ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Foodie Friday~ Cannelini and Wild Mushroom Cream Soup with Pesto Mascarpone

It's my baby's birthday!!!

This morning at 5 a.m., this is what I was looking at...

and I didn't mind at all.

I have an amazing 12 year old (as of today)

When his brother and sister tried to convince him that Middle Schoolers do NOT have their moms bring in birthday cupcakes (SO not cool), he shrugged and said "I love Mom's cupcakes and my teacher said I could:.

So there.

He doesn't care at all what others think and is RARELY embarrassed. 

I hope that lasts through the teenage years. 
He's funny, smart, funny, CUTE, and did I mention funny??

And very COOL

Happy Birthday Tim!!

We love you!!

Timmy wants pizza for dinner, so pizza we shall have. Last night however, Mom wanted some soup. I will warn you ahead of time- though this soup contains no cream, it "feels" amazingly rich, so you might want to keep the initial portions smaller. The texture is liquid silk- very smooth with a melt-in-your-mouth kind of creaminess. The original recipe was from Fine Cooking a few years ago, but it's been tweaked and I really don't remember the original.

Cannelini and Wild Mushroom Cream Soup with Pesto Mascarpone

1 TBLSP fennel seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
sprig of fresh rosemary
1 small dried hot pepper or 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium onion- chopped
1/2 small fennel bulb- chopped
1 TBLSP thyme leaves
2 cups dried cannellini beans- cleaned and rinsed
6 cups water
6 cups chicken broth (or you may use all water or water with just a bit of white wine)
Kosher salt
1/2 cup mascarpone blended with 1/2 shallot (chopped) and either some chopped chives or a small spoonful of pesto
8 ounces of wild mushrooms- trimmed and sliced thin
2 TBLSP olive oil
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
Before you start, take the pot you will use to make the soup in and trace the diameter of the pot on a sheet of parchment. Cut it out and set aside.
In a small hot skillet, toast fennel seeds for a few minutes till starting to color golden. Crush in a mortar and pestle.
Heat olive oil in a large pan- when hot, throw in pepper and leaves from rosemary stem. Toss in hot oil for a minute, then add onion, fennel, fennel seeds, and thyme. Saute till onions and fennel soften. Add beans and stir to heat and coat for 2-3 minutes. Add water and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover beans with parchment round- this will keep them submerged. Cover pot partially and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 1/2 TBLSP salt, recover and simmer another 1 1/2 hours.
       Strain soup through a mesh strainer, reserving liquid. Put half of bean solid mixture in blender and add about 1/2 cup of the liquid. Blend on low to puree, then on medium till very smooth. As you’re blending, add just enough liquid to bring the soup to the consistency of heavy cream. Pour soup into another pot and puree second half the same way. This soup will thicken as it stands, so be sure to save any leftover liquid (if there is any) to thin it out (or use water or broth). Taste soup for seasoning- add salt and pepper if necessary- and keep warm.
In a cast iron skillet, heat remaining 2 TBLSP olive oil till hot over medium high heat. Toss in mushrooms, toss and saute till the mushrooms are a bit crisp. Toss thyme leaves and parsley with mushrooms.
Serve soup with a dollop of mascarpone and mushrooms sprinkled on top. 

We'd also like to link up this week to The Cookie Exchange at Relatively Unique

Wendy and Tony are actually moving into their new home today (I'm SO jealous!!!), but she's planning on going ahead with the cookie party! Now THAT'S a foodie!!

These cookies came about when I was looking for a way to use a few pieces of crystallized ginger I had left. The original recipe has been adapted from one found in Ultimate Desserts and calls for seedless raspberry jam. I used my homemade ginger pear preserves (I mashed the chunks of fruit) and topped the ganache with slivers of the crystallized ginger.
This was a rousing success

Ginger Pear Ganache Filled Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 heaping tablespoon Ginger Pear Preserves

a few pieces of crystallized ginger, slivered
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine shortening and butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the chocolate pieces.
 Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 1-1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indention in the center of each cookie.
 Bake for 10-11 minutes or until edges are firm. remove from oven. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
 In a small microwave-safe bowl combine dark chocolate, whipping cream, and raspberry jam. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Let stand about 15 minutes to thicken.
 Spoon  Ganache into cookie centers. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Let stand until ganache is set. Store filled cookies in refrigerator.

Come join us at Designs by Gollum for Blogland's favorite and most delicious party~ Foodie Friday

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. Happy Birthday to Tim..he's a handsome guy! You are such an awesome mom to make his class the cupcakes! Love the recipes here..the cookies looks so so good! :D

  2. Happy Bday Tim! Wow, in another life I want you to be my mom Pattie. :) Everything looks great. I am so glad I found your blog last week. You are my new foodie hero! Angie

  3. Happy Birthday to your Tim! Twelve is a fun age! Love the cookies. Joni

  4. Pattie,
    Your son Tim is just adorable. Happy Birthday Tim!!!!!
    Your soup sound fabulous! There are some unusual but delicious sounding ingredients that I would not think of putting in cream of mushroom soup. Wow! I'm going to have to make this. So intriguing!
    Have a wonderful time celebrating Tim!

  5. I guess now that he is a young man he is Tim and not Timmy (except to you :). He is so adorable...ahmmm...excuse me, handsome. You can't let him read that! :) That is some cupcake holder!!! I am covetous :) The fennel in the soup is interesting. I have never really cooked with fennel. Hope things are better with Allie!

  6. What great times! My youngest just turned 27 on September 5! She isn't shy either and I think I may have a similar guitar strumming photo with a top on, of course ;)

    Happy Birthday to Tim and I'll have a cup of that delicious soup!

  7. I'm not sure I even know the cannelini bean but the soup looks amazing!

  8. What a day! You are amazing to get a post out on top of everything else! The cupcakes look fabulous. Wherever did you get those fantastic trays to transport them in. Happy birthday to Tim. They go from 12 to out of the house in the blink of an eye. Enjoy it.

    This soup sounds so fantastic. I just crave soup and fresh homemade bread once the weather cools. Even though I am an island girl at heart, I do love the change in seasons that signal a change in my cooking. Thanks for sharing your fun family with us! Lots of Love!

  9. Fabulous looking soup, cupcakes and cookies! So much goodness! Not the least that handsome son of yours. Happy Birthday to him! xxoo

  10. I have just found you... a cucina I could sit feel comfortable in!
    A friday's favorite for sure :-)
    Come join the linky party~

  11. I know Tim must have had a very happy birthday! Those cupcakes look so good!

  12. Happy Birthday! Oh boy does this look good! What time is the party? :)

  13. Happy birthday little Bramasole. I am sure your birthday was special Tim. Love the soup too mom:D

  14. So Yummy! Everything looks delish!

    I have a New Giveaway from the French Basketeer that I think you will love!

    Art by Karena

  15. Happy birthday to your sweet Timmy! I think it's great that he still wants you to bake cupcakes to share at school. I would definitely say yes if a child asked if he could bring in a treat to share. Maybe I should drop a hint to all of my classes!

  16. Happy Birthday Tim! Sounds like a great day and I am sure the kids (and the teacher) loved your cookies! They look so good!
    Thank you for joining in on the party, those cookies look delicious! Chocolate is a family favorite here.
    Moving is going good. So tired. Thanks again for being a good friend :)

  17. Happy Birthday to your adorable son...he looks like he loves life too!The cupcakes where gorgeous and soup as well. Have great celebration weekend.Emelia

  18. What a gorgeous soup! I really have to try this. I hope you birthday boys has a great day. Blessings...Mary

  19. You always come up with such great recipes... marscarpone and soup is a winning combination!


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