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“Pasta e Fagioli”

I am a bad blogger.

Really, really, bad blogger.

But in my defense, I’ve been studying for a tought exam…Which I ended up not taking, but that is a whole different story 😀

You know how sometimes a certain song reminds us of something?A place, a feeling, a person. I don’t have a straight association to a precise moment or person in my life for most foods, but for a few I do: I will always remember the first time I had lasagne, I thought they looked horrible and was sure I wouldn’t like them, but one bite was all it took for me to fall in love with them. Baked pasta will always be associated to my father, because he made the best. And this particular dish, pasta e fagioli ( Pasta and beans) will always remind me of my grandmother and our weekly dinners at my grandparents’ complete with manners–school.

Yup, and we were graded 😀

It was actually fun, although I don’t know if I would pass now!

Anyhow, this dish is a typical italian one ( I think from Milan, but am not sure) and a favourite of mine.

I had actually forgotten of it until my sister made it a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be selfish of me not to spread the love for it!

Pasta e Fagioli

Serves 4-5

1 onion

1 carrot

2 celery stalks

2 tsp olive oil

5 cups vegetable broth*

3 cups soaked borlotti beans, but not cooked

ca. 300 grams pasta of your choice

Vegetable broth

salt

*The amount of broth used depends on whether you prefer a thicker or soup-like consistency. I made a thicker version, so if you prefer it liquid-y add more broth

Finely dice onion, carrot and celery, sauté for 5-10 minutes on medium–low, until tender.

Add the vegetable broth and beans, salt the water, turn the flame up a bit.

Cook for approximately an hour, or until the beans are almost ready, adding broth if necessary.

Some 10 minutes before the beans are ready add the pasta, salt and broth if needed. The pasta should at least be covered by broth, or if you want it more like a soup add the desired amount of water.

As the pasta absorbs the water make sure to turn it often to insure no parts remain uncooked.

 

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Quite the mouth-full name, heh?

Broccoli Pasta is probably the most made type of pasta in my house, we all love it.

We’ve obviously all experimented with it a bit, making slight variations in the recipe, adding new ingredients, changing some, all depending on the mood, and well….what’s in the fridge ;).

Lately I’ve been in a bit of a sunflower-seed period, so when my Cri and I were making the pasta I suggested adding some sunflower seeds. The seeds added just the right amount of crunch, and their flavour blended in perfectly with the rest. Winning combination!

Broccoli Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato and Sunflower Seeds

Serves 6

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 onion

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 Broccoli heads

4 cups pasta

2 tsp olive oil

Toast the sunflower seeds until golden brown.

Dice the onion, sauté in 1/2 tbsp olive oil on medium-low for a few minutes, until translucent.

Meanwhile, boil the broccoli for 3-4 minutes in salty water, then chop it in bite-sized pieces.

Cook your pasta of choice (I used the same water I used for the broccoli, but added some more salt). Meanwhile, add the sun-dried tomatoes to the onion, mix well, and allow to cook for a few minutes. Toss in the Broccoli, and once the pasta is ready, add that too. Turn off the flame, add the sunflower seeds and the remaining oil, mix well and serve!

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It’s that time of the week! And I even managed to take a picture at everything! shocking, I know :).

For a start, breakfast was peanut-butter oats with half a wacky cupcake and a glass of orange juice served in a fancy Shrek glass.

Lunch (yesterday’s dinner left overs) was enjoyed in between classes, cold because the cafeteria microwave is broken 😦

Thankfully, pesto pasta isn’t that bad cold! Along with the pasta I had 2 clementines

Which I also enjoyed, along with a piece of chocolate, as a pre-swim snack (more on the swim tomorrow!).

Finally, dinner was mexican style, my favourite!

In the tortillas went salad, beans, tomatoes and mexican salsa. As you can probably tell, I had some difficulty with closing my wrap, but the messier the better I think!!

And that’s all I had! I’m off to bed because exhausted, see y’all tomorrow!

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I don’t know about you guys, but my older sister and I loved to play with mr. Potato Head.

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What was especially fun was trying to place everyone of his body parts in his…back compartment?

That and misplacing is body parts…don’t try and tell me you never put an arm where is nose goes 😉

Unfortunately, Mr. Potato, tired of being mistreated, moved on to a better home, but today my sister was able to find a decent substitute:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s not as versatile as Mr. Potato Head was, but he’s still a charmer 🙂

So cute in fact that he was rescued from becoming our dinner, which consisted of this

Which, my dear friends, is how true pesto pasta should be! Pasta with boiled potatoes, string-beans and, obviously, pesto! It’s really good, you should try it!

Dessert was what my mom called “wacky cupcakes”, vegan! My sister made them, and they weren’t bad!

What was left of them 😀

 Tonight I had ballet lessons but i skipped again – sort of bugs me – because my tailbone has been aching. Thank’s to it my activity levels have been extreemely low, so I’ve decided that, starting tomorrow, I’ll start swimming once a week! I love swimming but am terrible at it, which is the main reason I never go; I’m a bit afraid of judgement, you see :). But I was once terrible at running and afraid of exposing myself and feared what other runners might have thought about me; but I conquered my fear and now love it and am not that terrible anymore…or was, at least, thanks to you tailbone! Plus actually writing on my blog that I’ll be swimming tomorrow and every following wednesday…I can’t back out now!

