HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

January-February Comfort Foods

Nunzio Jan 7, 2009 10:34 PM

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

  1. roxlet Jan 8, 2009 04:17 AM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: roxlet
      Nunzio Jan 8, 2009 08:16 AM

      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. krisrishere Jan 8, 2009 08:49 AM

      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
        bermudagourmetgoddess Jan 8, 2009 09:04 AM

        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
          VAfoodie Jan 11, 2009 06:51 PM

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

          1. re: VAfoodie
            krisrishere Jan 12, 2009 05:37 AM

            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. geminigirl Jan 8, 2009 04:40 PM

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: geminigirl
            kattyeyes Jan 8, 2009 05:21 PM

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

          2. p
            piccola Jan 11, 2009 05:40 PM

            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
              lovessushi Jan 11, 2009 06:32 PM

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

            2. s
              spinblue Jan 12, 2009 05:56 AM

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

              1. macca Jan 12, 2009 06:00 AM

                This time of year my crock pot gets a lot of use. Yesterday I made a beef stew. And I also made bread bowls to serve it in. So good on a cold, cnowy day. we also love pot roast, lamb shanks and all kinds of chicken soups this time of year.

                1. a
                  Analisas mom Jan 12, 2009 06:05 AM

                  I make a huge pot of homemade chillie then we use the left overs to make enchilada's and then we use it for Nacho's etc. Also Meat loaf anfd Chicken and dumplings.

                  1. m
                    morebubbles Jan 12, 2009 06:28 AM

                    I made a great French onion soup the other day, instead of white wine I used a hearty local beer - Yum! And the bread is already on the soup-how handy! :) here's a pic

                    1. Nunzio Jan 12, 2009 10:06 AM

                      I just made Marcella Hazan's chickpea soup with pasta. It tasted just like my Grandmother's. I had a nice crusty bread with seeds and some homemade wine. Perfect for a cold snowy evening. I am now looking for a good traditional pasta piselli recipe that uses tomatoes. Anybody got one?

                      1. s
                        SpareRib Jan 12, 2009 10:46 AM

                        Anything braised, especially lamb shanks and short ribs.
                        Roasted winter vegetables.
                        Leek soup, or anything with leeks in it!

                        Show Hidden Posts