This first soup, Italian Bean Soup with Pappardelle, was hearty and delicious. It was inspired by a soup from Trattoria dai Mugnai in Monteveglio, a village outside of Bologna. The second soup, Spanish Garlic Soup, was inspired by an “end of the month” meal, a “meal to make quickly with whatever is on hand and money is tight,” from José Andrés.
The recipes for these simple soups were adapted from Milk Street, the Italian bean and pasta soup from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Rebecca Richmond, and the Spanish garlic soup from Milk Street TV, contributed by Christopher Kimball and Matthew Card.
Italian Bean Soup with Pappardelle
Yield: Serves 4
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T tomato paste
2 to 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 15.5 oz cans Roman (borlotti), cranberry, or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or sage
1 piece Parmesan rind, plus finely grated Parmesan, to serve
8 to 9 oz fresh or dried pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettucine, cut or broken into 2-inch lengths (see Note)
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
In a large saucepan over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste darkens slightly and begins to stick to the pan, about 3 minutes.
Add the beans, rosemary, Parmesan rind (use if you have it!), 5 cups water, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft enough to be easily mashed with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Off heat, remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Using an immersion blender, pulse the bean mixture until creamy but not completely smooth. (see Note) (Alternatively, if transferring to a blender, let cool for 10 minutes and purée in 2 batches before returning to the pot.)
Bring to a simmer over medium. Add the pasta and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente (refer to the package for cooking times, but begin checking for doneness a minute or two sooner than the directions indicate). (I used dried pappardelle, broken into 2-inch lengths, and cooked it for 6 to 7 minutes.)
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with oil and top with grated Parmesan and additional pepper, as desired.
If you can find sheets of fresh pasta, they work nicely, too—simply cut them into rough 2-inch squares.
Don’t puree the beans until completely smooth; leave them with some texture.
Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)
Yield: Serves 4
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra
4 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
6 oz sourdough or other rustic bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups), divided
6 cups water
2 T chicken bouillion (I used Better Than Boullion)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large egg yolks
2 T sherry vinegar
In a medium saucepan over medium-low, combine the scallion whites, garlic and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to color, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add both paprikas and cook, stirring, until fragrant and darkened, 30 seconds.
Add 1 cup of the bread cubes and stir well.
Whisk in the water and bouillon, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking occasionally to break up bread, for 15 minutes. Whisk vigorously to ensure bread is thoroughly broken up.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the remaining 3 cups bread, the scallion greens, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth. (It is important to do this step to prevent the yolks from curdling when added to the pot.)
Remove the soup from the heat. Off heat, vigorously whisk the egg yolks into the soup, then whisk in the vinegar.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, fill individual bowls with the crouton mixture, then ladle the soup over them. Drizzle with additional oil, if desired.
I have to share this dish because it was a reminder of an important lesson: Not every dish will be a complete success. It’s the risk taken when trying new recipes- even if they are from a trusted resource.
I am also sharing this dish because I think it can be rescued! I have updated the recipe below. The fresh pasta was lovely, with wonderful color and texture, so that portion of the dish has remained untouched. The mustard-shallot butter was overwhelmingly potent in the finished dish, so the proportions have been modified; I reduced the mustard and shallots by at least one-half.
This dish was so pretty and loaded with wonderful flavors! I was really disappointed that it wasn’t as delicious as it sounded or looked. Especially because it was particularly time-consuming to prepare. 😦 This recipe was adapted from The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant by Deborah Madison with Edward Espé Brown.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4
For the Fresh Herb Pasta:
1 cup loosely packed herb leaves (I used a mixture of basil and parsley)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
large pinch coarse salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp olive oil
water, as needed
To Complete the Dish:
1 recipe Fresh Herb Pasta, about 7 oz (recipe above)
7 T unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 T strong Dijon mustard
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar, or more, to taste
large handful of arugula, roughly chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
2 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
4 cups cauliflower, broccoli, and/or romanesco cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
thin strip lemon peel, very finely slivered
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
To Make the Fresh Herb Pasta:
Wash the herbs and dry them as thoroughly as possible.
