After 143 days without rain, we have experienced refreshment here in Arizona at last!
Yesterday marked yet another unexpected rain storm that I had the pleasure of being caught up in. And what better thyme is there to commemorate the rarity of a drop in temperature than by making soup and a warm pasta dish? The first thing I want to do when it rains is to cosy up with a good book and eat good food. That is all I require in life. Books and food. And occasional rain.
So, I reluctantly drug myself back inside from playing in the rain, and then realized…hey! I am about to experience my other favourite part of a rainy day: FOOD! So I began my Italian feast, featuring the last herb in our Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme mini-series:
Main Course: Pasta and White Beans Gratin and Spring Greens Salad
Stracciatella is a traditional Italian soup featuring chicken broth, semolina, parmesan and eggs. It is essentially an Italian egg-drop soup, and it is incredibly good and incredibly easy to make.
For 4-6 servings
5 cups boiling chicken broth
1 cup cold chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBS Fine bread crumbs or semolina
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Boil the 5 cups chicken broth in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, beat eggs together with salt, semolina (or bread crumbs) and cheese until well blended. Gradually add the cold broth and beat until smooth. Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the boiling broth, beating constantly so that the eggs form ribbons in the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the egg is set. Serve hot, topped with additional grated cheese if desired.
And now, for the pièce de résistance :
Pasta and White Beans Gratin
Adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes
For 8 servings
2 cups uncooked pasta shells
1 cup loosely packed fresh chopped basil
3 cloves pressed garlic
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup diced onion
3 – 6 springs FRESH THYME
1 T. olive oil
30 ounces cannellini(white kidney beans)
1 T. basalmic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 T olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine chopped basil and pressed garlic with Parmesan, and blend with 1 teaspoon olive oil and ricotta.
In a saucepan, saute onions with thyme in 1 T. olive oil. The aroma will be AMAZING. Try to focus.
Stir in the beans and basalmic vinegar, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (175 C). Combine beans, tomatoes and pasta in a well oiled 2 quart casserole dish. Place spoonfuls of ricotta mixture over the pasta.
In a small bowl, moisten the bread crumbs with remaining olive oil and sprinkle over casserole.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Serve with a mixed greens salad and dry red wine.
And take your thyme to enjoy it all.
*cough lamejoke cough*
A perfect way to end a beautiful rainy day.