Mushroom & Kale Minestrone

Minestrone

Minestrone, a thick Italian soup is one of my favorite. Minestrone is so easy to make and the best part is that you can add any seasonal veggies. A perfect weekday one pot meal which can be had with a nice crusty bread. It can be prepared  well in advance and refrigerated up to a week. I had mine for two consecutive days after long working hours.

There is no real recipe for this thick soup. The basic thumb rule is to use lots of veggies, beans and pasta or rice. I’ve used kale & mushroom to give a different twist to my soup. I’ve also  used black rice pasta which not only adds color to my pasta but also makes my soup gluten free. This recipe can also be vegan if garnished with some  nutritional yeast flakes as a substitute for vegan cheese. I’ve used some local artisan Parmesan coming all the way from Auroville.

Jamie Oliver gives  some handy tips on prepping up for minestrone.

Ingredients:

1 packet mushroom (250gms), chopped finely

50 gms kale, stems removed & chopped finely

1 small red onion, chopped finely

2 tomatoes, skin removed, de seeded and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup  cooked black eyed beans

1 cup uncooked black rice  pasta

1/2 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

500 ltr water

salt & pepper to taste

pesto & cheese for serving

Procedure :

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add garlic and chopped onions. Sauté  until translucent.
  • Add chopped mushroom, kale, water & salt. Allow it to cook on medium flame for about 15 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and uncooked pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add cooked black eyed peas, oregano, freshly ground pepper and some salt if needed. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot in individual bowls with a dollop of homemade pesto swirled through and some grated Parmesan.

Minestrone 1

More about black rice pasta & nutritional yeast flakes.

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Asparagus,Mint & Lemon Risotto

This post has been a long overdue and for some reason I almost forgot about it…..The Risotto is inspired by Jamie Oliver and it’s my first time to try out any of his recipes and I’m glad I did.
To get fresh asparagus in India is a rare thing and I happen to pick them at the Farmer’s Market; fresh, green and also organic.The method for cooking  risotto is almost the same as my previous post Yellow & Red Pepper Risotto apart from the flavouring ofcourse…

1 cup arborio rice
1 cup fresh or canned asparagus, cut into desired length
1cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs butter
1tbs olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (can add more if you like)
2tbs  fresh mint leaves
1tbs lemon zest

In the cleaned skillet cook onions in 1tbs remaining butter over moderate heat, stirring until turned light brown, add garlic and onions, cook until soft. If using fresh asparagus, pre boil or if using canned; add them into the skillet and season with salt and pepper.Keep aside
In a saucepan heat broth and keep at a bare simmer or microwave.

Take a non-stick pan (chances of burning the rice is lesser),add olive oil and keep stirring dry rice for several minutes in the oil over medium-high heat until it is golden, but not burnt. This also helps the rice to release the starch later on, and creates a nice nutty flavour.
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed.If you are not using wine; you can start adding broth.Add about 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
Continue adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is ‘al dente’, about 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the prepared mixture of onion and asparagus , parmesan cheese, mint, lemon zest,salt and pepper to taste.Serves 2.

My tastebuds: the mint and lemon gives risotto a different and a tangy flavour. I didn’t like the lemon too much and felt that the flavouring was not complete.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cindystar.