One of my very favourite pleasures is to sip a glass of red wine (preferably a Valpolicella) and listen to some great music while preparing dinner.
Don't get me wrong - I am no Giada De Laurentiis. Most evenings, my cooking involves simply heating ready-made foods or warming up left-overs - you know - something quick & easy to prepare. But once or twice a week, I like to pop the cork and tie on an apron. Then I'll turn on some vintage blues and go all out - peeling, chopping, sauteing, stirring and (most importantly) sipping wine.
My blog is all about sharing pleasures, right? Well, I'd love to have you all over for dinner, but as my table's just not big enough, I'll just have to try my best to share with you here, on this blog. The thing is, when it comes to sharing a taste sensation with you, it's not so easy as, say, sharing a song with you. When I want to share some vintage jazz with you, I just attach a link -
(Play it loud!)
you click on it, and 'Ta Da!' you're listening to Billy Holiday singing Fine & Mellow. Instant gratification.
But sharing a taste? That requires a fair amount of commitment from you. You need to buy the ingredients, follow the recipe, and cook the food in order to share the flavour with me. Is any one of my readers that committed to sharing my pleasures? I doubt it, but just in case someone wants to prove me wrong, I'm attaching a favourite recipe for Pasta Fagioli (a pasta, sausage and bean stew) that's a perfect one dish meal on a cold winter's night.
It has all of my personal requirements - vegetables to chop, a sauce to stir, and it tastes great with red wine. Plus it's easy to make. But if cooking just isn't your thing, at least open a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass, sit back, and enjoy listening to Billy Holiday create some magic. Cheers!
2 tablespoons olive oil
453 g/1 lb. ground pork
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
828 ml /3 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
60 ml/1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 chopped tomatoes (or 950 ml/32 oz can chopped tomatoes)
1 (470 ml/16 ounce) can white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
118 ml/1/2 cup uncooked elbow pasta
250 ml/ 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves, washed
78 ml/ 1/3 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork, spices and onion and cook until pork is browned. Add garlic and cook for just a minute more.
Add broth, basil, tomatoes and beans. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.
Add spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve with additional cheese for sprinkling on top.