Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Italian Vegetable Stew

Earlier this week I was feeling the pressure of a refrigerator full of vegetables, filling my brain with the need to use them rather than let soften and rot only to be tossed in the compost pile. Fortunately, I had clipped a recipe for Italian Vegetable Stew from the October 14, 2009 issue of The Boston Globe. So, last night I pulled all of my aging vegetables out of the refrigerator, found a can of black beans in the pantry (for protein) and set about making this soup. I cut the vegetables a bit chunkier than the recipe called for as I like a hearty stew.

Italian Vegetable Stew

Serves: 6
Cook time: 70 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium eggplant, cut into 1” cubes
½ cup water
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (reserve juice)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 3/4” pieces
Salt and black pepper to taste
Italian spices
¾ cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
1 ¼ lb zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 can white or garbanzo beans (I used black as that is what I had)
Optional: shaved parmesan cheese for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are pale golden.

Add the eggplant and the water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the eggplant softens.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juices with the bell peppers, salt, pepper, and Italian spices. Lower the heat and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans for 5 minutes or until tender but still crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
Add the zucchini to the green bean water. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender but still crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with the green beans.

Add the potatoes to the vegetable water. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender.

Add the beans, zucchini, and potatoes to the eggplant mixture. Add the black or garbanzo beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

*Adapted from a recipe in The Boston Globe, October 14, 2009 which was adapted from Gourmet, October 2009

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