Pasta with Garlic, Herbs and Fresh Mozzarella; Braised Bell Peppers

by Jennifer

This dinner was terrific and fairly easy to put together.   Get the peppers started and then go to work on the pasta.  Serves 4.

Pasta with Garlic, Herbs and Fresh Mozzarella – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 lb. dried twisty pasta, such as gemelli or fusilli
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5 oz. package basil, chopped
  • 1 packed cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup packed small arugula leaves

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente;  before draining reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the garlic through sea salt in a large serving bowl.

Just before the pasta is finished, add the vinegar and arugula to the bowl and toss well.

Add the hot pasta and 1/4 cup cooking water and toss well.

Braised Bell Peppers – adapted from Eating Well magazine

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 large red peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 large yellow peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, sliced vertically
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil on a large skillet over medium heat.

Add peppers through salt and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

Stir in water and tomato paste,

bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Stir in basil, vinegar and pepper, and serve.

Garlicky Stewed White Beans with Mixed Peppers, No – Knead Bread

by Jennifer

The beauty of No-Knead Bread is you can make the dough days in advance and then, presto, you have fresh-baked bread for dinner.  Tonight I decided to broil mozzarella cheese on top of slices of bread;  you could serve it as is, with really good olive oil to dip it in, or sprinkled with Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano and broiled.

Serves 4.

Garlicky Stewed White Beans with Mixed Peppers – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage, or 1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the chopped peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just start to become tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant.

Add the water, sage, beans and tomatoes with their juice;  bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally,

for 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.  Season with pepper.

Butter Beans and Collard Greens, Skillet Corn Bread

by Jennifer

The beans serve 4 adults;  the corn bread makes 6 servings (would be good toasted with butter for breakfast!).

Butter Beans and Collard Greens

  • about 1 lb. trimmed collard greens, thick stems and ribs removed, chopped
  • 4 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 15.5-oz. cans butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • optional – red pepper flakes

Cook collard greens in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes;  drain.  When cool, press to extract any remaining liquid.  Set aside.

Heat 3 TBS of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent.

Add the peppers and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste (and red pepper flakes, if using), and stir to combine well.  Add the collard greens and toss to combine.

Add the butter beans and lemon juice;  gently toss to combine.  Before serving drizzle with remaining TBS of olive oil.

Skillet Corn Bread – adapted from Deborah Madion’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

I found corn “flour”, by Bob’s Red Mill, in my grocery store, and this was my first time using it.  And also, the best corn bread I’ve ever made.  Substitute regular cornmeal if you can’t find it yourself.

Serves 6.

  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 2 TBS cake enhancer from King Arthur Flour (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk or combination of buttermilk, sour cream, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, or creme fraiche to equal 2 cups (this is a good way to clear out stuff from your fridge!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place butter in a 10” cast-iron skillet and place skillet in oven while it’s preheating.

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt).

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and buttermilk/combo.

Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined and smooth.

When oven is ready, remove skillet and brush the butter to cover the entire interior surface of the skillet.

Pour in the batter, and return the skillet to the oven.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

White Bean and Mushroom Stuffed Bell Peppers, Challah

by Jennifer

This is my adaptation of a recipe I cut out of a newspaper (can’t remember which one!  Chicago Tribune?) ages ago.  You can make the filling and stuff the peppers ahead;  top with the panko mixture right before baking.  It serves 3 – 6, depending on if you serve anything else with it, or if some of the people eating are smaller, or have smaller appetites.

  • 3 large bell peppers, any color
  • 4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 oz white mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 15.5-oz cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 oz. package fresh basil, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or an estimation of that amount)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Slice peppers lengthwise and clean out seeds and membranes.  Place in a casserole dish.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 TBS of olive oil, and saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes.

Add the mushrooms, turning the heat up to medium high, and cook until

the mushrooms are golden, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.

Add the beans, basil, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits.  Remove the skillet from heat.

Fill the peppers with the bean and mushroom mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine the panko and Parmesan cheese.  Drizzle in the remaining 2 TBS olive oil and stir well to combine.

Sprinkle the panko mixture over the peppers.  Add 2 TBS water to the casserole dish.

Bake the peppers, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot (if the topping gets too brown, gently tent a piece of foil over the dish).