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Vegetarian Lasagna

 

One thing that shocked me when I turned vegetarian was how well my family adjusted to it: I had expected I would have to cook something for myself most of the time, but instead I found my mom and sister changing ingredients and trying new ones to turn normal recipes vegetarian. I’m truly thankful my family has been so supportive of my new choice of life and I’m happy I get to share so much of it with them.

One of my all-time favourite recipes are lasagnas. The first time I saw one i wasn’t too eager to eat it: it just didn’t seem like something good, so why waste my time? I was around the age of 7, and was already in love with food, and didn’t want to waste any time on food that wasn’t worth it. Veggie? Pfff, no thanks. Focaccia, cheese, ham? bring it on. Back to the main subject, the sight of lasagnas wasn’t the best, but they did have a nice smell and so I had a bite, and oh boy, it was delicious! Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

A few weeks ago, my mom had the brilliant idea of making lasagnas with an adzuki ragù, and it was delicious! You could not tell it was made with beans!

I decided I would test the recipe with lentils too, and the result was just as good!

Be prepared though, because the recipe is pretty long, and so is the preparing time. You can easily split it in two days, though: the vegetarian ragù one day and the lasagna the next.

Vegetarian Ragù

2 onions

2 celery stalks

2 carrots

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups lentils, cooked or adzuki

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

3 cans tomato pulp (480 g each)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

8/9 dried bay leaves

Dice carrots, onions and celery stalks and sauté with the oil in a large skillet on low for 30 minutes, or until carrots and celery turn tender.

Add the lentils and the wine, and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. The alcohol will evaporate, but the taste of the red wine will remain and add a nice note to the ragù.

Add the tomato pulp, the seasoning and the bay leaves, and let it cook for 3-4 hours circa on low, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

One of the tricks about a succesful ragù is the cooking time: the longer it cooks, the better!

Once it has cooked long enough, remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste. Puré it to obtain a silkier and smoother texture.

ragù with weird formation in the middle

Vegetarian Lasagna

Vegetarian ragù

250 g mozzarella (8.8 oz), diced

a package of pasta sheets

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a casserole dish spread a thin layer of ragù;

over it place pasta sheets;

then another thin layer of ragù, followed by some mozzarella;

and again a layer of pasta sheet.

Repeat till the last layer of pasta: cover that with some ragù and, finally, the shredded parmesan.

Cook in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Here is what I call comfort food 😉

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What I ate Wednesday

After a sleepless night thanks to those adorable little creatures known as mosquitoes, I awoke at 6.40 and decided it was close enough to my alarm that I could get up and away from the insects. Comfort food was a must if I wanted to turn the day around and go out with a good mood, so I prepared myself a bowl of banana-y oats with peanut butter and chocolate chips…lots and lots of that melted deliciousness, obviously! A glass of juice on the side.

After this I felt like I could take over the world!

At least i had the energy to sustain 4 hours in class (pharmacology, which is not so bad and statistics, not my favourite lets say ;)) with a mid-morning snack composed of an apple

A very good apple I must say!

Lunch was composed of a salad with tomatoes, carrots and half an avocado. Bread and basil hummus on the side!

Today was my grandfather’s birthday, so my older sister, Cristina, prepared a sacher-torte and my sisters and I with a few cousins went to my grandparents’ house to surprise my nonno! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture, but…

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You get the idea right? 😀

Dinner was My younger sister’s creation: we have turns making dinner: I have monday, Cri has Tuesday, Elisa has Wednesday, my mom has Thursday, and for friday and the weekend…whom ever is here!

So dinner tonight was a simple yet always good pasta with tomato sauce

with a kiwi as fruit.

Elisa’s way of eating a kiwi with a spoon is contagious 😀

So that was my day in food!

I still feel a bit of hunger though..I might go have half a banana, and then I’m off to bed…I do not want to go: there are still 5 mosquitoes in our room that we didn’t manage to kill; I dread the night ahead of me 😦

 

 

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Hey guys!

And the weekend comes to an end 😦 for some reason weekends never seem long enough!

Today was one of those lazy Sundays: the day started off super well, with chocolate-chip pancakes! I love pancakes, but, up until some time ago, I never had them; they’re just not your typical italian breakfast :). But ever since I started reading food blogs I’ve started to change my breakfast and pancakes have become a typical thing on Sundays. Looking back on a few months ago, I really do not know how I could enjoy my breakfasts made of boxed granola and biscuits! I’m so happy I discovered oats in all its variety!

Today was one of the most beautiful days i have ever seen in Milan: it’s been windy for the last few days, so the air was strangely clean, considering Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe; the sky was an intense blue, so, a little before lunch my boyfriend and I went to the park to spend some quality time sitting on the grass. I wish I had a picture to show you guys how beautiful it was!

The rest of the day was spent being lazy around the house, until my sisters came back home and we made dinner: we brainstormed on what to have for a while, until the answer came: pasta! We are Italians, after all 😉

We tested a cream substitute made with raw cashew, milk, lemon juice and parmesan cheese, and added peas and onions to it.

The result was good!

While cooking dinner, I told my younger sister I had a blog and this was her reaction:

Her name is Elisa, by the way, and she is 15.

My older sister, Cristina, 23, found out a few days ago, and this was her reaction:

And now we are just relaxing watching “The emperor’s new groove”: it’s hilarious, I think it’s one if my all time favourite Disney cartoons 🙂 and I’m a crazy Disney cartoons fan!

Are you a Disney fan?

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