Broccoli and White Bean Soup with Rosemary

I have been lying in bed this morning – a cold morning of Autumn where it is nice to be sipping coffee and reading under the warm blankets. I have been watching the sky as I read, wondering what kind of day it will be, and it has varied from bright blue and cloudless, to dark and stormy, and back to few clouds and a bright blue sky. Such are the joys of our Australian weather. We watch the sky in Summer to see what heat levels we need to endure during the day, in Autumn we watch the sky for much needed rain, in Winter it is about how cold and wet it will be, and in Spring we wait for the first warm to hot day to arrive.

So it is nearly Winter and the soup pot has emerged from the depths of the cupboard again. We made an awesome spicy tomato soup the other day, quite Indian in style, and today we turn towards Italy and the simple but awesome products that come out of kitchens. I have heard the food of Tuscany particularly is called Poor Man’s Food, that is, food that is made from locally grown produce without fanciness or pretension. Exactly my kind of food. I remain a country girl at heart despite living in various cities for the majority of my life. The influence of those first 15 – 20 years never leaves you.

I have roasted the broccoli in this dish, but you can just add it to the onions if you prefer to skip that step.

Similar dishes include Broccoli and Chickpeas, Greek White Bean Soup, and White Bean and Leek Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Broccoli dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn food.

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Zucchini Gratin with Roasted Tomato Sauce | Cheesy Baked Zucchini

Summer and Autumn are the seasons of zucchini abundance, and we have some terrific recipes for dealing with the glut. This is another one – it comes from the now-defunct Lucullian Delights blog. Ilva’s recipes were so good – Italian, simple, delicious. Just my style. She as always very generous in sharing her food and recipes. You will love this one.

If you have been following this blog for a while you will know that I adore Gratin dishes and also stuffed vegetables, and this dish fits both criteria. A cheesy stuffing is made and the zucchini are baked. I also made a Roasted Tomato Sauce to go with it – you can use this recipe, but bake at a higher temperature, or begin early and put the zucchini in with the roasting tomatoes when the timing is right. I added a little bit of sugar after pureeing as it is Autumn and the tomatoes are not as sweet as in mid Summer. I love the spice kick from the chilli (but you can leave it out if you are not a fan of spicy heat).

Similar recipes include Potato Gratin with Cream, Sweet Potato Gratin, and Cheesy Baked Aubergines.

Browse all of our Zucchini dishes and our Gratins. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Green Bean Salad | Insalata di Fagiolini

Equally good hot or cold, this Green Bean Salad is sure to become a favourite. Simple and easy (very much my kind of food), the beans are steamed and then mixed with mint, garlic and lemon. Take it straight to the table for an instant salad, entree/starter or snack. With some crusty bread, it can even become a light lunch.

Similar dishes include Green Beans with Tomatoes, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal.

Browse all of our Green Bean dishes and all of our Italian recipes. Our Salads are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Eat Your Greens! An easy way to include greens each day.

It is fascinating how traditional ways of composing meals have included what we now recognise as health-promoting elements. For example, the salad courses of France and the USA. And yoghurt included in every meal in parts of India. And in parts of Italy it is common to serve a green vegetable on its own as a pre-dinner course or snack.

The Italian greens course is so easy to bring together – simmer or toss some greens, dress, season, serve. It is a great practice – why not try it this month, for the whole month?

Similar recipes include Every Meal some Simple Greens, Steamed Mustard Greens with Mushrooms, and Puree of Greens.

Browse all of our Salad recipes and all of our Spinach dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Dried Fava Beans with Garlic | Ful Bit-Tewm

This is a dish that is made in Spring in Malta and the Middle East with fresh broad beans. For  the rest of the year it is made with dried broad beans. There are two types of dried broad beans (generally called dried Fava beans). The first, commonly available here, are large, darker coloured beans. Huge, really. They are not peeled, so require soaking and peeling before cooking. Despite the work, I do love the intense earthy flavour of these large beans.

