Monday, April 6, 2015

Zuppa di Scarola e Ditali

     Italian Escarole and Ditali Pasta Soup!
     Today's soup can be served any season.  Light broth, vegetable and pasta soups very popular in the spring season.  After hibernating all winter, people naturally seek food that has rejuvenating qualities.  A healthy broth soup certainly fits the bill.  
     Escarole creates a natural savory butter flavor when it is simmered in a light broth.  The buttery lettuce flavor carries well with pasta.  Ditali Pasta is a slightly larger version of Ditalini Pasta.  Both are great pasta choices for soup.
     Not every soup recipe is made with complicated cooking techniques.  Many traditional Italian soups are simply boiled, like a potage.  A simple broth potage is one of the oldest styles of cooking that there is.  Sometimes an uncomplicated soup is best, especially when the weather is chilly or when feeling ill.
     Zuppa di Scarola e Ditali:
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup!  (2 1/2 cups)
     If this soup is made ahead of time, it is best to cook the pasta separately, then add the pasta shortly before serving.  
     Step 1:  Boil 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons each of these small diced vegetables:
     - carrot
     - celery
     - onion
     Step 3:  Add 1 minced clove of garlic.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 3/4 cup of large bite size pieces of escarole.
     Step 4:  Bring the broth to a gentle boil.
     Add 2/3 cup of ditali pasta.
     Boil the pasta for 4 minutes.  Stir the soup occasionally.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer the soup, till the pasta is cooked al dente.
     *Stir the soup occasionally so the pasta does not stick.  Add a little more broth if the the pasta soaks up the excess liquid or if too much evaporation occurs.  There should be a high proportion of past to broth in this soup!  
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add about 6 whole Italian Parsley leaves.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Ladle the soup into a large soup bowl and serve.
     No garnish is necessary!
     This soup takes just a little more time to make, than it takes to cook the pasta.  Soups like Zuppa di Scarola e Ditali actually are made to order in fine Italian restaurants, so the flavors are at an aromatic peak when the soup is served!

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