WHITE BEAN, KALE AND SAUSAGE STEW
1 lb kale (can substitute mustard greens or Swiss chard), center ribs and stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb Italian sweet sausage (can omit for vegetarian dish)
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable stock
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, parsley and chives
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook kale in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and cool under cool water.Drain and squeeze out excess water. Coarsely chop kale.
Heat olive oil in a 5 quart or larger Le Creuset or other heavy Dutch style oven. Cook sausage until browned all over. Remove and cut into pieces.
Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic to remaining fat in the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Add white wine and simmer until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Add white beans, broth, thyme sprigs and bay leaf to pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add kale and cook 5 minutes longer. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Mix in Balsamic vinegar and chopped fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
CHOCOLATE AMARETTI TORTE
Makes 8-12 servings
10 imported Amaretti Biscuits
4 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
½ cup all purpose flour
Whipped Cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Butter and flour the parchment, shaking out the excess flour.
Break up the Amaretti cookies in a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate on medium power in the microwave oven or carefully in the top of a double boiler pan. Let cool.
Beat the butter in a mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually add sugar until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add flour gradually, alternating with Amaretti crumbs, beating well after each addition. Fold in chocolate until combined.
Beat egg whites in a clean mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold whites carefully into chocolate batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream if desired.