Chop them very finely, I used a mini-food processor, and measure out no more than 3 T.
Combine the herbs with the flour and salt.
Add the egg and the oil, and combine until distributed throughout.
Press together to form a dough. If it is too dry, add drops of water, a few at a time, to moisten it and help it come together. (I used 2-3 tsp of additional water.)
Turn the dough out onto a counter- I put it onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a ball.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it feels smooth and supple. (I added a little bit more water while kneading as well.)
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably for one hour.
Roll the dough through the pasta machine, starting at the widest setting, and reducing until desired thickness is achieved. ‘(I rolled mine out to level 6.)
Cut the strips into desired noodle length, typically 12-inches. Then cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide noodles. (I actually chose to cut mine crosswise into shorter 1/2-inch wide noodles.)
Dust with semolina flour or flour, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
To Finish the Dish:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Cream 4 T of the butter with the mustard, shallot, garlic, vinegar, and arugula. (This can be done ahead of time, covered, and set aside until needed.)
Melt the remaining 3 T butter in a small frying pan, add the bread crumbs, and fry them until they are crisp and browned.
When you are ready to cook the pasta, salt the boiling water.
Melt the mustard butter over a low flame and cook to soften the shallots. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and the sun-dried tomatoes.
Steam the cauliflower and/or broccoli in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Alternatively, the cauliflower and/or broccoli can be dropped into the boiling pasta water, returned to a boil, and cooked for about 1 minute, until tender.
Add the cooked cauliflower and/or broccoli to the butter.
Next, cook the pasta for about 2 to 3 minutes, until al dente. Add it to the butter.
Add the sliced lemon zest to the butter.
Toss well with tongs, season with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with the bread crumbs and freshly grated Parmesan.
My husband and I are obsessed with burrata- especially with asparagus. Such a heavenly combination!
Naturally, as I am also such a pasta fan, this dish caught my eye right away. It was fresh and especially wonderful to make in backyard herb season. This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe, contributed by Grace Parisi. I doubled the asparagus, substituted fresh pappardelle for fazzoletti, and omitted the chervil. Yum!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
3/4 cup parsley, plus more for garnish
2 T snipped chives, plus more for garnish
2 T tarragon leaves, plus more for garnish
2 T chervil leaves, plus more for garnish, optional
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound fresh pasta sheets, cut into 3-inch squares (fazzoletti) or fresh pappardelle
1/4 cup raw pine nuts, preferably Italian
8 to 10 ounces burrata or buffalo mozzarella, cut into cubes
In a blender or food processor, combine the 3/4 cup of parsley with the 2 tablespoons each of chives, tarragon and chervil (if using). Pulse until chopped.
Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the oil to the herbs and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put the asparagus in a colander and ease it into the boiling water. Blanch the asparagus just until bright green, about 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Shake dry.
Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the pine nuts and toast over moderate heat until golden; transfer to a plate.
Add the pasta, herb puree, asparagus and the pasta water to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, tossing well.
My husband is SPOILED. He said that this dish was “standard” fare. “We always eat fresh tomatoes and basil, ” he said. What could be better than two (plus) pounds of local farm stand tomatoes smothered in backyard basil, garlic, and loads of cheese? (That’s what I say!) Yummy!
Well… It would have been better is I had made fresh pasta, I suppose. I substituted store-bought (but special) pasta. I did include the directions to make the homemade strozzapreti because it would bring this tasty dish to a new level. It was absolutely delicious with dry pasta too! This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Chris Warde-Jones. I tripled the recipe, reduced the oil, and used dry (store-bought) pasta.
