Thursday, November 7, 2013

Turning into an Italian

I am a girl who hales from somewhere around 51.5072 degrees N by 0.1275 degrees W. Italian food is not my culinary heritage. Beef, lamb, potatoes covered in a dark gravy encased in pie crust. That's what my ancestors ate, when they could get it.
I don't know what it is lately, but I am craving Italian food all the time.For me Italian food is good, but it doesn't call to me like Mexican does. Oh Mehico, I love you! I digress. I normally eat pizza once every 6 months. Make spaghetti once every three and so on. Imagine my surprise when I am craving this wonderful earthy mushroom soup that is not only super flavorful, but when I made it, it helped me relax and feel connected to the earth. Yes, I know that sounds weird. (recipe to follow so you can connect to the earth too). Or I find myself craving pizza, a lot. And in this weeks meal planning, I am not only making pizza but also lasagna. My version is going to have pumpkin puree, spinach and cream sauce. I think. It's a idea in progress.
Barbara Kafka in her book Vegetable love, says that tomatoes are the most popular flavor in the world. I guess I would have to agree with her when I think about ketchup and salsa distribution along with all of the bottles of pasta sauce, barbecue sauce; not to mention the million soup variations. The list is endless. 
As our world has become more connected, the things our taste buds crave have connected also. All genetic heritage aside, it's okay to want something different. So I am going to enjoy my pizza, lasagna, and mushroom soup. Too bad my ancestors couldn't try my Italian favorites, they would have loved them. And the next time you look for me I might be in 37.5000 degrees N by 14.0000 degrees E. Bon Appitteto!

Minestra di Funghi
Recipe originally published in "A Taste of Italy" by Michelle Scicolone Pg 91-92

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 oz. sliced panchetta, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 oz wild mushrooms such as porcini or shiitake , thinly sliced
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups canned beef broth plus 4 cups water
1/2 cup pearl barley

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the olive oil and panchetta until panchetta is golden about 10 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and garlic. Cook, stirring until the mushroom juices evaporate about 10 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, salt and pepper. Add the broth and water. Bring soup to a simmer. Add the barley and cook, uncovered over low heat for 1 hour, or until the barley is tender and the soup is thickened. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

Eat this soup with some crusty bread and a salad and you will be in heaven, without feeling heavy.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm this sounds so good on a chilly night. I'm all about italian, I just run out of ideas for pork substitutes around here and Abu believes it's not a meal w/o meat. I'll have to work our some variation here for the panchetta, I'm not sure turkey bacon would work. Let me know if you have any other ideas.