To get us all started, here is a recipe from Rachel Ray on the Food Network. Rachel is my buddy. Well, she would be if she got to spend more time with. The 2 minutes I had with her at her book signing really wasn't enough time to be BFF. Rachel makes these dishes called "Stoups" Thicker than a soup, thinner than a stew. A Stoup.
We made this Italian Sub Stoup and it was delish! I watched her show and picked up stuff from the store, without getting the recipe. So, this is my version of Rachel Ray's Italian Sub Stoup.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
3/4 pound, Andouille sausage
1/4 pound piece stick pepperoni, diced
1 ham steak, diced (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound)
1 green bell pepper, seeded, quartered and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound gemelli pasta or other short-cut pasta
Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
Place a soup pot or deep sided skillet on the stove top and preheat to medium high heat. Add olive oil, 2 turns of the pan and the sausage. Brown and crumble the sausage, drain off excess fat if necessary then add the ham and pepperoni. Cook meats together 2 minutes then add peppers and onions and cook 2 or 3 minutes more. Add diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and bring stoup to a boil. Stir in pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Top with a handful of the Parm.
To make this more of an 'Italian Sub' stoup, Rachel makes "garlic toast floaters." Basically giant garlic croutons. Her way, I was skeptical of. You can just buy your own, serve this with a crusty loaf of bread, avoid extra carbs all together or make this version:
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
3-4 one inch slices of hearty bread, cut into cubes.
Mix together and place on a baking sheet and put in the 350 oven for 5-10 minutes, check to watch for browning, turn and continue to watch. The cubes with crisp up nicely.
In the future I'll try to make this recipe clearer, as I never wrote it down, but they were tasty!
A note on Kosher Salt:
Kosher salt is a coarse flake salt. It usually contains calcium silicate to prevent caking, but its grains are very large and coarse. Kosher salt contains no iodine. In certain recipes (and in Margaritas), Kosher salt adds a "crunchy" texture. Many chefs prefer Kosher salt for this large coarse texture. You can really feel that "pinch of salt" that a recipe asks for. The larger grains also stick really well to meats when you are preparing to cook. If you are baking, use regular table salt. It will incorporate better into your doughs.