Monday, March 2, 2009

Caprese Panini and Super Fast Tomato Soup

Tonight I made a very fast and yummy tomato soup that has white beans and ditalini pasta in it. I also made a delicious panini with tomato, eggplant, mozzarella and parsley pesto.

For the Paninis
4 slices of Whole grain bread
4 slices of tomato
4 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
4 slices of eggplant
parsley pesto (see my recipe on a previous post or use store bought, any flavor you like)

First, slice the eggplant about a 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle with olive oil; salt and pepper. Place in a preheated non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook on both sides until golden brown and the eggplant has soften.

To build the sandwiches. Lightly drizzle each slice of bread with olive oil. Turn over. On the bottom slice, place the mozzarella, then the tomato, then the eggplant. On the top slice of bread, opposite side of the oil, spread a thin, even layer of pesto. Place pesto side down on top of the eggplant. Move the sandwiches to a preheated panini press and close the top, pressing down ever so slightly. (Or if you don't have a panini press, use a skillet turning the sandwich over once and weighing it down with another heavy skillet or pan.)

I had leftover pesto, which I am going to use tomorrow on a pizza. I also had leftover eggplant, which I am thinking about making into baba ganoush (a dip similar to hummus.) Stay tuned!

For the Quick Tomato Soup
This soup recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (26-ounce) jar of marinara sauce
2 (14-ounce) cans of chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup ditalini pasta (or other small shape)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion and garlic, saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

How fast and simple is that? And it is so tasty and the beans and pasta make it rather hearty. Plus, I already had a ton of marinara sauce in my freezer, (see Holy Marinara! post) so I was able to skip the first step since the sauce already has onions, carrots and garlic in it. I just pulled out one of my freezer bags of marinara this morning to defrost and I was ready to go when I got home from work. Just poured the sauce and chicken broth into the pot, brought it to a simmer and added the rest of the ingredients. Ten minutes later the soup was finished!

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