15 January 2009

Winter foods and winter booze

After a few weeks of holiday gluttony, we decided to skip the baking this week and go with a soup. Of course, this simple pasta e fagioli from this Rao’s cookbook is probably of questionable health value. But it’s still winter outside, so it’s a start.


½ pound ditalini pasta (we couldn’t find ditalini, even at the Italian deli, so we went with fusilli)2 19-oz cans cannelloni beans, undrained
¼ c olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ c reserved pasta water
grated Pecorino Romano cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Cook pasta, as always, in salted water. Meanwhile, puree 1 can of the beans and set aside. Heat the oil in a pot, then add the garlic and sauté until slightly golden. Add the pureed beans, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, add the second can of beans, and let simmer until the pasta is done. Then drain the pasta, but keep ½ cup of the water. Add that water and the pasta to the beans and stir. Serve it up, drizzle with olive oil and top with grated cheese.
This is a pretty basic soup and simple to make, but very filling and can easily be a meal instead of an appetizer. There’s a lot of flavor here, probably because everything is cooked with garlic olive oil. It’s good as-is, but we’re considering adding sausage next time.

Drinkwise, we also wanted something to warm us up after the weekend snowstorm. So we decided to stick with the Italian theme and try Italian Tea a.k.a. the Skier’s Smoothie. It’s a pretty basic drink, just a shot of Galliano, hot tea, and lemon as desired. It doesn’t make sense to call this drink Italian Tea, since our bottle of this Italian-made liqueur bears a label saying “Product of France.” But given that we also used the British tea PG Tips, this is really a multinational brew.

We’ve had Galliano ever since an attempt to try Harvey Wallbangers (about which the less said, the better) about a year ago, and never really found a drink we liked with this herbal liqueur. But it’s perfect when combined with a strong black tea and a slice of lemon. Simple, but the Skier’s Smoothie a good choice when you’re not in the mood for an Irish coffee.

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