I LOVE Cookbooks! I also love cooking and food magazines, blogs, and websites.
Oh who am I kidding?
I love ANYTHING that has to do with learning more about food and cooking and not just healthy cooking, but ALL cooking. The healthy part is where I get to create my own spin.
So when a friend of mine offered to send me a copy of Gluten-Free Italian by Jacqueline Mallorca (say that name out loud… MALLORCA… is it just me or is that a really fun name to say) with the agreement that I would try some recipes and if I liked them I would post about one on the blog, you better believe I was happy and grateful to jump on board!
What I love about any cook who has to work with a “restriction” in the kitchen is that they automatically have to think outside the box, which is bound to result in original, creative, delicious meals!
Gluten-Free Italian does just this. I mean who in a million years would have ever have thought that someone following a gluten-free diet could still enjoy Italian food (a cuisine that is abundant in gluten – ie. pasta and breads).
Other than sharing over 150 Gluten-Free Italian recipes, Jacqueline Mallorca provides a simple explanation and education of gluten-free ingredients that would make it super easy for ANYONE to create a gluten-free kitchen.
So while I have tried a handful of recipes from the book, (including Fettuccine with Eggplant and Peppers Alla Norma and Baked Cod w/ Parsley and Green Onions) it was the Minestrone Soup w/ Rutabaga and Beans that I was able to photograph and therefore the recipe that I am sharing with you today (with permission of course!)
Sure, we’ve all had minestrone soup before, but have you ever tried it with the addition of Rutabaga and Pancetta?? If you are like me and the answer is NO, then I highly recommend that you buy the ingredients for this quick and hearty soup today! If I had to use one word to describe what the addition of rutabaga and pancetta do for this minstrone soup, it would be DEPTH. They add a depth of flavor that is really unexpected in such a quick cooking soup. SO GOOD!!
If you are new to Rutabaga (essentially a white turnip) this would be a great recipe to use as your “rutabaga-break-through” recipe! It’s a nice hearty, earthy root veggie with an edge… I think I just may have to do a 101 on the Rutabaga.
And while a Gluten intolerant person would make this soup with Gluten-Free pasta, I went ahead and used a regular whole grain pasta simply because it was what I had in the pantry. Either way, the key when adding pasta to any soup is to make it on the side and stir it in when you are ready to eat. This way you won’t end up with soft and mushy pasta (bleh).
Now while this soup is super nutritious (and delicious!), if I were to make it again, it would be hard to resist giving it a clean, simple, and d’lishes spin by simply halving the olive oil and pancetta and possibly throwing in a handful of kale or spinach (I know, I know… I just can’t resist making a recipe “my own” no matter how delicious the recipe may be).
Okay, I know I’m all over the place, but the bottom line here is this… the holidays are right around the corner and all I’m saying is that Gluten-Free Italian would make a great gift for anyone looking for simple and delicious Italian recipes (whether they are gluten-intolerant or not). And if you don’t want to spring for the book, then at least make them a pot of Minestrone Soup with Rutabaga and Beans 🙂
SO, I want to know… what kind of ingredients do you like to add to a basic minestrone soup? I would have never came up with Rutabaga on my own… do you guys have any other clever ideas to share with me?
Minestrone Soup W/ Rutabaga From 'Gluten-Free Italian'*
- 2 tsbp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 oz of diced pancetta or unsmoked bacon salt pork
- 1 onion quartered and finely sliced
- 3 celery ribs de-stringed and finely chopped
- 1 large rutabaga yellow turnip, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- 1 28 oz can of Italian plum tomatoes, including juice
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 cups gluten-free chicken broth
- 1 15 oz can white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup 20z gluten-free pasta elbows
- 4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or more to taste
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Add the pancetta, onion, celery, rutabaga, and rosemary and saut stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, and beans and season lightly with salt and pepper. Crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until the fresh vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Taste test often as brands differ (cooking gluten-free pasta separately gives more reliable results.)
- Drain the pasta, reserving the water, and add the pasta to the soup. Stir in parsley. Minestrone is meant to be thick, but if there is not enough liquid, add a little of the hot pasta water. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve sprinkled with the Parmesan.
- Serves 4-6.
- *Excerpted from the bookGluten-Free Italianby Jacqueline Mallorca, published by Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2009.www.dacapopresscookbooks.com