Italian Soups

I think if you have looked through the website you may have gathered we like good food, especially Italian, I will therefore try to include some of our favourite foods; so here are some soups to go with the other soups on the website. You already have a version of Bean Soup therefore I have missed that one out of this list.

Stufatino di Vitello or Veal Soup:

700 Grams of Veal diced (if you don't like the idea of veal, use Chicken).

1 or 2 Large Ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (tin of chopped tomatoes and some Puree will do just as well).

2 crushed cloves of Garlic.

½ chilli pepper finely chopped.

1 Medium bunch of Parsley, chopped,

1 medium glass of good white wine.

Olive Oil for frying,

flour for dusting the Veal along with salt and pepper to taste.

Put some oil into a heavy bottomed casserole dish, place on the stove set on high and brown off the garlic and chilli.

Dust the Veal in the flour and place in the casserole to cook off and brown. Pour in the wine, this will deglaze the bottom of the casserole dish; as the wine begins to evaporate add the tomatoes, season to taste, then either reduce the heat on the stove and simmer with the lid on until the meat is tender (about an hour) or you can put it in a medium oven for the same sort of time.

Just before serving stir in the Parsley.

Strisce con Ceti or Ribbon Pasta & Chickpea Soup:

400 grams of tinned Chickpeas, you can use dried if you want to soak them overnight.

2 good sized Carrots finely chopped.

1 medium Onion finely chopped.

1 stick of Celery finely chopped.

4 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

3 Cloves of Garlic peeled.

A Sprig of Rosemary or chopped dried herb.

5 black peppercorns and salt to taste.

250 Grams of Strisce or wide ribbon pasta.

Put the Chickpeas Garlic and Peppers in a deep pan, cover them with a depth of 1 inch over the top with water; cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 3 hours or until soft.

Remove the peas from the pan by draining through a colander into a bowl in order to retain the water. Take out some chickpeas, a couple of spoons full will do, then run the rest through a food processor to get smooth.

Whilst preparing the Chickpeas, using the Oil, sauté in another deep pan the Carrots, Onions, Celery and Rosemary until softened.

Put everything back into a pan with the water from the Chickpeas and cook for another 30 minutes, season to taste, add the pasta and cook until the pasta is just turning tender.

Serve with grated Parmesan or as this is a Tuscany Recipe, Pecorino would be authentic.

Puttenaio or 'Prostitutes Stew':

This is a vegetable soup from Elba which is reputed to have been introduced to the Island by Napoleon when he was being held in the 'Palazzino dei Mulini'; we have visited this villa, it's not what you would regard as a prison.

1 lb of Green Peppers.

2 Large Potatoes.

2 Aubergines.

1 Stick of Celery.

1 large Onion.

1 Carrot.

2 Courgettes (Zucchini).

2 Cloves of Garlic Crushed.

1 LB of Tomatoes peeled and seeded.

¼ pint of Olive Oil.

A handful of chopped fresh mixed herbs or a good sprinkle of dried mixed herbs.

Thinly slice the Onion and cut the rest of the vegetables into roughly ½ inch chunks; meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep pan and cook off the vegetables all apart from the tomatoes and herbs for about 10 or 15 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and salt cover and cook at a high heat for 10 minutes. Then simmer for a further hour with the herbs added for the last 15 minutes.

If you wish you can put in some tomato Puree for flavour, it can be served hot or cold as accompaniment to meat or cold as a side dish/salad.

Zuppa di Funghi or wild mushroom soup:

1 Lb (450 grams) of fresh Porcini Mushrooms; to be fair this could be difficult in England, so a pound of wild Mushrooms or dried mushrooms are an option.

1 Clove of crushed Garlic.

¾ litre of good quality Beef stock.

2 tablespoons of chopped Parsley.

5 or 6 Leaves of mint or cat mint.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a medium pan heat a little olive oil, sauté the finely chopped Mushrooms in the pan with the chopped mint leaves; when cooked and browned off, add the stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Pound together the Garlic and Parsley together in a Mortar using a Pestle, then half way through the simmering period add this to the soup. Salt and Pepper to taste.

This can be served with a slice of toasted Bread rubbed with a clove of Garlic and placed in the bottom of the bowl; then pour the soup over the top.

Commercial mushrooms don't often have the taste required for this recipe, however you could try Morels and Chanterelles mixed with some cultivated mushrooms added to ¾ of an Ounce or 15 grams of dried Porcini.