 minutes. Spread sprouts mixture in pan and press down to flatten. Let it sear for a minute, then stir it up and repeat. This helps brown the sprouts. Add the butter, and sauté for another minute.

Drain penne and add it to pan with brussels sprouts mixture. Cook, tossing, until everything is well mixed. Spoon into pasta bowls and top with a drizzle of oil and lemon juice, and a little cheese if you like.

 

It seems like Kale is the 2012 super food. I mean I know it existed before that, obviously, but everywhere I turn, I’ve been seeing recipes for it.

Usually I’m not a fan of raw kale since it’s a lot tougher than a typical salad leaf. I like to sauté or braise it. But I found this recipe  for Kale, Apple and Pancetta Salad in one of my trusty food emails the other day and thought it sounded too good to pass up.

Most of the recipes I had seen for kale in salad called for massaging it. Yep, you read right. While you’re peeling and chopping those poor other veggies, lucky Kale is getting a rub down.

Massaging kale is actually some sort of a scientific process. You add some oil/dressing, grab bunches of it in both hands and squeeze. Then rub them together. And repeat. The tough cellulose structure breaks down and the leaves wilt. The leaves will darken and shrink to almost half their pre-massage volume.

This salad actually didn’t call for such a technique, although I think it could have used it. Nate might have gotten a bit jealous though ;)

In the end the flavors were totally delicious but I think if I made it again I would either massage it or lightly saute just the greens before mixing it with everything else. And oh my, the pancetta MADE this salad. If you don’t eat pork, you must substitute something else similar (maybe turkey bacon), as it just wouldn’t be the same without that saltiness.

I’m posting this as part of the #greenslove March bloghop hosted by:
Al Dente GourmetAstig VeganBadger Girl Learns to CookBaking and Cooking: A Tale of Two Loves,BigFatBakerBon a CroquerCafeTerraBlogCake DuchessCheap Ethnic EatsEasily Good Eats,GeorgiecakesKitchen BelleiciousMis PensamientosMy Twisted RecipesNo One Likes Crumbley Cookies,Oh CakeQueen’s NotebookRico Sin AzucarSavoring Every Bite, Simply ReemSoni’s Food for Thought,Sprint 2 the TableTeaspoon of SpiceThat Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!The Art of Cooking Real FoodThe Spicy RDThe Wimpy VegetarianVegan Yack AttackVegetarian Mamma.

I didn’t get my stuff together early enough to host with them this month, but hopefully I will in April!

 
Here are the rest of the entries!:

Kale Apple and Pancetta Salad

Taken from Serious Eats

Print this recipe!

Serves 4-6

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces sliced pancetta, diced
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small head radicchio, shredded
1 8-ounce bunch kale, stems discarded, leaves shredded
2 tart yet sweet apples, sliced into thick matchsticks
3/4 cup pecans, toasted if desired

Combine the olive oil and pancetta in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until pancetta is golden and crispy. Strain the pan drippings into a small bowl and leave the crispy pancetta off to the side to cool. Add the Champagne vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper and whisk well.

Combine the radicchio, kale, apples and pecans in a large bowl. Toss while adding the dressing, little by little, until salad is well dressed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with crispy pancetta.