After the sugary indulgences demanded by Valentine's Day yesterday (apparently we have to eat chocolate whether love is kind to us or not, right?) I thought we could all use a big old bowl of healthy today and this vitamin and fiber-rich Rustic Italian Vegetable Stew perfectly fits the bill! Let's hear it for some guilt free, sensible consumption!
First off, did you have a good Valentine's? It's not a holiday I place a whole lot of emphasis on (except for the chocolate--there needs to be lots and lots of chocolate) but my sweet husband made the day extra sweet. Guess what he did? HE COOKED DINNER! AND DESSERT!! He made this Classic Chicken Francaise and it was good...all except for the sauce, but we think maybe the wine was a little off, still the chicken was good and so great to come home to after a hockey scrimmage. There were rice and peas too and for dessert, these LINZER TARTS!! WOW!!!
They were truly delicious and the perfect Valentine's treat! You have to understand, this is not a person who cooks much, let alone bakes, so it was pretty miraculous that he did them all by himself! What a way to share the love!!
And speaking of love, you will love the overload of nutritious goodies like carrots, tomatoes, kale, cannellini beans and farro in this stew and the fact that it comes together fairly easily. It's kind of hard finding reasons NOT to make it tonight.
And though it's super duper good for you, it's miles away from boring because every bite is a wake up call for your tastebuds. It's definitely got a real kick but not so much that steam comes out of your ears, know what I mean?
And then there's the wonderful mix of all the different textures. It's hearty without being heavy.
Valentine candy overload? I've got you covered!!
Italian Vegetable Stew
Makes 8-10 servings
Prep Time: About one hour, but a good portion of this is just letting the stew simmer away on its own.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 6 carrots, peeled and sliced into not too thin rounds
- Salt to taste
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup farro, rinsed
- Two 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 4 cups vegetable broth, this homemade one or a good quality store brand
- 2 cups water
- About 8 ounces kale, tough ribs removed, chopped into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Black pepper for seasoning
- Grated Parmesan for serving (optional)
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until very hot. Add onions, carrots and a nice pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until veggies are softened.
2. Add in garlic and pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn't burn. Then add in bay leaves, farro, beans, tomatoes, broth and water and stir well. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then lower it so that the stew comes to a gentle simmer and let cool for about 30 minutes. Add the kale and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until both kale and farro are tender.
3. Turn off the heat and remove bay leaves. Stir in lemon juice and taste. Add black pepper and more salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and top with a generous amount of Parmesan, if using, and serve.
4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days and reheated over a low light or in the microwave.
Note: Recipe adapted from Love Real Food by Katharyn Taylor. I tinkered. Cut down oil, added more carrots in lieu of celery, used fire-Roasted tomatoes for more heat and cut the fresh rosemary.