Friday, February 18, 2011

Recipe: Italian Soup & French Bread

I have wanted to make my own French bread for a while now. Oh-Em-Gee, it is so good! There are few things better than a warm piece of bread right out of the oven.

Italian Pasta & Bean Soup (adapted from a recipe passed along at a women's group at church)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni, uncooked
15 oz can of cannelloni beans, drained & rinsed
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 tbsp dried parsley
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Add beans and tomatoes and cook until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Remember to cover any leftover. I left the pot to cool before putting it in storage containers and it lost a lot of the moisture. This recipe is halved from the original, except the tomatoes (because it's hard to only use 1/2 can of tomatoes. There were too many tomatoes and not enough pasta. I would have also liked some more veggies, maybe squash or eggplant or zucchini. 

French Bread (from French Bread 2 from
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp active, dry yeast
1 egg
1 tbsp water
2 tsp sesame seeds

Combine water, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in a bread machine. My bread machine requires liquid ingredient first, then solid and yeast last. Select the dough setting. Dough takes 90 minutes on my machine. 

When the cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. With a rolling pin, roll into 10 inch by 8 inch rectangles. Roll up jelly-roll style and pinch seams to seal. I didn't know what jelly-roll style meant, so I looked up a YouTube video of how to make French bread. It is too hard to explain and I didn't save the link, so that is what I suggest you do. Place loaves seam side down on a greased pan. Cover and let rise on a warm heating pad until doubled, about 20 minutes.

Whisk egg and water. Brush over loaves. Make 4 shallow slashes with a knife across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. I made 1 loaf with sesame seeds and 1 without. I preferred the one with the sesame seeds. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Try to not burn your mouth as you tear into the fluffy deliciousness of freshly baked bread.

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