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Pontormo

Italian Soups

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That sounds like such a good recipe Franci! There is a restaurant a little north of Bologna, that serves a 'parmigiana soup'. I thought I could recreate it using the cheese and a chicken stock base, but now I'm wondering about using the cheese rinds. Do you eat the rind? Is it chopped/minced? I'm having trouble visualizing this.  Note: I have no problem with the pig snout, but the cheese rinds have stumped a little!  :laugh:

The rind stays soft if kept in hot liquid, once out of the stock it gets cold very quickly, so it's better to cut it in 4-5 cm pieces at most, no need to chop. I really love it. It gives a very good taste to soups.


Edited by Franci (log)

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Soup, too, is one of my fond memories of going to school in Firenze. Being a student, we did not have a lot of money, and unfortunately or not, we did not have a kitchen so we had to eat out a lot. The time was back in the 80's, the 1980's, and the exchange rate was quite good with the dollar. We had to stretch it. We were in school during the winter and we would eat pappa al pomodoro and ribollita and minestrone for dinner at least once a week. Though the soups are made with bread, I am salivating for some pappa al pomodoro with some of that crusty, no salt, Florentine bread. Too good!

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Franci, it's good to see you back :smile: !

I would merely second your response to Judith regarding rinds. After collecting nearly 20 in a freezer bag, I had thought it time to check out reports of their virtues. I found that if you keep the rind used in making a soup in the pot each time you reheat a batch, eventually it becomes so soft you can scoop gooey, glorious cheese off with a soup. Yumm :wub: ! I even hacked the little strip of solid core into chips and was surprised to find it dry--a bit like the texture of a freshly sliced hunk of pecorino or Parm. Good sprinkled on top of the soup.

* * *

And Judith, I LOVE chestnut-based soups, especially with lentils. However, simple, straight-forward combination of a sparing number of ingredients sounds even better!

It's not just a matter of economy. Am I allowed to mention France in this forum :unsure:? MFK Fisher's contribution to the Time-Life series of international cookbooks included observations about home cooking and dining habits. She said that French families tended to eat little at the end of the day: a bowl of soup and the loaf of bread tucked under arm on their way home down the pretty streets. That comment stayed with me and always seemed so civilized.

(More links to individual posts from regional threads, later. Please feel free to link yourselves when the spirit moves.)


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I haven't tried the recipe, but I found it in  "la cucina piemontese" di Alessandro Molinari Pradelli

Tofeja

It says that in the past the soup was cooked in the oven right after baking the bread and left in the oven until it was tepid or cold.

It was used a special pot in terra rossa from Castellamonte with 4 handles.

200 g of of white dry beans

6 squares of pig skin

6 pork ribs

2 pork feet

an ear

a tail

nutmeg

2 minced garlic cloves

minced rosmery

a sachet with sage, bay leaf, majoran and thyme

salt and pepper

All this talk of a bean soup laden with porky goodness brings to mind the heavyweight of soups from Friuli, la jota:

gallery_19696_582_1106018183.jpg

Beans, bacon or speck, pork shoulder, and sauerkraut of all things cooked in stages separately, then combined. I can't wait for the really cold weather (if we get any) to set in here; this has jumped to the head of my cold weather roster of dishes to make in the coming winter.

More discussion of jota in the Friuli thread, starting with April's lovely photo and description on post 13.

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Also, speaking of rinds, anyone with access to an understanding deli worker needs to implore them to save them the rinds from prosciutto. Toss those bad boys in a pot of beans and be prepared.

I've only been so fortunate to have it happen once at our local gourmet outlet; the deli guy working there noted I bought a lot of prosciutto and tossed in some rinds, free of charge, once and told me to try it with beans, which was the first thing that came to my mind too. He moved on shortly afterwards and the new deli crew doesn't understand my requests to save the rind, so I've only got that one sweet memory of a pot of beans that smelled like walking the streets of Bologna at dinnertime.

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Kevin....you've gone poetic on us... lovely. Poets are a good thing.

I have a prosciutto rind hanging on my kitchen window...I think its destined for a soup pot.

