Chicken Soup with Basil Pesto Pasta

Made from ingredients that were on hand rather than from a recipe.

Dried pasta filled with basil pesto, celery, onions and carrots, olive oil, home made chicken stock (see previous post), rapini, Italian herbs with red and black pepper, some of our previously put by dried tomatoes, garlic and 1/2 roast chicken.  Mise en place.

Pull the meat and skin from the bones. Toss the bones into the cannister along with the onion and celery ends and freeze as stock-starter for next time.

Cut the meat into spoon sized pieces.  I prefer to use both white and dark meat in chicken soup.

Bring the stock to a slow boil and skim away any scum with the edge of a ladle.

Add the chopped, dried tomatoes first, as they need a full 30 minutes to reclaim their previously toothsome goodness.

After about 10 minutes, add the pasta which needs an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the vegetables and herbs in olive oil until just underdone.  Cooking the vegetables first ensures that they will stay suspended in the stock rather than all floating to the top. Transfer the vegetables to the soup pot and simmer until done, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the chicken and rapini and simmer until chicken is heated throughout and rapini is tender, about 5 more minutes.

Serve topped with a little Italian cheese if you like.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Salmon Casserole (favorite)

High quality, wild pink salmon, whole milk, butter, french roll, lemon, salt & pepper, asiago cheese, celery, roasted red peppers, pasta, fresh dill and white wine.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, leaving slightly under done. Rinse, drain and set aside. Simmer milk well seasoned with salt, pepper and white wine until reduced to the consistency of cream.  Add dill and remove from heat.

Drain and flake the salmon and add the vegetables, lemon zest with a little juice, 2/3 of the bread crumbs and cheese and fold in the white sauce.

Turn mixture into a buttered casserole, top with the remaining bread crumbs, cheese and a little smoked paprika and bake at 350 until the sides are bubbly and the topping is nicely browned, about 30 minutes.  Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ –