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Lentil Soup with Spinach - (Makes 6 to 8 servings)

 

Ingredients:

2 cups brown lentils, picked over & rinsed

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 cup grated ripe tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes with juices

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Salt

4 cups vegetables stock or chicken stock

1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 lbs. spinach, stemmed

Pinch ground cumin, (optional)

2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Ground black pepper

 

 

1.  Place the lentils in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.  Drain.

 

2.  In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until just soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more; do not let it color.  Add the lentils, tomatoes, wine, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes and salt to taste.  Bring to a boil,  add the stock, thyme, mustard and bay leaf then return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

 

2.  Add the spinach and cumin, if using, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the spinach is wilted.  Add the vinegar and black pepper to taste.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve hot.

 


 

White Bean Soup with Celery and lemon - (Makes 4 servings)

 

Ingredients:

2 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight in water& drained.

2 onions, halved. one half thinly sliced in half-moons

2 cups wild celery, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup lemon juice

Ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Aleppo Pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

 

 

1.  In a large pot, place the beans and the 3 onion halves, then add water to cover by 4 inches.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 40 minutes.  Add the sliced onion, celery, salt and simmer for 20 to 40minutes more, adding a little more water if needed, until tender.

 

2.  Add the lemon juice and black pepper to taste and simmer for 10 minutes more, or until the beans are just covered with broth.  Transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender (avoiding the onion half) and puree.  Return the puree to the pot and cook for 2 minutes more.

 

3.  Remove from the heat and discard the onion halves.  Stir in the oil and sprinkle with the Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes, if desired.  Taste and adjust seasonings, sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.

 


 

Lentils and Rice - (Makes 4 servings)

 

Ingredients:

1 cup brown lentils, picked over & rinsed

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup medium-grain rice, (Arborio)

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

 

 

1.  Place the lentils and bay leaf in a large pot, add water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Drain and set aside.  Wipe out the pot with paper towels.

 

2.  Heat the oil in the pot and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of the stock, the rice, the lentils, Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes, salt and then bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock as needed, until the rice is tender and has the consistency of risotto.

 

3.  Add a few grindings of black pepper and drizzle with oil, if using.  Remove from the heat, stir in the cilantro and taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve at once.

 


 

Bulgar with Onion, Tomatoes, and Cheese - (Makes 3 to 4 servings)

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1 cup coarse bulgur

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 cup grated ripe tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes with juices

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled, plus more for serving

Salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

 

1.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.  Add the bulgur and Aleppo or pepper flakes and sauté, stirring, until the bulgur is coated with oil.  Add the water or stock, tomatoes and sugar then bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bulgur has the consistency of a very moist risotto.  Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 3 minutes.

 

2.  Stir the feta into he bulgur.  Taste and add salt if necessary (feta is usually quiet salty, so you may not need any) and black pepper to taste.  Serve in bowls, sprinkled with feta and parsley and drizzled with oil.

 


 

Polenta with Currants and Onions - (Makes 4 to 6 servings)

 

Ingredients:

2 quarts warm water

2 cups medium or coarse-grind cornmeal

1/2 cup Zante currants

1/2 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons

ground white or black pepper

 

 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

 

2.  Oil a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

 

3.  Combine the water, cornmeal, currant, 1/4 cup of the oil and the salt in the baking dish, stir well and bake for 1 hour.

 

4.  Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until soft.

 

5.  Stir in the onion and pepper to taste into the polenta and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the polenta is set.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

 


 

Pasta Cooked in Garlicky Tomato Sauce - (Makes 3 to 4 servings)

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

3 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 to 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or 1/2 o 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 cups up grated ripe tomatoes or one 16 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juice

Pinch of sugar (optional)

5 cups chicken stock

Salt

1 lb. penne, ziti, or other hollow macaroni

2/3 cup Parmigiano - Reggiano cheese

3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

 

1.  In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add as much garlic as you like and stir a few times; do not let it color.  Add the pepper or pepper flakes and pour in the wine.  As it bubbles, add the tomatoes and sugar, if using.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.

 

2.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the stock to a low simmer.  Add salt to taste.

 

3.  Pour 2 cups of the stock into the tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil and add the pasta.  Stir to coat with the sauce and cook, stirring often and adding more stock as the pasta absorbs the liquid, until it is cooked al dente, about 20 minutes (you may not need all the stock).

 

4.  Add the cheese, toss and transfer to a heated bowl.  Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately, passing more grated cheese in a bowl.


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