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Italian Vegetable Stew

(Serves 4)
Italian Vegetable Stew
Italian Vegetable Stew
Ingredients:

1/2 medium fennel bulb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
25 baby carrots
1-1/2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Grated Parmesan cheese


Directions:

Trim the stems and fronds from the fennel and trim a thin slice from the base
of the bulb. Cut the bulb in half and remove the triangular piece of core from
each half.  Slice each fennel half crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Set    
aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and
sauté until golden, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, season with salt and
pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Add the fennel and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.  Add the broth and
carrots; bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the green beans and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in the peas and
cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.  Stir in the butter until it completely melts and
the sauce thickens a little.  Check for seasoning.  Ladle the stew over
mashed potatoes or polenta in shallow bowls.  Serve with grated Parmesan
passed at the table.


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

6-8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
3-4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place the garlic cloves on a small square
of aluminum foil; wrap the foil around the cloves. Place in the oven and roast
for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender and golden brown. Squeeze to remove the
garlic cloves from their skins and place in a small bowl. Using a fork, mash
the garlic until smooth.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until fork tender, about
12 to 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and drain.

Place the potatoes back in the pot and return to the heat. Stir the potatoes for
1 to 2 minutes to dehydrate them. Remove the potatoes from the heat.
Add the garlic and butter. Using a hand-held masher, mash the butter and
garlic into the potatoes. Add enough milk until desired texture is achieved.
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
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This stew is perfect for a chilly autumn or winter evening.  The vegetables are added
at different times since some need longer to cook than others; the broth thickens as
the vegetables soften.  A small amount of butter is stirred into the stew at the end to
thicken the sauce even further.  The stew can be served with a crusty bread to soak
up  the juices or over Garlic Mashed Potatoes or soft polenta.
 
VEGETABLE AND VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES  >  ITALIAN VEGETABLE STEW
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