Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Ratatouille di Fagiolini (Ratatouille of French Beans)

May 13, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

Ratatouille di Fagiolini (Ratatouille of French Beans)

If you’re willing to sacrifice a glass of wine for this dish, you’ll be rewarded with a great way to serve green beans and tomatoes.

As another stage takes place in the Piedmont region, I wanted to again highlight a dish that takes advantage of the geographical and cultural region. Northern Italian cooking is influenced by the wonderful wines in the region as well as French cuisine. This ratatouille brings the best of both those worlds.

It’s a relatively easy dish to make (save prepping the beans) so you can be back to relaxing after a long bike ride in no time.

Ratatouille di Fagiolini (Ratatouille of French Beans)
adapted from Cibo che Passione

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon basil, chopped
  • 2 lbs, green beans
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • pepper
  • 14 oz tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • salt
  • 1 glass red wine

Wash and trim the green beans. Chop up the butter with the garlic, parsley and basil and put into a casserole dish.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the beans. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and pour the red wine over the mixture.

Cover and put into oven preheated to 350 degrees. Cook for 30 minutes.

Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Risotto al Barolo (Risotto with Barolo Wine)

May 12, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

Risotto al Barolo (Risotto with Barolo Wine)

Finally! We made it to Italy! We start out in the Piedmont region where the team time trial (TTT) takes place. The TTT requires heavy work which requires a heavy meal. It’s a good thing because in this region the cuisine is inspired by farmers and peasants where il vino che e pane (the wine that is bread) is nourishment for these hard working people…

Butter is preferred over olive oil due to a strong French influence while polenta and rice, highly cultivated in the Piedmont, are used much more than pasta. Meanwhile, perfumed truffles and mushrooms are featured frequently as they are found in the dark oak forests prevalent in this region. Hearty fruits and vegetables (potatoes, radicchio, cabbage and greens) grow well due to sunny days and warm nights.

I chose a hearty Risotto al Barolo as my first Italian dish as it perfectly embodies the region – it features a wine from the Piedmont region, risotto and butter. It is a warm satisfying dish after a long day of work. You could also add a few drops of truffle oil (or a few shavings of an actual truffle) if so inspired just to round out this dish.

I do know that a lot of you are intimidated by the thought of making risotto. Before you go running and screaming from your kitchen, let me give you this note: Risotto is honestly very easy to make (you just don’t have to reveal this fun fact to the people you are serving.) My preferred method for cooking risotto is different than in this recipe which requires you to simmer the risotto first, drain, then gradually add liquid. My method is the “add liquid a little at a time and don’t stir so often” method. Either way works just fine, I’m just partial to my way. Why? Megabeth prerogative, that’s why.  (If you want to use my method, read my post entitled:  “Risotto: It’s Not That Hard to Make.“) If you use this recipe’s method, be sure to reserve some extra of the vegetable broth you simmer the risotto in. I found that I needed to add more liquid towards the end to soften up the risotto even after adding the wine.

Risotto Al Barolo (Risotto with Barolo)
adapted from The Good Food of Italy

4 cups light vegetable stock
1 2/3 cups Arborrio rice
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 Tablespoons butter
About 1 1/4 cups Barolo or other good red wine
Grated parmesan

Bring the stock to the boil, add the rice, season with salt and pepper.

Simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then drain. (Note: Reserve some of the vegetable stock in case you need to add more liquid to the risotto later.)

In the meantime, in another large saucepan, fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until soft and transparent, add the rice.

Pour in the wine a little at a time, and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the rice is tender. (Note: Add some of your reserved vegetable stock, little by little, if the rice has not cooked all the way through.) The risotto should be moist and creamy. Stir in the rest of the butter and let it melt in.

Sprinkle in some parmesean and stir until it is melted and creamy. Sprinkle additional cheese on top when serving.

Cycling photo copyrighted. Used with permission.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Tempeh au Vin (aka Vegetarian Coq au Vin)

July 10, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Culinary Tour de France, Main Dishes

It’s Friday and it’s time to bring back a recipe that I’ve done previously because it fits perfectly in the Culinary Tour de France – “Coq au Vin”. Get ready to sacrifice a bottle of wine for this recipe. (It’s ok, cyclists sacrifice bottles of champagne all the time at the end of the race. At least you don’t have to get sprayed in the face with the wine!)

Check out the recipe and details here!

(Photo Courtesy Mark Blacknell. Used with Permission.)

Tempeh au Vin (aka Vegetarian Coq au Vin)

January 27, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Try this recipe if you have a bottle of wine to spare and more that two hours to let something simmer. The result is a rich, wine soaked, plate of goodness. It’s hard to put the fork down but don’t worry, this recipe makes A LOT.

It has been noted by my in-house taste tester that all the items in this dish take on a strong burgundy color.  So, he suggested serving it with other different color items (say a green salad) for a “pleasing color palette”.

Tempeh au Vin
Vegetarian Times, February 2009 issue

2 T olive oil, divided
3 small leeks, white and light green parts cut into 1-inch-thick rounds (1 1/2 cups)
2 small onions, cut into chunks (1 1/2 cups)
1 lb white button mushrooms, halved (4 cups)
3 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 8-z pkg. tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 smoky tempeh strips, such as Lightlife, chopped (1/2 package)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (1 T)
3 T all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 bottle medium-bodied red wine, such as Syrah or Beaujolais (Yes, that’s one BOTTLE.)
4 springs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups spelt berries

Heat 1 T oil in Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and onions, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.

tempeh au vin

Stir in mushrooms, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until mushrooms brown and most of their juice has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

tempeh au vin

Add carrots, tempeh cubes, smoky tempeh strips, garlic, and flour and stir to coat vegetables with flour. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until Fragrant.

tempeh au vin

tempeh au vin

2. Stir in wine and 3 cups water. Add thyme and bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until carrots are tender and sauce has thickened.

tempeh au vin

tempeh au vin

3. Meanwhile, cook spelt berries in 6 cups water 1 1/2 hours, or until soft like rice. Drain. (I actually soaked spelt for 30 minutes before putting it into the water. I soaked the spelt while cutting the vegetables.  Bring water to a boil and cook until tender.)



4. Remove tempeh mixture from heat, and stir in remaining 1 T oil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve with spelt berries. (Use a slotted spoon to transfer onto a plate so that the liquid is drained off…)

tempeh au vin

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