Ragout of Broccolini, Beans, Sausage and Clams

Fall has arrived just in time for a ragout of broccolini, beans, sausage and clams. The clams lend a bit of Spanish flair to this dish. I used a mild Portuguese linguica sausage but feel free to substitute a hot or mild italian sausage. Don't forget some rustic bread to dip into the delicious sauce!

Inspired by Jacques Pepin's recipe in "More Fast Food My Way"

Recipe

2 T. olive oil
6 oz. hot Italian sausage (remove casing), chopped
1/2 c. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 small bunch broccolini (about 15 stems), chopped into 2" pieces
1 15.5-oz. can cannellini beans (I used mixed beans)
1 10-oz. can clams (or two 6.5 oz. cans)
Grated parmesan for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the sausage and brown for a few minutes. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flake, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccolini, salt, and the juice from both the can of beans and clams. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove cover and stir in the beans and clams. Bring to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes, uncovered.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan, with a crusty bread.

– adapted from Jacques Pépin, "More Fast Food My Way"

Gazpacho

A perfectly cool soup for a hot day. I put all the ingredients in a Vitamix, turned it on, and a minute later had a fresh first course to my Spanish inspired dinner of Chicken and Shellfish Paella and Pineapple in Dark Rum Sauce.

gazpacho.JPG

Recipe

1 green bell pepper, peeled with vegetable peeler and chopped
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed
4 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1-1/2 c. Bloody Mary Mix (I used Zing Zang)
1 tsp. salt
Sprigs of parsley for garnish
Croutons

Save 1/2 c. each of the green pepper, onion, cucumber and tomato for garnish. Put all the ingredients, except for the parsley and croutons, in the blender. Turn on and blend until smooth. You can't beat a Vitamix for this step!

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with spoonfuls of the reserved veg. Add 2 or 3 croutons and sprigs of parsley, if desired.

– Jacques Pépin, "More Fast Food My Way"

Cold Black Bean Soup with Banana

An easy, last minute, no cook black bean soup! Perfect for a 90-degree day when you just don't feel like lifting a finger.

In a food processor puree a can of black bean soup with a little olive oil, Tabasco, a few tablespoons of chopped onion, a crushed clove of garlic, and about 1/4 to 1/2 c. chicken stock to make the mixture creamy. Serve in small soup bowls, topped with a ribbon of sour cream diluted with a bit of water; garnish with a few slices of banana and a couple of cilantro leaves. Makes about three small first course servings.

From Jacques Pépin's "Fast Food My Way"

From Jacques Pépin's "Fast Food My Way"

Ratatouille

A wonderful vegan dish using freshly picked vegetables and simmered for 30 minutes. It's delicious hot or cold. Using a mixture of eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, garlic and canned fire roasted tomatoes makes this easy to prepare. This recipe by Jacques Pépin ("More Fast Food My Way") is the real deal! His recipe calls for adding 3/4 lbs. of penne pasta, but I leave it out. For a more robust dish (and not vegetarian), add sauteed/browned Linguica sausage at the beginning with the onions.

2019 UPDATE: Lately, I’ve added 1 T. dried basil with the rest of the ingredients, and at the end of cooking time adding 1 T. balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, then cooking an additional 5 minutes. Also adding a cooked gluten free pasta stirred in (such as Trader Joe’s corn pasta fusilli). Delicious!

To watch Jacques prepare his Ratatouille with Penne click  here   (starts at the 1:58 mark) .

To watch Jacques prepare his Ratatouille with Penne click here (starts at the 1:58 mark).

Recipe

1/4 c. olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 c. onions, chopped (3/4-inch pieces)
2 T. garlic, coarsely chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes in sauce (I use fire roasted)
2 tsp. salt

GARNISH:
1/2 c. olives (kalamata and black oil cured, pitted)
2 T. fresh basil or parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. grated Parmesan (optional)

Heat a large pot (or Dutch oven) to medium-high with the olive oil. Add the the onion and green pepper and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 30 minutes. If the mixture has too much liquid, reduce it by boiling, uncovered, for another 3-4 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

To serve, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with the olives, parmesan and fresh basil or parsley.

– Jacques Pépin, "More Fast Food My Way"