What’s Cooking Wednesday: Soup’s On!

As I wrote a while back, Blog From Italy and La Cucina Italiana Magazine hosted a recipe contest. Well, the entries are in, and we have four finalists! Your very own Miss Expatria now has the grueling task of being a taste tester for two of the recipes. The theme was SOUP, which sounds really good now that the evenings are cooling down.

After the jump, get a load of the amazing recipes I’m going to be trying out this week! I think I might wrangle Fi into helping me, since I have nothing in the way of kitchen appliances, utensils or assorted accoutrements for whipping up these tasty-sounding delights, and she’s got a two-room cook’s kitchen with some major cookery action going on.

Pinot Grigio Mushroom Soup

6-8 whole curly parsley heads with 1 ½ inch stem in tact on each parsley head/cluster
Cooking oil for frying
3/4 lb fresh mushrooms and stems, thinly sliced
¼ cup butter
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup chives, minced
Dash salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
1 ¼ cup Pinot Grigio
1 cup heavy cream, divided (1/2 cup for whipping)
3 egg yolks
2 cups sour cream, divided (1/2 cup for whipping)

  1. Place cooking oil 2 to 3 inches deep in a sauce pan and heat oil to 375 degrees. One by one drop the parsley stems into the hot oil and fry heads until slightly golden and the parsley cluster float to the top of the oil. Using a slotted spoon remove stems to a paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt. Set aside, uncovered, until ready to use as garnish.
  2. In a small mixing bowl whip ½ cup heavy cream to firm peaks. Stir in ½ cup sour cream. Refrigerate mixture until ready to use.
  3. Sauté mushrooms and stems in butter 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in chopped parsley, chives, salt and pepper. Add Pinot Grigio with remaining ½ cup of the heavy cream. Stir mixture together and simmer soup 5 minutes until warmed throughout.
  4. In a small bowl beat egg yolks with remaining 1 1/2 cups sour cream. Stir a small amount of mixture into soup to temper soup. Add remaining mixture and blend together, heating soup to hot on warm heat.
  5. Place oven broiler on high heat. Pour soup into individual heat-proof bowls and spoon each bowl with the whipped cream mixture. Place bowls under broiler until topping browns. Remove from oven, garnish with a fried parsley stem and serve at once.

Serves 6.

Creamed Zuppa Di Fagioli with Herbed Olive Oil Drizzle

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon each chopped fresh marjoram, parsley and cilantro
1 1/2 cups dry cannelloni beans (soak overnight)
4 oz. salt-cured pancetta, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 whole garlic clove, cut in half (and set aside)
4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups water
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 Tb fresh parsley, chopped
8 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices of coarse peasant bread, cut in 3/4-inch slices
For garnish: Freshly shaved parmesan cheese and prepared infused olive oil drizzle

  1. Soak beans in water overnight in a large bowl; water should be at least 3 inches above beans. Drain in the morning.
  2. Place ¾ cup oil in a crock pot with herbs and heat on high heat 1 to ½ hours while the soup is cooking. (This can be done on the stove top, too, very low, but, it’s easy to over heat the oil, so the crock pot is safer). When infused, Strain oil of herbs. Store infused oil in a jar. (Oil can be stored in refrigerator 2 weeks).
  3. Heat a bit of regular olive oil in a large stock pot and sauté pancetta and celery on medium heat, about 5 minutes until softened. Add chopped garlic, cooking a couple more minutes until softened.
  4. Add beans, chicken stock, water, sage, parsley and tomatoes. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. In batches, put soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Return blended soup to the pot and gently heat throughout. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Toast peasant bread rubbed with halved garlic cloves under a broiler until golden. Place toasts in the bottom of 6 serving bowls; brush toasts with a thin layer of scented oil.
  7. Ladle the soup over the bread. Shave a generous portion of fresh parmesan cheese on each bowl and drizzle with a swirl of infused oil, about 1 TBSP per bowl.

Serve with traditional Italian bread, green salad and your favorite wine pairing.

3 thoughts on “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Soup’s On!

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