OK>>>>these parm rinds. You are talking about cutting off the hard, waxy, printed part and cooking the rest, right? Why am I having so much trouble with this concept??????? I have a parmigiana chunk that I'm working on as we speak. So, the parm rind and the prosciutto rind should produce the soup to end all soups?? With some beans, of course.

edit for p.s.: chestnut-lentil....I'm not so sure. You will taste one or the other, but they are too 'simpatico', it's not a point-counter-point journey, secondo me....but I've been wrong before!


Edited by hathor (log)

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1) Here, here! Yes, lovely passionate post, Kevin.

2) Rinds, YES, Hathor. With pecorino, you have to scrape off paper, usually. I don't bother to much of anything with Parm or other waxy rinds except use a peeler or scrub them.

3) Didn't I write about the chestnut-lentil soup somewhere? I don't own the cookbook on Italian soups I consulted since I am the only patron of my neighborhood library who borrows it, but I followed a recipe that includes prosciutto or pancetta and the rest of the usual suspects. Twas very, very good.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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OK>>>>these parm rinds. You are talking about cutting off the hard, waxy, printed part and cooking the rest, right? Why am I having so much trouble with this concept???????

Judith, I think I will start dreaming about parm rinds :biggrin: , no need to cut the waxy part of it, just scape it with a knife (with theet, like a steak knife).

Or -I just tried- you could use a microplane but knife works better.

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When we were visiting Florence this summer we had several outstanding versions of pappa al pomodoro. In each case the soup was warm. I'm curious about this soup and haven't done much research...yet. Is it classically served only in the summer when the tomatoes are plentiful? I'm thinking that I have lots of jars of tomatoes that I put up this summer and nice thick bowl of this soup with that bite of garlic would warm me up when I come in from raking leaves.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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You're a grown-up, now. Do as you want! Pappa is generally made with fresh tomatoes. I personally never was tempted to eat it in the summer. It's so damn hot and muggy. That's when I have the"drier version" as a salad: panzanella with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and chunks of bread.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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You're a grown-up, now.  Do as you want!  Pappa is generally made with fresh tomatoes.  I personally never was tempted to eat it in the summer.  It's so damn hot and muggy.  That's when I have the"drier version" as a salad: panzanella with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and chunks of bread.

I agree that the hot and muggy weather did cool the temptation a bit. And the panzanella was also quite good. But the soup seemed the perfect compliment for a plate of fresh white beans.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Definitely, Stephen. Sounds like a great combination. I envy you all your canned tomatoes from the summer. After raking the leaves, do post a photograph if so inclined.

* * *

Hathor: the chestnut-lentil soup ws made by frying pancetta, removing it, them returning it to pot after softening onion, garlic and celery. (No carrots, too sweet for chestnuts.) THEN with pancetta back in, white wine gets reduced. Crucial step, I think, since this removes cloying effect that chestnuts tend to impart unless you're careful. I may have puréed [isn't it cool? I finally learned how to add one kind of diacritical mark!] some of the soup afterwards--though probably not. Dollop of reduced yogurt not traditional, but effective.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Pontormo: I see where you are going with the chestnut lentil pancetta combination, and it does sound good. I think the reason I was happy with the chestnut-sage soup is that it was fairly light. Another night...we pull out the pancetta and give that a go! Pancetta...leeks...chestnuts...lentils....mmmmm.....

Papa Pomadoro variation: if its really thick, and you just happen to have some caul fat around.... I've made it where you wrap a bit of the thick soup/stew in caul fat and then roast it. It looks really pretty...like a lace covered tomato, but it really depends on how you feel about caul fat....

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We're good.

Where do you get caul fat States-side?


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Definitely, Stephen.  Sounds like a great combination. I envy you all your canned tomatoes from the summer.  After raking the leaves, do post a photograph if so inclined.

Here are some of the jars for finished product from canning this year. My Calabrian grandmother (rest in peace) would be so proud.

gallery_10590_649_4027.jpg


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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What a great thread this is. Thank you Pontormo.

Wow, Stephen, those jars are so pretty.

Hathor, I love chestnut soup, but I agree with Pontormo that it can be cloying if not done right. I made one with fennel once and really didn't care for it much. Last February I made one very simply, that I just loved. I didn't follow any recipe, just my instinct to let the chestnut flavor shine through. I used a base of butter, onion and celery, and roasted the chestnuts before adding them to the pan. No herbs either, I think I once used sage with chestnuts and it got on my nerves. This soup was really sweet and clean-tasting.

