Saturday, January 4, 2014

Vegetable Stew (Giambotta)

I think I originally saw Rachael Ray cook this vegetable stew on her show several years ago, and have made it several times since. It is vegetarian, which I usually don't do, especially for dinner, but this one is so filling because of the amount of vegetables in it, and it is so delicious! Comfort food for sure, for those cold, winter evenings! I think another selling point is that you are suppose to serve it with crusty French bread cooked under the broiler with garlic and parmesan. It doesn't get much better than that, right?
I have been suffering from gallbladder attacks lately, and one way to dissolve the gallstones is to eat clean, eliminating fatty foods from your diet and adding in lots of healthy, fresh foods and increasing your water intake. I haven't been completely faithful to all of that, but I have definitely been adding in lots of fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, and lemon water. So that is why I wanted to make this soup again. And don't be too scared by the amount of vegetables, it truly is so delicious!! And since there are so many, you stand by your stock pot and throw in the veggies as you chop, starting with the veggies that take the longest to cook, and so forth. So, happy winter cooking!!

Vegetable Stew (Giambotta)
Rachael Ray, The Food Network

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
3 cloves garlic, 2 whole, 1 cracked from skin
2 onions, sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 eggplant, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 (28 oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup stock, chicken or vegetable (I used one whole box of chicken stock)
1/2 cup torn or chopped basil (10-12 leaves) (I used some dried basil and just sprinkled it in)
4 (1-inch thick) slices crusty whole-grain bread
1/2 cup grated pecorino (I used grated parmesan)

Preheat the broiler. Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, bay leaf, chopped garlic and onions, and let them sweat while you prepare the other veggies.  Work right next to the stove, and drop as you chop, in order of longest cooking time: potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and add tomatoes and stock, and cook 5 minutes more, to heat through. Turn heat off and add basil.

Next, char the bread under the broiler and rub with cracked garlic, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with cheese and pepper, and return to the broiler for 30 seconds to brown the cheese. Serve the toasts with the vegetable stew!!


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