Finding a solid everyday cookbook is no easy task. Throw in the "healthy" factor, and it becomes harder than getting "Party in the USA" out of your head after your fiancé listens to it six times on repeat. Don't ask me how I know that.
Cook's Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipe is my personal favorite, and I'm slowly, finally getting into How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Betty Crocker will always have a place on the bookshelf, and if you halve the oil in all of Ina Garten's recipes, her tomes suddenly become super useful for weeknights.
Now, thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library (R.I.P.?), I think we might have a new contender. Simple Suppers was released by the Moosewood collective back in 2005. The recipes are largely vegetarian, with a chapter of fish dishes thrown in for glorious, protein-y variety. So far, its offerings are three for three in my kitchen, and none have taken advanced skills or inordinately long amounts of time.
White Bean and Mushroom Ragout is the latest experiment, and it's a huge win. Made almost entirely out of pantry ingredients, the dish is the perfect antidote for those evenings when you're thiiiiis close to ordering takeout. It's filling and surprisingly complex flavor-wise, too, and you can spoon it over egg noodles, orzo, or polenta, as seen here.
If these first few forays are any indication, you can expect to see more from Simple Suppers in this column over the next few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy your Monday supper.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups onions, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, rosemary, or sage
- 8 to 10 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini or small white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Polenta (optional)
- Grated parmesan (optional, but suggested)
In a large skillet, warm oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and herbs. Salt lightly. Cover. Saute 8 to 10 minutes, until onions are soft. Add mushrooms and wine. Cover. Cook 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally, until a little of the juice has evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste
Serve over polenta, with parmesan if you like.