Red Pepper Soup with Balsamic Reduction and Fettuccine with Chardonnay Sauce

This evening I made these 2 recipes for the family and I had to laugh. In December I purchased a subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine, because I wanted to add vegetarian dishes into our repertoire of meals. I told a co-worker, who is a vegetarian, that I subscribed and she replied, “Oh… I used to subscribe to that when I first became a vegetarian, but those recipes are very INVOLVED”. Tonight I found out what she meant by “involved”. This recipe “involved” washing a lot of pots, pans, strainers, blenders, cutting boards, knifes shall I go on? So here’s the reason I am blogging this information, should I make this meal again or for some reason someone reading this blog decides to make it, (for say, Valentine’s Day or an Anniversary) I would like to offer the following instructions on making this less “involved”.

Soup serves 8-10 (I did not double this from the original recipe)
Fettuccine serves 4 (I doubled this from the original recipe)

Balsamic Reduction:
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup agave nectar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced (1½ cup)
½ medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
1 Yukon Gold potato (1½ cup)
1 large shallot, diced (½ cup)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 large red bell peppers, dice (3 cups)
Pasta Sauce:
2 cup raw cashews
2 cup Chardonnay
2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 oz. uncooked fettuccine
1 cup baby spinach
12 asparagus spears (½ lb.)
½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
1. Open a beer it is going to be a long night.
2. Blend cashews and 1 cup water in blender or food processor until smooth. Using a mesh strainer, strain the liquid into a bowl; discard solids. Set liquid aside.
3. Make the Balsamic Reduction and bring the vinegar and agave nectar to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes, or until thickened. Cool.
3. While the Balsamic Reduction is simmering, chop the vegetables for the soup, cut the bell pepper into strips, and prepare the asparagus spears for the grill.
4. In a large pot (I used a 6 qt. sauté pan) over medium heat, heat the oil for the soup. Add red onion, sweet potato, Yukon gold potato, and shallot, and sauté 5-7 minutes. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and bell peppers; bring to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes, or until bell peppers and potatoes are softened.
5. While the soup is simmering, in a 2-3 qt. saucepan simmer the Chardonnay over medium heat 12-15 minutes, or until reduced to approximately ⅔ cup liquid.

This is what your stovetop will look like.

6. Pour the rest of the Chardonnay into a glass because your beer is probably gone and you need a drink.
7. While the Chardonnay and soup are simmering: start the grill, start boiling salted water in a pasta pot, and set the table.
8. When the potatoes are tender in the soup, remove it from heat. Blend the soup in batches until smooth. It will look like a thick tomato soup. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and keep warm.
9. Now the Chardonnay should be reduced, stir in the cashew mixture, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and ground black pepper. Keep warm.
10. Serve the soup with wild rice bread (made the day before) to the kids. Drizzle each serving of soup with 1 tablespoon of the Balsamic Reduction.
11. Meanwhile, grill asparagus 5 minutes, turning it over and add the bell pepper strips to the grill, grill 2-3 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and pepper is wilted. Transfer to a serving plate.
12. Forget about the spinach because by this point you are you just want to eat… but if you must…bring ¼ cup water to a simmer in the same pan you used for the soup. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted.
13. Drain fettuccine, and return to pot. Toss with cashew sauce, and divide between 4 plates. Top each serving with wilted spinach, asparagus, and bell pepper strips.
14. Open another bottle of wine, enjoy your meal, and pray the kids help you do the dishes. 😉

Black Peper Chardonnay Fettuccine with Grilled Asparagus

Per serving (¾ cup pasta with ¾ cup sauce and vegetables): Calories: 386, Protein: 15g, Total fat: 16g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbs: 49g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 184mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 6g

Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2012

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