BTW- I am so proud of my backyard basil! I told my kids (who ALWAYS want to set up a lemonade stand) that they should have a basil stand! 🙂
Yield: 6 servings
For the Sauce:
2 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more to taste
15 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups finely grated pecorino cheese
3/4 cup, firmly packed, fresh basil or parsley leaves
14 to 16 oz strozzapreti (or fresh pasta- recipe below)
For the Fresh Pasta:
1 cup grano duro flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed
2 large eggs
To Make the Sauce:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil and 12 minced garlic cloves. Toss well, then spread tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut sides up.
Roast until soft and collapsing, about 45 minutes; do not allow to dry or brown.
Meanwhile, in a food processor combine remaining minced garlic, cheese, and basil (or parsley). Process until very finely chopped.
When tomatoes are soft, immediately spread cheese-herb mixture on top and lightly mash with a spoon so cheese melts. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons oil (or more to taste), and set aside.
For the Fresh Strozzapreti: (I substituted store-bought pasta.)
On a wooden counter or large cutting board, mound 1 cup flour and make a well in center. Break eggs into well.
Using your hands, mix eggs in well, gradually pulling in more and more flour to make a pasty dough. Knead dough briefly, using lightly floured hands if dough is very wet; it should be moist but not sticky.
Scrape wooden board clean. Using a wooden rolling pin (and a very light dusting of flour if necessary), roll dough out as thinly as possible into an approximate rectangle.
Using a knife, score rectangle into strips an inch wide and about three inches long. Pick up one piece of dough and press it around a bamboo meat skewer about the diameter of an umbrella spoke. This is most successful if done quickly and not too carefully, so that dough fits tightly round skewer with an overlapping, visible seam. Slide skewer out of pasta and set pasta aside on a plate. Repeat to use remaining dough. Pieces should be irregular in size and shape.
To Finish the Dish:
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. If desired, return baking sheet of tomatoes to a 300-degree oven just to reheat.
Add strozzapreti to pot and cook until tender, slightly chewy and no longer raw in center. This is best done by tasting after strozzapreti float to surface; be careful not to under- or overcook. Alternatively, if using store-bought pasta, cook according to package directions.
Drain cooked pasta and pour into a large bowl; immediately add tomatoes. Toss quickly and serve hot.
I have been meaning to make fresh pasta ever since I purchased a pasta drying rack a couple of weeks ago. I always forget how easy it is to make it- and how wonderful it is to eat! The dough is silky, tender, and cooks amazingly quickly. Years ago (TWELVE years ago!), I took a “Hands on Pasta” class at The Chopping Block, a recreational cooking school and gourmet retail store in Chicago. It was the first time I had ever made fresh pasta, FUN and TASTY. 🙂 We made it by hand and with the use of a food processor. Now I use a stand mixer to make the dough because I find that the dough doesn’t get overworked, as it might in a food processor. This recipe is from that class- I just modified it to incorporate whole wheat flour. I have made it in the past with 100 percent whole wheat flour as well, but I have found that the dough is not as pliable. Fresh pasta is great with spring and summer produce. I am looking forward to making a lot of it this summer!
Pasta Dough: Stand-Mixer Method:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
pinch of salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Using the mixer attachment, mix the flours and the salt. Then, while the mixer is running, add the eggs.
When the dough turns into a ball, switch to a dough hook. Break down the ball and reprocess. Keep processing and kneading for 3-4 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky.
Let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature covered with an inverted bowl or plastic wrap. The dough should darken in color and become less sticky.
Rolling the Pasta Dough:
Set the roller on the widest setting.
Folding into thirds before each repetition, and loading the non-folded side into the roller, roll the dough 3-4 times on the first, or widest, setting.
Continue to feed the dough 3-4 times on progressively higher settings until desired thickness is reached. (I roll fettuccine to a thickness of 5.)
Add the cutting attachment OR use sheets to make filled dough.
Place cut noodles on a lightly floured surface, semolina dusted surface, in nests, or on a drying rack. The noodles can be made in advance. Once dry, the noodles can even be frozen.
Cook in salted, boiling water: fresh noodles about 2 to 4 minutes, filled pasta about 3 to 4 minutes.