Pasta and Summer Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nuts

July 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm (A (4 stars, love), Alma's faves, Cook's Illustrated, Italian, Monthly menu plan, Pasta, Starches, Summer recipes) ()

I made this recipe tonight and liked it so much I decided to repost it.  It was originally posted on August 17, 2006.

I’ve often tried to make this sort of light/summery pasta dish without a lot of success. Unless I use a large amount of olive oil or parmesan in the past the dish has always seemed rather bland. But this recipe is light and delicious! This is based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I cut down on oil and pasta, and increased the amounts of squash and seasonings. I give options for a number of ingredients depending on how rich, spicy, starchy etc. you want your dinner to be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Turkish Red Lentil Soup

July 20, 2009 at 1:36 am (AMA, Beans, breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Turkish)

An old recipe that was originally posted on Oct 3, 2006.

Based on a recipe from the AMA cookbook. I’ve made this soup many times. I particularly like it for breakfast. It’s pretty authentic I think, since a Turkish friend makes a very similar soup, except he fries dried mint in oil before adding it to the soup, and adds some white rice with the lentils.

Heat in a large (3-5 qt?) saucepan or Dutch oven:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil (you can probably reduce this to 1 Tbs. if you want)


  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, sliced

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 6 minutes. Add:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 Tbs sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Then stir in:

  • 5.5 cups vegetable broth (unsalted) or water and bouillon
  • 1.5 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1.5 Tbs tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are very tender and almost completely dissolved, about 30 minutes. After the lentils are cooked you’ll need to add more water (about 2 cups) to achieve the consistency of a very thick soup.

Garnish with fresh minced mint, plain yogurt, and lemon juice.

Yields about 7.5 cups?

My Notes:

I made this today but I ran out of paprika so only had about half the amount. Thes soup turned out less vibrantly red and more brownish, and was somewhat bland. I really like the yogurt in it though. Something about the combination makes even nonfat plain yogurt taste incredibly rich and sweet.

Rating: B (This is a solid recipe that I enjoy.  It’s also healthy and filling and easy to make.  However,  I wouldn’t fight for the leftovers.)

Derek: B (He enjoys it with the mint and yogurt but says it’s not terribly exciting.)

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