The Italian Slow Cooker cookbook, by Michele Sciolone, is my latest library checkout and what a hit it’s been.
You can recreate traditional Italian dishes, soups and desserts in a crock pot – perfect for anyone with a busy schedule. Michele Sciolone is the author of many cookbooks, a cooking instructor and an Italian culinary tour guide.
The recipes in this book are intended for slow cookers with a 5 to 7 quart capacity. If you are a household of two, as we are about to be, the extras may be frozen for a quick dish later on.
We tried Chicken and Orzo Soup
8 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 medium celery ribs, chopped
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½ inch chunks **
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 cup orzo (or another pasta you like)
1 cup thawed frozen peas
Salt and pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
**NOTE: I am not a fan of the breast meat as it tends to dry out too quickly for me. I used chicken thigh meat – wonderful choice!
In slow cooker. Combine brother, onion, carrot and celery. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
Add chicken, zucchini, orzo and peas. Cook for 30 minutes or until orzo is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and serve!
I halved the ingredients because it's just the two of us…..Tristan ate one bowl, but the rest came to work for our lunch.
The orzo cooked in the slow cooker was incredibly tender and fluffed up. It was like having tiny dumplings…must be the lengthy (and low heat) cooking process from using a slow cooker. You’ll be amazed if you cook orzo this way – promise!
Mushroom Soup with Marsala
An elegant soup for company or just a family serving prior to placing a roast beef dinner on your table
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 ½ cups beef broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup Marsala
¾ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Place dried porcini in a bowl with hot water. Let stand for 30 minutes. Lift porcini out of water and squeeze to extract juice. Save the water and filter through a coffee filter if it seems gritty. Set water aside, chop porcinis.
Melt butter in a skillet – then add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally until tender (about 10 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Scrape the mixture into a slow cooker.
Add porcini, the soaking liquid, button mushrooms, broth, water, thyme and tomato paste. Cover and cook on low
6 to 8 hours. Just before serving stir in Marsala and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
A nice winter soup – warm the bones.
I will be linking this up to Brenda’s Cookbook Sunday series and Pasta Presto Nights! Fun blogs, both of them…go check them out and better yet, join in the fun with a dish of your own.
This is definitely one I will send to Presto Pasta Nights (that orzo...Mmmmm)
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