Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Greatest Winter Soup of All Time by Carl H.

Minestra alla Cenerentola (Cinderella)

Please welcome back, Carl H., who sent in this delicious soup recipe.  Tom and I made it over the weekend and have provided photos to go along with Carl's directions.  --B

Thank you for the lovely response. I am so complimented that you actually tried it [see Carl's brussel sprouts recipe] and, rather obviously, pleased that it came out well.

So.................................I am going to give you the greatest winter soup of all time. It is called Menestre or something like that. Not sure of the spelling, but unmistakably Italian. This is one of those soups that starts out ugly and ends up beautiful. It is great on day one and even better on days two and three.

Cold, blustery winter night. A big hunk of crusty Italian bread, a glass of red wine and this bold soup. To die for.
--Carl H.

Minestra alla Cenerentola (Cinderella)

2 heads escarole or two bags prewashed
3 cans of cannellini
1 pound pepperoni
1 large onion
Italian herbs (basil or the like)
Gently saute in 1 tbs. olive oil 1 lb. of sliced pepperoni and one large,  coarsely chopped onion for about five minutes.

Add 3 cloves of coarsely diced garlic (or 2 for the meek or 1 for the faint of heart) and saute with the pepperoni and onion an additional minute. Give it a stir, remove from  heat and set aside.

Chop into three inch horizontal strips two heads of escarole (thoroughly washed and drained). Put the escarole into a 5 qt. soup pot together with  8  cups of cold water. Because it is so bulky, it will likely come up to the top of the pot. Cover and bring to a slow boil over medium heat.

Trust  me, the escarole will reduce a whole lot.

Meanwhile, puree two cans (usually 15.5 oz) of white cannellini beans.  Hold a third can in reserve.

Now, put the puree into the escarole and its cooking water. Then add the can of whole cannelli.
Then add the pepperoni/onion mixture together with its oils.

Meld together and simmer uncovered on low heat for 2 hours. It will reduce and thicken as it simmers.

Already has plenty of salt. You can add any additional spices that pique your Italian fancy.

To die for.