The wild winds and rain that buffeted the Cape yesterday have eased somewhat. I’m still conscious of the sound of the wind as I write this, but the rain has stopped. It’s a soup day for sure.
Adhering to my goal of trying new recipes from old familiar cookbooks, I found a recipe for “Pasta and Cauliflower Soup” in The Romagnolis Table (1975.) Actually found more than a recipe. There was an introduction to the soup section that I never remember reading before. It detailed the different types of soup that might be found on the Italian table. I learned a few new terms.
Minestre refers to soups in general. A broth base with meat and or vegetables. They often combine rice or pasta with a vegetable. Minestrine are light broth soups. These are fairly light and delicate. Minestroni, on the other hand, are the big vegetable soups (or zuppa) that many of us are familiar with.
Today, I made a Minestre. I adapted the recipe a bit, using half chicken stock instead of all water. I also added a diced onion and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. The original recipe was listed as”Pasta E Broccoli” because it’s a Roman soup, and according to these authors, cauliflower is usually called broccoli in Rome.
1 small head of cauliflower
1 medium onion
1/2 C olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 TBS tomato paste
2 1/2 quarts hot water or a combination of broth and water
1 potato sliced paper thin
2 tsp. salt
1/2 pound of pasta (spaghetti broken into 1 inch pieces or orzo
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Grated Parmesan for serving
1. Break the cauliflower into small flowerets. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the cauliflower, onion, and garlic. Season with some salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes. Toss to coat with the olive oil. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to soften the vegetables a bit.
3. Add the tomato paste, water (broth,) the potato, and 2 tsp. salt. Bring to a steady boil.
4. Add the pasta. Boil until the pasta is fully cooked and the flavors have combined. You may have to adjust the seasoning.
5. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.