NABC8 We have been all consumed by the NABC8 , live streaming the first few days of the event and then visiting the show over the week end.
They had 6-horse, 4-horse and team hitches, halter competitions and more!
Now that we are back it is time to refocus, and get ready for winter.
We picked up an additional 250 bales of hay , yesterday and have the hay trailer filled to its Max.
The pig has been relocated to the butcher , and the new door is on order for the new equipment barn.
Now to fill the freezer.
This week I am cooking 4 huge chickens and making double batches of soups and stocks.
Next week end the team is doing hay / wagon rides for a private party and when we return home we will enjoy Lasagna Soup with Ricotta and Basil
This comforting Sunday soup has all of the great flavors of lasagna—including Italian sausage ( I will be using pork), ricotta cheese and basil—but because it’s a soup, it’s a bit quicker to assemble than your usual lasagna. The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, so it’s great for a warming autumn dinner, and for lunch the next day as well. Rewarm the soup in a saucepan over medium heat ( the microwave does not do it justice), adding more broth as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Lasagna Soup with Ricotta and Basil
2 cups stemmed fresh spinach
1/2 lb. fusilli pasta
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage / pork
5 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Preheat an oven to 375°F
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook just until the leaves wilt, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander, drain well and let cool on paper towels. Return the pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the fusilli and cook according to the package directions. Drain well in a colander, rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Set aside.
Using the paper towels, wrap up the spinach and squeeze out all the excess water. Chop the spinach and transfer to a bowl. Remove the sausage casings. Add the sausage and 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together until combined. Form the sausage mixture into meatballs of about 1 tsp. each, arranging them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet as you work. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes with their juices, and tomato paste. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the broth thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs and pasta and cook just until warmed through, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 3 Tbs. Parmesan. Stir in the basil and season with pepper.
Ladle into shallow bowls and top with a generous dollop of the ricotta mixture. Bob requires a loaf of crusty bread with this! Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6
The most important thing, though, is that it's big enough to hold all your cheese, small enough to fit in your fridge, and not so much of an eyesore that you can't put it on the table.
This goes on the table as I start production so Bob can nibble, while he waits.
2. The addition (return) of Soup and Bread night and/ or crock pot night.
This is a quick and easy soup, that is hearty enough for Bob.
Pork Sausage and Tortellini Soup
Serves 2 for dinner plus leftovers
Neutral cooking oil, such as canola 1 pound (bulk hot or mild Italian) sausage, I will be using home made pork sausage. 1 small yellow onion, chopped 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced 1/2 chicken stock (or dry red wine if you can get it past your husband) 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Parmesan rind (or a small hunk of cheese), optional 1 (9- or 12-ounce package) fresh or frozen tortellini (see Recipe Notes) 2 cups roughly chopped spinach
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste
Shaved Parmesan and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Drizzle a tablespoon or two of oil into a large Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat until shimmery and sizzling hot. Add the Italian sausage (do not break it up yet) and sear until golden-brown on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and sear the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Once the sausage is lightly browned on both sides, start aggressively breaking it up with wooden spoon. (The goal is to get some delicious caramelization in the bottom of the pan as opposed to just steaming the ground meat in its own liquids.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to another bowl, leaving the fat in the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and a big pinch of salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds, just until you start to smell its aroma. Add the red wine and increase the temperature to high. Allow the liquid to cook out at a raucous boil, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to release any delicious brown bits as it bubbles.
Add the canned tomatoes and juices to the pot. Then use kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Add the chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, Parmesan rind, and cooked sausage. Season with kosher salt — start with about a 1/4 teaspoon — and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the tortellini. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tortellini is warmed through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the spinach to the pot and stir until wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Remove Parmesan rind if used.) Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and a dusting of shaved Parmesan.
For an easy side, use any leftover spinach to make a salad with your favorite vinaigrette, and add crusty bread for dipping.
Leftovers keep getting better; reheat with additional chicken stock or water, as needed.
I buy fresh tortellini from the refrigerated section at my grocery store. I've used all the different fillings (four cheese, prosciutto, etc.) and like them all.
Making tortellini is fun and cost effective, but not for work nights.