Friday, August 22, 2008

Rustic Tuscan Stew

Nothing like comfort food on a cool, drizzly day. Especially comfort food that only takes about 30 minutes to prepare and costs just pennies per serving. You'd never guess, though, because this is one delicious stew, and I call it

Rustic Tuscan Stew

Olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch (or more) hot pepper flakes
1/2 c. white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
2 c. low sodium chicken stock
1 (28-oz.) can whole tomatoes
2 (15.5-oz.) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, or 1 T. dried basil (or more to taste)
4 c. tightly packed spinach leaves
1 piece parmesan rind, about 1 inch x 3 inches (or handful of grated parmesan)

In a deep saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and hot pepper flakes and saute until just becoming tender (do not brown). Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add chicken broth, chick peas, dried basil (if using) and parmesan rind (if using) and bring to a simmer.

Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and break them up with your fingers. Pour the tomatoes and their juice into the stew. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir in fresh basil, spinach, and grated parmesan if you didn't use the rind. Stir until greens are limp. Remove from heat, spoon out the cheese rind, and serve the stew. I suppose you could add salt and pepper, but I don't think it needs that. The cheese adds a good bit of saltiness to the stew.

Bon App├ętit!
Chef Debbie

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