Garbanzo Beans & All the Greens

Garbanzo Beans & All The Greens Stew: Nutrient-packed and utterly delicious! This nutrient-dense, greens-packed stew was utterly delicious. I guarantee that you will eat the entire pot until it's gone.  Plus, It's amazing how many servings of greens go into this dish--about 15 cups or so.  Four cups of arugula, a bunch of kale or mustard greens, and spinach.  This dish is fairly typical for Italian fare because the rind of a parmesan wedge is stewed along with the beans.  During this stewing, something magical happens and the beans become super creamy and simply disintegrate into your mouth.

This dish may appear "blah" but it is far from it!!

Recipe adapted from BonAppetit 

Garbanzo Beans & All The Greens Recipe, serves 6-8

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 1 teaspoon red pepper 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 large onion, chopped 4 celery stalks, chopped 1 sprig thyme 1 parmesan rind, plus parmesan for serving (optional) 1 pound garbanzo beans, soaked overnight and drained 1 bunch of kale or mustard greens, chopped 1 bunch of large flat leaf spinach, chopped (OR 4 cups baby spinach) 4 cups arugula (divided into 2 cups and 2 cups) 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

  1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft, about 4 minutes. Add onion, celery, and thyme; season with salt and pepper, and add one teaspoon of red pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes.

  2. Add Parmesan rind (if using), beans, and 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed, until beans are beginning to fall apart, 3–4 hours.

  3. Lightly crush some beans to give stew a creamy consistency.  (I used my immersion blender.) Mix in kale, spinach, and half of arugula; season with salt and pepper. Cook until greens are wilted, 5–8 minutes.

  4. Toss remaining arugula with lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Divide stew among bowls; top with arugula, shaved Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil.

Garbanzo Beans & All The Greens Stew

Mushroom Risotto

Simple and delicious mushroom risotto This dish was indeed inspired my trip to Italy, and is perfect for a meatless Monday dish.  Making risotto has been on my short list for years, and there's no time like winter for such a heavy, warming dish.  (Yes, it's still winter!)  I spiked it with a variety of my favorite mushrooms that I purchased in bulk---cremini, oyster, chanterelle, and even some baby portabellas.  You can easily toss other things in this---from asparagus to grilled chicken.

Risotto is amazingly simple to make.  The Italian short-grain Arborio rice does all the work for you.  There are only two things a good risotto requires: a whole lot of stirring and a little bit of patience. Plus, the flavor is all in the stock you use.  Here's the perfect occasion to defrost that homemade turkey stock you have leftover from your last roasted bird or vegetable stock making adventure.  I, however, am guilty of using store-bought stock, and it still came out delicious.

Sauteeing mushrooms for my mushroom risotto

Toasting the rice; preparing mushroom risotto

Step 1: Cook whatever you are spiking your risotto with.  I did mushrooms, so I sauted them in olive oil and butter.

Step 2: Add your onion, garlic, and celery.  Saute them.  Then, add your Arborio rice and stir for about a minute, toasting it (toasting grains brings out a deliciously nutty aroma).

Step 3: Add your stock, slowly, one cup at a time.  Stir constantly!  When the risotto appears to have soaked up the liquid, it's time to add another cup.  This is where the magic happens:  the stirring releases the natural starches in the Arborio rice, making your risotto creamy and velvety.

Step 4: Add your toppings and voila!

Keep stirring!

Mushroom risotto


Mushroom Risotto Recipe

9 cups broth (homemade preferable, or reduced-sodium if store bought) 1 pound mushrooms (I prefer Cremini) 6 fresh thyme sprigs 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided* 1 large onion, diced 2 celery ribs, chopped 1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain rice (Arborio) 1 cup dry white wine 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (1 teaspoon if using dried thyme) Salt and pepper, to taste

*You may use salted butter if that's what you have on hand.  Unlike baking, it's okay to use salted butter in cooking.  Just be careful when salting your food to taste.

  1.  Bring broth to a simmer in large pot over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to just below a simmer.
  2.  Remove mushroom stems.  Add mushroom stems, thyme sprigs, and half of parsley to broth. Remove leaves from other half of parsley bunch and chop, reserving 1/2 cup of chopped parsley leaves.
  3.  Heat olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a dutch oven (large pot OK) until hot.  Add mushroom caps and saute 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove mushrooms from dutch oven and set aside.
  4.  Add onion and saute 10 minutes, until tender.  Add celery and saute another 5 minutes, until softened.
  5.  Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, about one minute, until fragrant.  Stir in wine and cook, stirring often for 3 minutes.
  6.  Add one cup hot broth mixture (discard mushroom stems, and herbs by straining).  Cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat with remaining broth (rice will absorb the broth more quickly at the beginning, and more slowly at the end).  Total cooking time for stirring broth is about 30-35 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  7.  Stir in cheese, chopped thyme, chopped 1/2 cup parsley, and remaining two tablespoons butter.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Don't be afraid to season your food.  Add salt until you can taste the different flavors.  The food should not taste "salty" but should be flavorful.

Simple and Delicious Mushroom Risotto