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Jan 7, 2009 10:34 PM

January-February Comfort Foods

In these two cold months I love making my Italian Grandmothers favorite comfort foods that I grew up on. Pasta Fagioli, Minestra and beans, Lentil soup. Does anybody have a great comfort food recipe that they have eaten as a kid and make it themselves now? Must have nice crusty bread for mopping

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  1. How do you make your pasta fagioli? Is it without without tomatoes?

    1 Reply
    1. re: roxlet

      I think Batalis recipe is the best. Just a little tomato paste I also like the pasta mix. Italians would use up all their open boxes of pasta for this dish. Know you can buy a bag already mixed.

    2. My mom used to make a super thick Lentil stew with meatballs and rice in it. All you needed was lots of grated parm and some chunky bread. I still make it to this day.

      3 Replies
      1. re: krisrishere

        My mom's thick and spicy chili, made with venison

        Portuguese Fava Bean "Stew" (my husband is part Portuguese, so it's a staple in our house)

        My husbands Bermuda Fish Chowder with Black Rum and Sherry Peppers, it takes him two days to make it and it is worth it!

        1. re: krisrishere

          Krisr--will you post the recipe? I'm on a lentil kick.

          1. re: VAfoodie

            Italian Lentil Stew

            2 cups green lentils - simmered until tender and drained
            1 cup cooked rice
            1 pound ground beef
            1 egg, lightly beaten
            2 cloves garlic, minced
            1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
            1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
            3 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
            salt, to taste
            ground black pepper, to taste
            1 quart homemade tomato sauce
            1 quart water

            Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. In a bowl, combine the ground beef, beaten egg, garlic, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, parsley, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Form ground beef mixture into 1 inch balls. Place meatballs in skillet and cook 5 minutes or until evenly brown.
            In a large pot, bring the tomato sauce and 4 cups water to a boil. Transfer the browned meatballs to the pot. Mix in cooked lentils and rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes. The end product should be thick enough to stand a spoon up in it! Bowl up and sprinkle liberally with grated parm cheese.

            You can use your own tomato sauce recipe and your own meatball recipe if you prefer. This is one of my family's favorite recipes from my mom..I hope you like it.

        2. I make my mom's lamb shanks, basically simmered in tomatoes, and garlic, yum...

          1 Reply
          1. re: geminigirl

            Chili 'n cheesy cornbread, shepherd's pie, a big pot of sauce with meatballs and or stuffed shells.

          2. Tonnes! My dad makes this great winter vegetable stew - carrots, celery, potatoes and kale in a slightly spicy tomato base. Awesome on soft polenta. He also makes a really thick, garlicky chickpea soup.

            My mom makes some fantastic ratatouille, and vegetarian stuffed eggplant...

            1 Reply
            1. re: piccola

              Piccola - would you share the recipe for your Dad's winter stew and the chickpea soup? They both sound so good!

            2. My wife made me Arroz con Pollo last night with corn tortillas. This dish still continues to be one of my favorites.