Soup’s On!: Italian Pesto Soup with Gnocchi

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

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So I was a little skeptical of this dish; as much as I love me some pesto, I’ve never wanted to put it in a mug and chug it like melted Daiya. (BEST.) But don’t let the sub-par photograph fool you: this dish is ah-may-zing!

The recipe is from Mark Reinfeld’s The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On!, and I must admit up front: I used store-bought gnocchi instead of making them by hand. Way easier, and probably tastier to boot, since my gnocchi-rolling skills are not exactly on point. Otherwise I followed the directions mostly as-is. Well, except for the tomatoes. I used about double the amount called for, but only because I didn’t want to freeze half a can. Leftover ingredients, blerg.

In addition to the obvious – basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and cashews (or pine nuts) – the soup also has onions, veggie stock, soy sauce, and parsley. Everything but the tomatoes and gnocchi are blended to creamy perfection, a texture that’s complemented nicely by the chunky tomatoes and hearty gnocchi.

Will make again.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

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C’mon, admit it: you KNEW this was coming. Every time I find myself with an abundance of produce, I invariably figure out a way to put it on a pizza (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Before trying my hand at a butternut squash pizza, I did a little googling to see what others have done; this is kind of a mashup of some of the ideas I found. The roasted squash was heavily influenced by the Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan from The Oh She Glows Cookbook – and the Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds from Vegan Italiano provided the inspiration for the pesto recipe, which is much more moist than usual. The liquidy pesto is insurance against the oven, which always dries my pesto pizzas out more than a little bit.

The result is hella tasty, and definitely one of my best uses of butternut squash to date.

(More below the fold…)

Rawlicious Zuchetti Pesto

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

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One of the two (!) raw pasta recipes in The HappyCowCookbook comes to us, fittingly, from Rawlicious in Toronto. This my very first time experimenting with raw pasta, and I bought a shiny new spiralizer just for the occasion!

So this is a pretty tasty and filling recipe – though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the carbs. (The whole time I was devouring the Zuchetti, all I could think was how amazing the pesto would taste slathered on a giant plate of linguine!) But given that two cups of zucchini packs just 36 calories, I think I just might replace my angel hair pasta with veggie noodles now and again.

The pesto is a pretty rad blend of spinach, basil, lemon juice and sunflower seeds; for extra-lemony goodness, sprinkle a little lemon zest on the pasta before serving. It’s a little wetter than most pestos I’ve tried, which makes it easier to spread on the zucchini noodles. I used dry sundried tomatoes instead of oil-packed ones (the recipe doesn’t specify, fwiw); next time I think I’ll let the dish sit a bit so that the tomatoes can soak up the extra pesto juices.

Not bad, and all the better for super-hot, super-humid days like we had this weekend. So humid even the floors are sweating!

Gnocchi with Soy-Free Yeasty Pesto

Friday, May 10th, 2013

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This is actually a variation on the Pesto Genovese from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen by Bryanna Clark Grogan. I’ve never met a pesto I didn’t like, but this one’s especially tasty. The original recipe calls for Soymage Parmesan, but here it’s swapped out for nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and – this is where things get strange – vegan chicken broth powder. Which I just so happen to have on hand thanks to my new favorite bulk foods site. (BACOS BY THE POUND!) I love the powdered stuff compared to bouillon – not only is it easy to use, but no palm oil. Yay! But I digress.

Served over a pound of gnocchi with some mixed veggies (not pictured – a last minute addition, they were still in the microwave during the photo session), this was the perfect quick and light meal for the first hot day of the year. fwiw, one recipe makes about enough pesto for one to two bags of gnocchi (or a bag of gnocchi + 2 cups o’ vegetables), depending on how heavy you like it.

Pile-It-On Pepperoni and Pesto-Potato Pizzas

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

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…from Robin Robertson’s The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes cookbook. Don’t worry, the pizzas are all-vegan! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

First up: the Pesto-Potato pizza. Now I’ve had pesto pizzas and I’ve had potato pizzas, but pesto and potato? Who woulda thunkit!

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As it turns out, Pesto-Potato Pizza is pretty damn delicious. Both pesto and potato pizzas can sometimes be on the dry side, so this is a pizza best enjoyed fresh – or perhaps with some kind of dipping sauce. I veered from Robertson’s directions a bit; whereas she would have you coat the potatoes in a cup of pesto and then layer them on the pizza, I used the extra few cups (one recipe makes three cups) as a base, for extra besto pesto goodness. Plus the pesto is thick enough that it didn’t really take to the potato slices. Whatever, it’s all good.

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We also made a “Pile-It-On” Pepperoni Pizza, which is really just a cute name for a pepperoni pizza. Shane was craving pepperoni anyway, so we figured what the hey? Two recipes with one stove. Robertson only calls for four ounces of vegan pepperoni, but I’m pretty sure we used more than that. Pile it on, right?

The Basic Dough recipe is pretty solid: it’s a little thinner than we normally make (which is to say, medium-ish; our crusts are usually pretty thick and fluffy), nice and crispy, with a slightly butter flavor. I like!

Angel Hair with Sweet Corn and Lemon-Basil Pesto Sauce

Monday, March 18th, 2013

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The title pretty much sums it up! The pesto recipe is from Vegan Italiano; though it’s meant for use on a Grilled Portobello Sandwich, I appropriated it for angel hair: roughly a double recipe of pesto per pound of pasta. I also tossed in a few handfuls of almonds because protein, and added some steamed sweet corn to the pasta – I guess because it’s yellow and thus evocative of lemons? Certainly the corn looks more lemony than the mostly-green pesto. (Damn you basil!) For whatever reason, the just corn called to me.

