Tonight, I learned lots of new things!
- Ragout is a form of stew.
- Soffritto is used as the base of Ragout, and is made of finely minced vegetables which are “fried slowly.”
- I am not always awesome at multi-tasking.
- Putting together a blog post takes more than just finding something clever to say (which I still need to work on).
Now, let’s talk about the most important item of today: Ragout! Tonight’s meal consisted of a few common ingredients:
The meal took about a hour to cook. When I got home from work this was the last thing I wanted to do. Once I started cooking, however, it became a relaxing experience (as it usually does).
The recipe itself is pretty simple. I used my manual food processor to chop the onion and bell pepper (it is very important to finely chop and NOT puree the vegetables) and cooked this mixture, AKA: soffritto, over medium heat for about 30 minutes.
This soffritto mixture makes much more than is needed for the Ragout, so I removed all but one-half cup from the pan. The original recipe stated that the tomato paste and garlic should be added next, followed by the beans 3-5 minutes later. Since I was being a poor multi-tasker tonight, I added the beans and vegetable broth before I realized I had forgotten the tomato paste and garlic mixture that was sitting on my counter. Oops!
After boiling the soffritto mixture with vegetable broth for about 8 minutes and simultaneously toasting the Ciabatta bread, I was ready to serve! The final product was much brothier than I expected, so I used a slotted spoon to top the toasted Ciabatta bread with the Ragout mixture. Once I topped this deliciousness with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, I ended up with a nice looking dish that was both healthy and filling.
That’s right folks, I hit a trifecta! (The only thing this recipe is lacking is in quickness, but you can’t win ’em all!). I definitely recommend trying this recipe yourself! I know I’ll be making it again–and maybe then I’ll follow the directions!
White Bean Ragout
Recipe retrieved from bonappetit.com.
3 medium onions: finely chopped
1 red bell pepper: finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
4 garlic cloves: 3 finely chopped and one crushed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
4-6 slices of toasted ciabatta
8-10 tablespoons finely grade Parmesan, divided
2 15-ounce cans white beans (I used white Navy Beans), rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1) Chop onions in manual food processor until finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer these onions into a medium bowl.
2) Chop bell pepper in manual food processor until finely chopped but not pureed. Add these to the onions and mix well.
3) Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion mixture and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are completely softened, about 30 minutes. This is your soffritto.
4) Measure 1/2 cup of soffritto and set aside. Transfer the remaining soffritto to a bowl and let cool before storing in refrigerator for up to 4 days or in freezer for up to 3 months.
5) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Rub bread slices with the remaining garlic clove. Place bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle 1/2 tbsp. parmasean over each slice. Toast until cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
6) Heat reserved 1/2 cup soffritto and beans in the same skillet on medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through.
7) Stir in 3 cups broth; bring to a boil.
8) Add garlic and tomato paste to boiling broth/soffritto/bean mixture*
9) Continue to simmer until liquid is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining 1 cup broth; simmer until tomatoes are tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in 2 tbsp. Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
10) Divide bread among bowls. Top with bean mixture. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
*The original recipe stated that the garlic and tomato paste should have been added to the onions and bell pepper mixture at the end of cooking. I will be doing this next time in hopes that it will thicken the broth a bit more.