Tag Archives: tomato

Sunday Pasta: Roasted Tomato, Corn, Ricotta

On Sundays I make pasta. It’s not overly planned or anything, but over time I realized this was become a routine. It makes sense. After a weekend of moving all around the city and most likely eating out a lot, this is my time to regroup and unwind. I always have a bunch of veggies from my CSA and and I visited the farmer’s market earlier in the day for more provisions. Pasta is just my go to. It’s comforting and easy. I know it’s the perfect base for experimenting with any of those veggies or new ingredients. Carbs schmarbs. The kitchen calls.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pasta with Roasted Tomato, Corn, Spinach and Ricotta

This pasta celebrates the seasons changing. The corn is still so fresh and summery. Tomato season is almost over, so while I can, I like to roast them for some fall-flavor. Ricotta from Blue Ridge Dairy is so creamy and light. I love knowing about where these ingredients come from and that they all end up working together to create something new and exciting to devour.

I take my time and sip wine while cooking. Between steps, I bob in and out of the kitchen, cleaning a little and getting ready for the week. Coming back to the stove slows me down. Maybe I’m crazy that making a big mess is a way to wind down but I love it. It fuels me. It’s my time. And even though I always cook enough for small dinner party, usually I’m pretty happy that it’s just me. Sunday nights with me and my pasta.

Cupcakes for Breakfast: Pasta with Roasted Tomato, Corn, Spinach and Ricotta

As you’ve read before, I don’t really do recipes for pasta. Because I never measure anything out really I think with repetition, you’ll be able to come up with something great yourself too. Here’s my non-recipe recipe:

Pasta with Roasted Tomato, Corn, Spinach and Ricotta

Preheat oven to 300° and throw a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta. On a baking sheet, toss golden cherry tomatoes and whole garlic cloves with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until soft about an hour or you’ve run out of patience. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil and butter in a pan on the stove. Cut corn off the cob and toss in the pan. Cook for a while until soft. Toss in some fresh spinach (cause you have it and you should eat something green) and cook down. Now’s about the time you should probably cook your pasta. I typically use cappellini, but I think bowties would be nice with this too. Remove tomatoes from the oven and pour into the pan, juices and all. I removed the whole garlic, chopped, and returned it to the pan. Toss with pasta and fresh ricotta. Best eaten on the couch watching West Wing season 4.

Spring Spinach and Tomato Soup

Cupcakes for Breakfast: spring spinach and tomato soup

It’s will be almost 90 degrees in DC today, so my timing for posting this soup recipe might be a little off. But I’ve been sick for the past couple of days so I think it’s still works and well, my schedule is just a little off recently. So deal with it? No doubt we’ll have a few cooler days this spring, and you’ll want to make this light spinach and tomato soup for a simple weeknight dinner soon.

This is one of those things you can throw together so easily, with whatever you have in the fridge and pantry. Making this really made me excited for the CSA I joined – it would be great to throw in even more fresh veggies in there. I can’t wait until I start getting my CSA produce…hopefully with my new schedule it will force me to get in the kitchen when I can and be a little more creative too. Looking forward to sharing those meals with you – I have a fun series planned!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: spring spinach and tomato soupOk let’s get to this recipe, which really is an anti-recipe, because 1. I don’t totally remember it and 2. this is my chance to teach you to be a little more free in the kitchen…realize that you can just throw together a bunch of ingredients and with some repetition and confidence, you too will think something like this is so so easy to make. Without planning, I whipped this up in about 30 minutes and had leftovers for days. Go ahead, try it…

Spring Spinach and Tomato Soup

In a large pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and butter. Sautée chopped garlic, onion, and carrot until they start to soften over medium heat (I had shredded carrot from a salad a made a few weeks ago). Add in a few cans of crushed or whole peeled (then chopped) tomatoes plus some chicken stock (I used 2 15-oz cans of each and always keep these things stocked in my kitchen). Got some good white wine you’re going to drink later? Pour a little of that in too. (1/2 cup or so?) Bring to a boil. Ok, I’m lazy and don’t want to wash another dish, so I cook my pasta right here in my soup. It totally works but when you do this you might need some more liquid because when the pasta cooks, it soaks it up. So if you’re doing this, have some extra chicken stock (and wine!) on hand that you can add in after if needed. You can also leave out the pasta, but really why would you do that? Once boiling, add in angel hair pasta. Once cooked through (only about 3 minutes, longer with other pastas) add in a can of cannellini beans and a whole bag of fresh spinach leaves. Stir well. You can season with salt, pepper, bay leaf (don’t forget to take it out when you’re done), and some Italian seasoning mix as you go or at the end. After all the spinach as wilted a bit, you’re all set. Grate some good Parmesan on top. Serve with crusty bread and more of that wine if you aren’t sick.

Haha ok, hate me? You can do it. Bon appétit!

Cupcakes for Breakfast: spring spinach and tomato soup

Pasta Fagioli

pasta fagioli soup italian

I’ve had the great opportunity to travel around Italy a couple of times. But way before then, when I was a kid, I really only had two ideas of what Italy looked like. The first was our downstairs bathroom, in which my mom painted to look like a Tuscan landscape. Sitting on the toilet, I always felt like Medici royalty, gazing out of my pink marble veranda onto a field of cyprus trees and fluffy white clouds with gold flecs that shimmered in the “sunlight”. (I really wish I had a photo to show you! I know it would make this post even better. I’ll try to get one eventually.)

The second Italy image I had was from a restaurant in town called Venezia. Similar to our bathroom, the walls of the Italian restaurant were pained tromp l’oeil, with scenes of magical Venice canals peeking through tall stone pink arches.

We went to Venezia often, but I only remember one item of the menu. Every time we went my dad always ordered this one thing: pasta fagioli soup. Piping hot. Everyone around the table always got a slurp or two under the faux twinkling Italian stars. And it was the perfect pairing of taste and setting, even though we were actually in a strip mall in Chester, New Jersey.

Oh, also, I thought that “pasta faazoooole” was probably the most fun thing to say ever.

pasta fagioli soup italian

So it’s been really cold and I’ve been stuck inside a whole lot. How to remedy this? Well Venezia closed many years ago, and I’m far from my parents’ downstairs bathroom. So instead I made my own big batch of pasta fagioli soup, shared it with my older brother and dreamt of traveling back to Tuscany with my family.

I haven’t had much experience making soup, but after making this beauty I wondered why I don’t make soup every week. Not only did it warm me right up, but the combination of the sweetness of the tomato and saltiness of the pancetta totally transported me to the Italian countryside.

On a related note, always, always cook with pancetta. You can’t go wrong.

pasta fagioli soup italian

Pasta Fagioli (adapted from Shutterbean)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • Bunch of fresh spinach (with the ends removed)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (15oz. canned)
  • 3 oz. (half can) of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups (32oz.) chicken stock
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dried pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. In a large pot warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, onion and garlic and sauté, stirring until onions are soft. Stir in the spinach and satué until wilted.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and generous salt & pepper. Continue to simmer for 20 more minutes or so. Add the beans and chicken stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta to the soup and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve hot with some crusty bread and don’t forget to sprinkle on a good amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano! This soup is great for lunch the next day, or can be frozen for later.