Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bonus Recipes from Italy!!

2 Bonus Recipes for You

You are so lucky :)  Because I love you all for looking at my blog and well, just being supportive, I am giving you even more yummy Italian recipes!!  The reason I even have a blog is because of my friend and neighbor - Stephanie O'Dea.  A few years back she decided to embark on an adventure/new year's resolution where she used her slow-cooker EVERYDAY FOR A YEAR.  Really, she did.  Her blog, A Year of Slow Cooking , became super popular and led to cookbook offers and now she is starring in the Ninja Cooking System infomercials :)  Cool, huh?  Anyway, she did all this and more (click on her link to see all her other accomplishments) while raising her 3 kids and being a great mom.  So, I am using her as my model to be a working stay-at-home mom AND stealing one of the recipes from her website to cook for you.  Actually, I changed an ingredient or two and I bet mine is even better :)  Should we have a crock-pot cookoff challenge?!

Pasta Fagioli - Slow-Cooker style

For the recipe you will need:

  • 1 lb. mild italian sausage.  Ours were in casings but I cut them off and chopped up the sausages
  • 1/2 large onion - chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks - chopped
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes in juice or one box of Pomi Italian tomatoes- never tried them before but Italian tomatoes are supposed to be more flavorful
  • 1 can kidney beans - drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white beans - drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups beef broth - I used 3 cups beef and one vegetable cuz that's what I had
  • 1 jar (gasp) pasta sauce or a few cups of homemade sauce. I'm really not a sauce snob - I'm just kidding :)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 T Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more if you used sodium free broth like I did
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 c dry pasta - I think I used more and it was a bit thick but still super delicious!
1.  I have a small crockpot (4 qt) so I divided the ingredients and froze half for another meal.  Stephanie suggests 6 qt or larger.
2. Brown the sausage on the stovetop (or if you get that new Ninja cooker from the infomercial you can do it in the same pan)
3. Chop up carrots, onion, celery and put in crock.  Same with the beans, tomatoes,.....actually everything except the pasta goes in the crock!
4.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hrs or high for 4.  About 40 mins before you want to eat it add the pasta - I started mine at 9 am and we ate it at 4 (because it smelled so good and we had an ice-cream social at the school at 6) 

Everyone (except my daughter who doesn't eat red sauce) really enjoyed it - especially with some parmesan cheese on top and some crusty bread on the side!!  Thanks Stephanie for the delicious recipe!

Bonus #2 - Panna Cotta with Berries
This recipe is all over the websites so I'm not crediting any one person with it.  It is very creamy and delicious and was super easy to make! You will need:

  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk (I'd have to imagine 1 or 2% would be fine also)
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin (.25 ounce)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 granulated sugar or sugar substitute if you're diabetic
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1. Pour milk in small bowl, add gelatin and let sit for a few minutes
2. In saucepan, put cream and sugar and bring to boil - stir to dissolve sugar. 
3. When boiling, pour gelatin/milk mixture into cream and stir completely and constantly for one minute. 
4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
5. Pour into 6 individual ramekins or one large one (I don't have six ramekins) and let cool uncovered on the counter. 
6. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 4 hours. 
7.  Decorate with fresh berries.  Hand everyone a spoon and ENJOY!!!!!

 My son doing an excellent job decorating it (he only ate HALF the bowl of berries)

   Isn't it beautiful!!! Can you see where I hid the bite I took with a berry?
I was afraid we would eat the whole thing so I asked the neighbors to try it...guess they liked it :)


  1. Just catching up.... thank you for your nice words. :-)
    we love that soup, and mamamia that panacotta was to DIE for.
    best thing ever.

  2. Heck yes we liked it......and we had to walk away before we started licking your dish clean!!