PASTA AND BROCCOLI SOUP
I loved this soup the minute I tasted it at Trattoria Pasqualino on via dei SS Quattro,
just a street away from the Roman Colosseum. We were seated next to a buffet, which itself
was situated in front of an oversized vintage refrigerator with glass doors. The view was
tempting, for on the buffet and inside the refrigerator we could see the wonderful array
of antipasti we were about to sample. Pasqualino, the owner of the restaurant, is a small,
enormously efficient man with a warm personality and an instinctive understanding of good
food, and this spicy-hot, substantial pasta and broccoli soup is appetizing proof of his skills.
I like to serve it followed by a simple broiled fish fillet sprinkled with fresh lemon juice
and accompanied by little boiled potatoes garnished with finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.
Serves 6 to 8
| (CLICK TO BUY)
1 bunch fresh broccoli (about 11/2 pounds), tough ends trimmed
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 dried chili pepper (the tip end)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
Salt, to taste
8 ounces dried small pasta, such as elbows, tubettini, or shells
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, such as Romano
||Bring a large pot of water to a boil.|
||Meanwhile, separate the broccoli stems from the head. Cut the head into 1-inch florets.
Peel the edible parts of the stems and slice thin. Rinse and drain and set aside.
||Sauté the pancetta in a large, nonreactive soup pot over medium heat and let
it crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili pepper, stir well, and cook to soften, 1 minute.|
||Add the broccoli to the soup pot, along with the wine. Cook, uncovered, stirring,
until the wine has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the water and a little salt. Cover the pot,
reduce the heat to low, and cook the broccoli until tender, about 10 minutes.|
||When the pasta water comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to package directions.
Drain the pasta, reserving 2 or so cups of the cooking liquid, and return the pasta to the pot.
Toss the olive oil with the pasta. Add the broccoli mixture and as much of the reserved pasta
cooking liquid — 1/2 cup at a time — as necessary for the desired thickness but be aware that this
should be a thick soup. Stir well, then taste and correct the seasoning.|
||Serve in warmed bowls, accompanied by the grated cheese. |
Excerpted from GOOD & GARLICKY, THICK & HEARTY, SOUL-SATISFYING, MORE-THAN-MINESTRONE ITALIAN SOUP COOKBOOK copyright © 1997 Joe Famularo.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.