Roasted Chestnut Soup

gallery_41870_2503_295836.jpg

gallery_41870_2503_36498.jpg

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I found some Tuscan Kale (which I believe is cavalo nero) at the farmer's market last weekend, so I made Ribollita and some Tuscan bread to go into it! You can see more details regarding the bread here.

gallery_41870_2503_11146.jpg

Ribollita

gallery_41870_2503_2492.jpg

Tuscan Loaves

gallery_41870_2503_49577.jpg

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We served a fantastic chestnut soup last Thanksgiving. Or was it the Thanksgiving before? Right now I'm drawing a blank. I remember it was very creamy soup and topped with a little drizzle of finely chopped chestnuts crisped in brown butter.

I'll see if I can unearth the recipe.

Edited to add that those loaves look fantastic. I never really warmed to Tuscan bread. I understand the history and it always seems like it should be a good plan but in practice I'm always left feeling that it sucks the flavor out of the soup I'm sopping up with it.


Edited by slbunge (log)

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Stephen: Oh, to have all those tomatoes!

Shaya: I share Judith's love of sage and think it's the perfect time of year to start frying up some leaves again.

Both your soups here are beautiful and I like the shot taken of the chestnut soup before it was blended.

Ribollita is probably my favorite kind of Italian soup, at least that's what I'd say if forced. I like cooking it so that most of the ingredients are mush. Impressive that you baked unsalted bread for the sake of authenticity, a head-start on the month ahead.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Tonight, before it was too late, I had to use the cardoon I bought at the market (and I have still left over for tomorrow :biggrin:) . I remembered someone from Abruzzo gave me this recipe of Brodo alla Celestina (the name rang a bell, there is a consomme' celestine in French cooking)

In the stock, along with cardoons and polpettine, there are also little square of a baked frittata (same thing is done for zuppa imperiale in Emilia), my friend called it

pizzetta. Without the pizzetta the soup is similar to the pugliese recipe of cardoncelli in brodo I posted on the puglia thread.

img1833qm8.jpg


Edited by Franci (log)

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Franci, we can always count on you for interesting ideas that are not always found in English-language cookbooks. I keep forgetting how good tiny meatballs are in soups.

I actually used my leftover cardoons in a puréed soup this weekend and have to say I am becoming a fan of the vegetable despite the less than perfect specimens available to me. It looks as if you can find some really good ones in London.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Today I'm having the traditional soup that is eaten in Piedmont on November 2 - the day of the Dead. People go to the cemetery to clean up the graves and adorn them with flowers, then go back home to a hearty soup of chickpeas, cannellini beans and pork ribs.

Like many other soups, it's better to cook it the day before, then let it "rest" and rewarm it just before serving it.

You must boil the chickpeas with a couple of garlic cloves and a small bunch of sage in slightly salted water until they're nice and tender. You do the same with the cannellini beans, but perfume them with a bay leaf. Separately you will boil the pork ribs in water with carrot, celery, a clove-studded onion, bay leaf and a few crushed peppercorns, until the meat practically falls off the bones.

Finally you gather everything into a large pot, add a whole clove-studded onion and simmer for one additional hour. You let the soup become lukewarm and serve it with toasted peasant bread, excellent olive oil and lots of black pepper.

Why am I having this soup on Nov. 1? Because I want to avoid the crush at the cemetery tomorrow morning, and I have enough for two (or three) days. :cool:


In vino veritas

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Scarpetta, thank you for posting! I had been asking about traditions associated with this time of year just the other day.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Franci, what did you do to the cardoons before they went into the stock? Did you boil them separately first? That looks really delicious.

Scarpetta, that soups sounds fabulous. I love it when the different components have such different flavorings and then get combined at the end...and the clove flavor sounds like the ribbon that ties the whole package together. mmmmm......

Heads us! Woo hoo!! I've got some parm rinds and some chicken stock, so you know I'm gonna be playing with these in the next day or two. Is is really obsessive to get excited about having a parm rind on hand??? :blink:

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