The second type is a more delicate dried fava bean, small in size and golden in colour. These are generally already peeled, and so less work in the kitchen before cooking. They are more difficult to find, and I had to search them out in a large Greek grocery.

Today, I am using the smaller variety, as I think that they are better suited to this dish, but note that the larger beans or fresh broad beans can also be used. It is just the cooking time that will vary.

Similar dishes include Galletti – Maltese Water Crackers, Dried Fava Bean Soup, Fava Bean Puree with Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore all of our Mid Spring dishes.

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Zucchini Carpaccio with Parmesan

Today we bring you another beautiful yet simple salad, Italian in style, featuring zucchini and parmesan. The zucchini is marinated in oil and lemon juice then placed on a bed of rocket with slivers of parmesan. The salad is then scattered with a toasted breadcrumb mixture of onion, olives and feta. Perfect. Easy. Delicious.

Similar recipes include Grilled Zucchini and Fennel, Zucchini, Lemon and Dill Salad, and Salad of Zucchini and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Zucchini Salads and all of our hundreds of Salads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese

This is one of the most awesome Summer Salads, and, better still, it takes just a minute to two to prepare. Of course it is awesome, it originates from the Italian island of Capri, and you can just feel the summer sea and breezes in this salad. So simple – great tomatoes, sweet basil and fresh mozzarella. In Italy it is usually served as an antipasto, not a contorno (side dish).

The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo as a light lunch for regulars. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products. Elsewhere in Italy it takes the form of just tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always only a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Vinegar is thought to destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used in Italy. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are necessary – floury tomatoes, rancid oil and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

In fact this is so good that it is worth making double the amount, and using the remainder to pile onto flatbread, garlic toast or just on slices of fresh beautiful bread. Or turn it into another classic Italian salad by adding cubes of dried or crispy baked bread.

Similar dishes include Salad of Rocket and Radicchio with Parmesan, Ensalada, and Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil

An Italian beauty – stuffed tomatoes with feta, basil, olives and wine. Stuffed tomatoes are a bit retro, yes we admit, but that does not mean that they are without flavour. Classic Italian flavours make this a great addition to our several Stuffed Tomatoes recipes.

Baked feta is a classic dish too, baked in a terracotta dish (if you have one) with olives, tomatoes and olives. A variation on this recipe is to use a vegetable – capsicums, pimentos or tomatoes, for example – to hold the feta and accompaniments as they bake. Totally delicious.

Similar recipes include Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Stuffed Tomatoes recipes  or you browse Italian recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes .

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Puree di Fava | Tuscan Broad Bean Puree

We have just a few broad beans left from our pick this week, and to shake things up a bit, I make a Tuscan Broad Bean Puree, full of butter and cream or milk. Quite decadent, but then there was only enough for both of us to snack on at afternoon tea time. Delicious! And quite different to the other purees of Broad Beans that we have made.

This is an excellent way of serving broad beans when the beans are no longer young and tender. The beans are double peeled and simmered till tender, then pureed with butter and milk or cream.

Similar recipes include Walnut and Pomegranate Dip, Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, 31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans, and Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Purees. Our Tuscan dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Minestrone alla Genovese | Genoese Minestrone with Pesto

How most excellent is pesto and its cousin pistou swirled into vegetable soups! We do it in our 13 Treasure Happiness Soup, so called because it brings a sense of joy and happiness to anyone who eats it. More correctly it is a Provencale Vegetable Soup.

Our soup today is one of the Italian ones that combines pasta and dried beans, a classic soup pairing, with vegetables. The pasta used can be Vermicelli or Maltagliati – the irregular shapes of pasta designed to go into soups. A hand made pesto crowns the soup and is swirled through the soup before eating – a process that adds to the joy of hot soup on a cold day.

Similar Soups include 31 Soups for Winter, 13 Treasure Happiness Soup, and Chickpea and Butterbean Noodle Soup.

Browse our Minestrone Soups and all of our Soups. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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