Linguine with Fresh Grape Tomatoes and Basil

By:  Julie

Serves: 6

Time:  20 min

My favourite smell on earth, next to my freshly-bathed baby’s hair, is basil.  It’s floral and sweet and divine.  I really could eat a plate of linguine with some basil and olive oil and call it a day, but my family would look at me funny, so to appease them, I will add something tomatoey.  This dish is super fast, fresh and delicious.  I like to use pretty multi-coloured tomatoes but whatever you have is just fine.

You Will Need

  • 1.5 lb of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb of linguine
  • 3/4 cup of basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp chile flakes (optional)

Cook the linguine according to package directions, and reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in an extra large saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes, salt, pepper and basil and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the pasta water and the linguine and toss to combine.  Top with additional basil if desired.

 

 

 

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Chickpea Caprese Salad

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By Corinne

Little tastes more like summer to me than basil. I grow a large pot of it on my deck every year, and add it to everything.

This is a twist on the classic mozza, basil, and tomato salad. The addition of chickpeas makes it perfect for a light summer meal, or a lovely side at a BBQ potluck.

You will need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • about 20 bocconcini halved (about 7 oz)
  • 2 cups of delicious tomatoes – if you are using ‘juicy’ ones, seed them first. I halved mini san marzano tomatoes because I’m a bit obsessed with them
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp to 1/4 cup of finely minced red onion- depending on the ‘power’ of your onion
  • generous handful of fresh chopped basil. If you don’t have fresh basil- make another recipe!
  • about 1/4 cup of a good balsamic or possibly a balsamic reduction
  • generous grind of black pepper
  • salt if desired, I tend not to use any when using the canned chickpeas

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Taste your red onion. Sometimes they are VERY strong, in which case, less is more so to speak. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix! Will need a quick stir up before serving.

If you are using a “regular” balsamic, you may want to add a tbsp or two of oil in order for the ‘dressing’ to be thick enough and not too vinegary. The one I used was a rather sweet and thick balsamic and I didn’t need that addition.

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B.L.T Soup

By: Julie

Time: 60 minutes – 20 min prep, 40 min cook

Serves 6

Adapted from Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic from Smitten Kitchen

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Lately I’ve been making soup out of my favourite non-soupy dishes.  BLT soup was born out of my love of hot crispy bacon, cool lettuce, and spicy sweet tomatoes.  Sadly, it’s not tomato season here, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a can of San Marzano tomatoes, picked at the perfect moment of sun-ripened goodness and packed immediately in a puree of their own yumminess.  Much better than those mushy hot-house things available for a zillion dollars a pound in the store in January, (a bit off topic but I saw a head of cauliflower for $9.99 today… needless to say it’s not in my BLT soup).

You Will Need:

  • 2 Mild Italian Sausage Links with casings removed.
  • 2 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, or diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed, or 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (that’s 1 carton)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • fresh basil and parsley for garnish (optional)

Cook

In a dutch oven, over medium heat, render the bacon until crispy and then add the sausage.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage as it cooks until it’s no longer pink and starts to brown.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pepper, and a pinch of salt.  Don’t remove any of the fat, you need it to brown the vegetables and for flavor.  This is a BLT soup after all and it needs that smokey bacon goodness.  There is already salt from the bacon and the sausage so a pinch is good enough for now.  Continue to cook until softened.

Add the lentils and stir them in, letting them soften for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, broth, water, and bay leaves.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cook uncovered until lentils are soft, about 40 min.

The soup will be thick, but trust me, it’s delicious.  See the texture in the above photo, that’s what you’re looking for.  Ladle into bowls and add a handful of spinach to each.  Stir it into the soup so it begins to wilt but will not be mushy by the time you serve.  Add a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl (be generous, this is the “mayonaise” part of the BLT and the creaminess is essential to knock this out of the park), garnish with some thai basil and some fresh parsley and enjoy.