Saturday, December 3, 2011

Menu- Ribollita and Pizzas with Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese & Prosciutto

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm introducing my very first full menu! AAAAAH! I don't know why, but I'm kind of nervous. What if some of you actually make this meal for a dinner party? Really, you should 'cause it's delicious. I tried it out on friends this week and they confirmed. (Thank you, Klysta and Dave, for being my test subjects!) But still... I have first-date jitters! Here's to a good first impression so you'll go out with me again.

We're doing Italian!
Appetizers: Blue Cheese Baguette Spread and Sliced Pears
Main Dish: Ribollita
Side Dish #1: Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, & Prosciutto Pizzas
Side Dish #2: Red Grape Caesar Salad
Dessert: Amaretto Pound Cake a la Mode

Here's what I love about this menu:
  • Making ribolitta and this pizza was the first cooking I ever did for Shawn when we were dating.
  • Winter doesn't yield a lot of fresh produce, but you'd never know it by tasting all the rich flavor combinations in this menu. 
  • It's warm and filling- exactly what you want on a cold Winter night. 
  • Considering it's a full-course meal, it's affordable. You won't break the bank, even if you're hosting a table full of friends.
  • It's very easy to adjust to make it vegetarian! 
K, let's get to it. Today I'll give you the recipe for the main course and the rest will come over the next several days.
Serves 8
Total Time: 35-45 min

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 15-ounce cans white beans, such as cannellini, Great Northern, or navy beans, drained and rinsed (I use a combo of G.N. and navy)
8 cups chicken stock or broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups day-old sourdough bread cubes, without crusts
freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-medium low heat. Add the pancetta and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7-10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and bayleaf, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste, stir, cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove lid and stir in bread. Let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes, allowing the bread to break down and soup to thicken. (It's meant to be a thick soup, but you can adjust the thickness to your liking, adding more bread or broth as desired.) Season to taste. (I mean it! Don't wait 'til you're all eating to realize you should have added more salt and pepper!) Dish into bowls and top with Parmesan.

Sweet Kate "helping" mom with the props. :)


  1. This looks great! Seems fairly easy and quick too!

  2. I love this blog! Thinking of what to serve is the most stressful part of hosting!

  3. Janna,

    I made the Ribolitta last night for supper. HUGE hit with Amber and Jaxin (2), Landin(5) was in a mood and refused to admit he liked it... Very easy and inexspensive to prepare and deff hit the spot on a cold winter night. Looking forward to the next eats and beats recipe I can steal!


    1. I'm so, so thrilled you liked it! This is one of the few recipes that's truly mine, so I'm extra happy it went over well with.. almost everyone. lol Landin sounds like he was having a fun night. :) Thanks for coming back to report on the success!