Growing up in Montevideo, Uruguay, as the only Jewish kid (a very fat one!) on an all-Italian block… in the middle of the Jewish neighborhood (go figure!), my mother soon realized that it would be safer for her little boy if she learned to cook cucina italiana, then some of his tormentors would stop harassing him in hopes of getting invited for a meal. She learned from our neighbors and soon became the outstanding Italian cook on the block. Somehow word got out, and life became a lot easier for me…
Here’s one recipe I made last eve (using a food processor, which – when I was a kid – my mother didn’t have), after I found it in The Italian Mama’s Kitchen by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi. It tasted just like I my mother’s!
Cream of Vegetable Soup – Passata di Verdure
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 medium sized carrots, trimmed and peeled
- 2 small zucchini, trimmed
- 3 small potatoes
- 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 cups chicken stock*
- 1/2 cup fresh peas
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the carrots, zucchini and potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes
- Place the parsley on a piece of cheesecloth. Using kitchen string, tie the of the cheesecloth together to form a bag shape.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the carrots, zucchini and potatoes; sautee for 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves and garlic. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.
- Pour the stock* into the saucepan. Add the Parsley and and peas . Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Remove and discard the parsley and bay leaves. Transfer the stock to a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is of a consistency you desire. Return the soup to the saucepan to reheat before serving and add salt and pepper to taste. It can be stored in the fridge for up to three days (and I know exactly what I’ll be having this evening, again!)
* Chicken Stock – Brodo di Gallina
Yield: 16 cups
- 1 small bunch (about 1/2 oz) Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 pound hen, cleaned and cut into four pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 large carrot
- 4 bay leaves
- 12 black peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place the celery and peppercorns on a piece of cheesecloth, then using kitchen string, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag.
- Place 16 cups water in a large pot. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to catch and discard the residue and foam. Add extra water to the broth, making sure the original level of broth is maintained throughout.
- Drain the stock through a strainer discarding the vegetables and reserving the flesh for further use in other recipes.
The chicken stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen up to 30 days.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!