Pasta Fagioli

Some time ago, I found a website claiming it had the ‘secret’ restaurant recipes of popular dishes.  It claimed this is the same pasta fagioli soup from Olive Garden.  I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure is tasty!

Pasta Fagioli
 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can red kidney beans (w/ liquid)
  • 1 15-oz can great northern beans (w/ liquid)
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 12-oz can V-8 juice
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ lb. (1/2 pkg) ditali pasta
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. About 50 minutes into the simmering, coo the pasta in 1½ to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
  5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more and serve.

 

Pretzel Dogs

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 3 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105 – 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal and extra flour for dusting work surface
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • hot dogs (I prefer all beef hot dogs)
  • sliced cheese (American or cheddar)

Make the pretzel dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar, and water and let stand 5 minutes until foamy and bubbly.
  2. Add remaining sugar and salt and stir well.
  3. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until well incorporated.
  4. Knead dough until smooth (about 7 minutes) and has a sheen.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered for 40 minutes in a warm place.

Make the pretzel dog:

  1. Dust your work surface with flour and cornmeal.
  2. Divide dough into approximately equal pieces and roll out to desired length and thickness.
  3. Place 1 slice of cheese and 1 hot dog on dough.
  4. Roll the dough until it completely covers the hot dog and cheese. Pinch off excess dough.
  5. Place the pretzel dog on a baking sheet that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
  6. Repeat until all hot dogs are used.
  7. Allow pretzel dog dough to rise for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

  1. Carefully transfer risen pretzel dogs to boiling water with spatula and boil ~3.5 minutes. (IMPORTANT!)
  2. Transfer boiled pretzel dogs to a rack to drain for 1 minute.
  3. Arrange pretzel dogs on a baking sheet, lightly dusted with cornmeal, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Note: Don’t skip boiling the pretzel dogs. If you do, the dough will become very hard.

Chili con Carne

I got this chili recipe from my old academy roommate, Ian.  I like making a batch of this in the fall just as the weather is starting to turn cold.  It also makes for great football food.

Ian's Chili con Carne
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can ready cut tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 2 tsp. Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, brown beef with onion and garlic.
  2. Drain fat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until ready to eat.