Cyber Dinner Par-tay & Peruvian Minestrone

A food bloggers nirvana – invite a few of your all time favorite bloggers to share a Sunday night dinner with you. The challenge, we all live in different cities. The next best option was to host a virtual pot luck. The invites were sent and I couldn’t be more honored than to have had this group of ladies join me for a night of foodie fun as they sampled recipes from Taste This! The Delicious Sequel. While I hate the expression “It’s a win, win!” I do believe this is just that. Here’s why. Each of us made a dish to share for this virtual dinner party. Those that feasted on a new recipe enjoyed the spoils (WIN), those of you reading this post get sneak peak at a few more recipes from my new cookbook (and new wine pairing suggestions) along with the chance to win a copy of the cookbook (WIN). Add it up and you’ve got the recipe for a WIN WIN. Now let’s get down to business >ahem, I mean cooking!<.

MENU AND BLOGGER (Note: each blogger has book to give away, to find out how to win take a gander at the links below)

Cocktails- Cuban Mojito blogged by Illina Ewens

Appetizer- Gorgonzola Cheese Ball & Olive Tapanade blogged by Ana Picazo

Wine- Carmenère, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc Pairing Selections blogged by Stacy DeFino

Main Course- Peruvian Minestrone blogged by ME/see below

Dessert- King’s Cupcakes blogged by Stacy Libby

I’d like to introduce you to the faces behind the blogs.

Cocktails- by Illina Ewens at Dirt and Noise

Appetizer- by Ana Picazo at BonggaMom

Wine- by Stacy DeFino at Wineobee

Dessert- by Stacy Libby at LapTopTVMom

The recipe I made for my special group of friends is one that my dear friend from Peru, Rosa, made for me many years ago. While the shopping list for this recipe is a bit longer than many of the recipes in Taste This! The Delicious Sequel it is worth the little bit of extra time it takes to make this dish.

Peruvian Minestrone

Pesto Ingredients

4 cups basil leaves, stems removed

¼ cup olive oil

¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup ricotta or Queso Fresco

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Soup Ingredients

2 cups (13 oz) pasta (penne, rigatoni, fusilli or bow ties)

½ tsp garlic, crushed

2 lbs top sirloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 TBS olive oil

10 cups water

1 cube beef bouillon

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup carrot, diced

1 ½ cups green cabbage, chopped

½ cup leek, cleaned and chopped

½ cup peas

1 cup zucchini, diced

2 large cobs of corn, cut into 1 ½ inch sliced rounds with cob included

2 medium white potatoes, diced

Blend together all pesto ingredients until smooth.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and sprinkle with olive oil. Mix well so that it does not stick together while the rest of the dish is being prepared.

In a large pan, sauté garlic in oil, and brown sirloin. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot, over high heat, add water, beef bouillon, sirloin, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, cooking meat until tender. Turn heat to medium and add all vegetables EXCEPT potatoes and corn.

Add potatoes and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add corn and cook an additional 5 minutes on medium-high. Before serving, add pasta to warm it, approximately 2-3 minutes. Finally, add pesto and season to taste.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Note: To save time, a ½ cup high-grade store bought pesto sauce can be substituted in place of basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

While serving corn rounds in the soup is the tradition for Peruvians, some diners are uncomfortable reaching into the soup with their fingers to eat the corn. If diners are up for the challenge, encourage them to eat the corn last, allowing it to cool. Alternatively, substitute fresh corn kernels cut off of the cob, as opposed to frozen or canned corn, which tend to be too soft.

Serves 6-8

Thank you Ilina, Ana, Stacy D. and Stacy L. it was so much fun having dinner with you this past weekend.

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