25 May 2015

Giada's Hearty Italian Stew - IHCC's Potluck and Projects

So often, these days, my life revolves around my current sewing project. For whatever reason, sewing has begun to take a more important role in my creative life. I've been sewing to complete a quilting legacy project that I've had in mind for my children and nieces and nephews, but also for different charitable projects that I wish to support. Sewing takes a lot of time, folks ... so I have found myself looking for easy dinner recipes that give SB and I some leftovers for lunches. I've also been using simpler one dish meals that can be knoshed at our spots on the couch or in front of a baseball game or out at the table on the back porch. I'm not sure how SB feels about this departure from our usual formal dining table/candle light experience. He's pretty supportive, though, when I spread a new quilt out before him and ask his opinion or gush at the results.

This weekend, I'm sewing the border on a queen sized quilt that came back from my friend, Susan's long-arm machine. SB took off for a few days to do trail work up on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. It is the perfect time for me to make a simple stew, spread the quilt over the dining room table where it can remain for the three or four days that it will take for me to hand stitch around the edges.  I can eat leftovers and concentrate on finishing this big project.  I looked around on Giada De Laurentiis' website and found a simple pan of stew that smacks of comfort food.

Starting with a rough chop of carrots, celery, and sweet onion, simple chicken legs get a sear, then tomatoes, white beans (a change from red kidney beans, as I had none in my pantry), some white wine, tomato paste, herbs, and chicken broth. This simmered for an hour or so, and then I set a single place on the back porch, rested my fingers and eyes from stitching, and ate a satisfying bowl of chicken and bean stew.

I could have eaten this stew by itself, but some papparadelle rounded out the dish and soaked up the sauce so beautifully. I do love my pasta ....

Giada's Classic Italian Stew
adapted just a little

Serves 2


4 chicken legs
3 stalks celery, rough chop
2 carrots, peeled, rough chop
1 c. sweet white onion, rough chop
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
a pinch of dried thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. dry white wine
1- 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
1 3/4 c. strong chicken broth
2 heaping tbsp. tomato paste
1- 14 oz. can white beans (or band of your choice - red kidneys or cannellini are good choices)
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped or a generous sprinkle of dried basil

For serving:

grated parmesan for sprinkling
boiled papparadelle noodles

Making the Dish:

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven pan. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook over medium-high heat until they glisten.

2. Sweep the veg aside and lay the chicken legs in the hot pan, sear to brown them on all sides. Just before the chicken is all golden, add the garlic and stir it in. Only cook the garlic for a minute or so.

3. When the chicken is golden on all sides, add the white wine and scrap the bits from the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth and bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, and basil. Stir to incorporate the ingredients into a sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for several minutes .

5. When the pan has cooled a bit and the sauce is at a nice low simmer, add the beans. Cover the pan again and simmer the stew for about half an hour.

6. Just before serving, you may add more fresh basil leaves for aesthetics.

7. Boil the noodles, drain them and place a mound in the bottom of a pasta bowl, spoon the bean stew over top and add a chicken leg to the side. Sprinkle on the cheese and serve. 

Oh, look! It's Potluck Week at the I Heart Cooking Club !


  1. ahhhhhh... I want to come stay with you. On your back porch, covered in one of your quilts and eating this stew. Seriously.

    1. You can come East any old time, Debbie! The door's always open here at the grey cottage!

  2. I like your dedication to quilt making and cooking. Amid the sewing project, you still manage to put together such a delicious stew. Good work!

  3. Such a nice post. Sounds like you had a lovely day of sewing and cooking. I would love to sit on the back porch and enjoy a plate of this (I'll take pasta too)! Looks so satisfying:)

  4. Looks delicious! Such a warm and comforting dish that is great anytime of the week!
    Lovely quilts!

  5. That looks like a good stew. Love the quilt. I used to make all my own clothes but that was before motherhood. Good luck with all your projects.

  6. That looks like the perfect dish to sustain you as you work on your beautiful quilt.

  7. How warm and welcoming does your dish look! YUM!
    I am glad we are connected through this month's IHCC May Pot Luck!

  8. That looks delicious!

    I also love your container for your scissors!

  9. I love how comforting your Italian stew looks!! This is definitely a Giada winner :) Best for a rainy day in bed.


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