AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, IT’S TIME FOR SOUP!
Pasta, lasagna, risotto, sausages, cotechino, pandoro, panettone…these are all delicious staples of the Italian holiday season. But now that Santa’s gone and we have to head back to work, our bodies need to detox! The cold January weather means that there is nothing better than a soup! Italians have many ways to prepare a soup, and different preparations can vary from region to region. So, we’ve chosen to share with you two traditional recipes that are both healthy and tasty.
Let’s start with the cornerstone of Italian soups: il minestrone. Though most Italian kids scram at the prospect of minestrone, it is a dish you come to love as an adult. There are a multitude of minestrone recipes, but we’ll start with the basics. Minestrone is a vegetable soup, usually made with tomato sauce and pasta. You can make it using any seasonal ingredients you can find: potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, chard, spinach, and celery are all delicious additions. You can also add legumes, such as chickpeas, beans, or fava beans. If you are a meat lover, you can also add ground meat or bacon. While minestrone is very easy to make, it is also time consuming: you have to clean and cut all the vegetables, and then boil and stir the mixture for at least 40 minutes. The result is worth the effort!
“FAVE E CICORIA” SOUP
This is a very old, traditional dish that has its roots in southern Italy, in the Puglia region. It’s easy to make and very tasty thanks to the contrast between the mild flavor of the beans and of the bitter chicory. It’s a recipe that draws upon the ancient traditions of Italian peasants. The first step in preparing this puree of fava beans and chicory is to soak the beans overnight. In the morning, put the fava beans in a large pot and add enough water to fully cover them. Add salt and pepper, and start cooking them, stirring often and adding more water if needed. When the beans become tender, blend them to give the soup a creamy consistency. Next, cook the chicory in well-salted water. When both ingredients are ready, mix them together and serve the soup with extra virgin olive oil. Check out our selection fo the best Olive Oils!
- Donatella Mulvoni