Anyway, really tasty. I’m thinking about making a lemon chicken pesto pasta dish using this as the starting point. Gotta hit the grocery store first, since I’m pretty much out of everything, chicken strips included.

Pro tip: If the pesto’s a little thick to easily mix with the pasta, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Not only will this make it more stir-able, but it’ll intensify the lemon flavor. YUM.

Potato Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato-Almond Pesto

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

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So good I can’t even!

And fast: it took me all of 20 minutes to make, and that’s counting the seven minutes it took to bring the sundried tomatoes to room temp in a mug of hot water. (Pro tip: Remember to take yer tomatoes out of the fridge an hour beforehand, lest they be encased in a block of congealed fat.) It must be a while since I last had gnocchi, because I was surprised – no, straight-up shocked – to find that it only takes 2-3 minutes to cook the suckers. When did this happen, people?

I wish Klein included a recipe for homemade gnocchi in Vegan Italiano, but tragically she does not. Not that it’s difficult to find locally; I just want to take a shot at some fancy flavored stuff. The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook has some pretty tasty looking recipes for Potato Gnocchi and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caramelized Shallot Rings, so maybe I’ll give those a try some time soon.

Linguine with Potatoes, Green Beans, and Spinach-Walnut Pesto

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

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File this one under “different, but in a good way”! Linguine served with boiled white potatoes and fresh green beans and topped with a delicious spinach pesto; recipe via Vegan Italiano.

Klein gives instructions for cooking the pasta, potatoes, and beans all in the same pot for maximum efficiency, but I wussed out and boiled the potatoes and beans first, followed by the pasta. (But in the same water! Down with waste!) I wasn’t entirely confident on the cook times, you see, and am super-fussy when it comes to the tenderness (or lack thereof) of my veggies, so decided that my way was safer. I think I may have “overcooked” the potatoes, at least for this recipe; they were on the soft and mushy side. But don’t think I’m complaining! That’s just what I was aiming for.

The Spinach-Walnut Pesto is almost as tasty as it is messy. Cleaning up the stray bits of pulverized spinach, I felt like I was mopping up Poison Ivy’s murder scene or something. Streaks of green everywhere! The pesto is most def my favorite part of this dish, though – I can see using it on pizza, pasta, breads, or other veggies (baked potatoes!), even. And once the food processor has done its magic, you can hardly tell there’s spinach in there. Consider that a pro tip. Parents/partners/chefs to vegetable haters, I’m looking at you.

Pesto Pizza, courtesy of Chickpea Magazine!

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

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With all these cookbooks to keep me busy, Shane and I haven’t been making pizza as much as we used to. Wait, let me rephrase that. AS MUCH AS WE SHOULD. SHOULD. It’s like an obligation or something, seeing as I have a pizza blog to do right by now.

Last weekend we made two pies, identical except for the base: mozzarella Daiya, sundried tomatoes, black and Kalamata olives, and fresh tomatoes. The one in the back is topped with homemade pizza sauce (made and frozen last fall; I for seriously need to empty out my freezer, y’all! anyone want some of my special sauce?). The other slice has homemade pesto instead of red sauce, the recipe for which is from the Summer 2012 issue of Chickpea magazine.

I was lucky enough to win a copy in a Vegan MoFo giveaway, and now that I’m finally getting around to reading it, I think I might subscribe. I’m already a bit of a magazine hoarder as it is, but methinks this one might actually see some use. It’s super-cute, well-designed and thought out, but with a definite indy/diy feel. I was stoked to win the summer issue, since it features an entire spread of vegan ice cream – AND THEN I opened it and saw a pizza feature too! “No such thing as bad pizza” – truer words have never been spoken, my friends.

So anyway, the pesto: very tasty! I was immediately drawn to this recipe because it includes a good 50% more ingredients than most pesto recipes, which piqued my curiosity. And it did not disappoint! I wasn’t able to get it as spreadable as I would have liked, but that was my fault – I ran out of lemon juice, which is what they recommend to help thin the consistency. Oh well, there’s always next time.

Spinach-Basil Pesto Pasta and Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

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Tonight – well, last Wednesday night; my queue is pleasantly plump! – was a cleaning out the fridge kind of night. The remains of the spinach I bought for the Cheesy Mac and Greens became Spinach-Pesto Sauce, and the week-old green beans and half a can of diced tomatoes combined to make Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic – both recipes from Vegan Italiano. It doesn’t look like much, but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t the most delicious fridge-emptying dinner in recent memory!

The pesto, which comes together in all of three minutes, was good enough as is – though I decided to add a half a cup of walnuts for a little extra bulk. Klein doesn’t say how much pasta one batch will coat, but a pound of angel hair seems about right. Use a little less pasta (or a little more pesto) if you like your pasta extra-pesto-y!

Spinach pesto is actually kind of genius – an excellent way of sneaking spinach onto the plate of someone who normally won’t touch the stuff. Now that I think about it, I’m a little surprised that Wild About Greens doesn’t have a pesto recipe.

As for the green beans, they’re ridiculously good. Granted, they require an hour plus of cook time, but it’s totally worth it (and mostly hands-off, anyway). Mine didn’t get quite as melt-in-your mouth tender as Klein promises, but they came pretty close. Soft and juicy, with an almost buttery taste – mmmmm mmmmmm. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Pro tip: use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, juices and all. You won’t need to add much extra water, and the tomato juice will cook down into a heavenly garlicky sauce. I used the pasta to sop it up, no lie.