Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy; Liguria
- 1 medium onion, cut in chunks
- 8 plump garlic cloves, peeled
- 1⁄3 cup fresh basil leaf, preferably small leaf Genovese basil
- 1⁄4 cup fresh Italian parsley
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1⁄2 cups finely chopped celery
- 2 cups finely chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
- 3 cups peeled diced red potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb.)
- 6 cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- parmigiano-reggiano cheese, rind (card-sized, can also use pecorino, Grana Padano)
- 4 cups frisee, cut into bite-size pieces (aka curley chicory leaves)
- 5 ounces fresh spinach
- 2 cups green peas (fresh or frozen)
- freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving
- extra virgin olive oil, best quality for serving
- Add onion chunks, garlic cloves, basil, parsley, and 1/4 cup olive oil in the food processor bowl; chop to a chunky-textured pesto.
- Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into large soup pot, set over med-high heat; scrape in the pesto; cook, stirring often, as it sizzles and dries, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lift the rehydrated porcini from the soaking liquid (strain/reserve the liquid) and chop into fine bits.
- When the pesto just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, drop the porcini, the chopped celery, carrots, tomato, and diced potatoes into the pot, and stir well.
- Cook over high heat, stirring until the potatoes become crusty and start to stick to the bottom.
- Pour in the cold water and the porcini soaking liquid; stir in the salt and heat the water to a vigorous bubble.
- Drop in the cheese rind, partially cover the pot, and adjust to maintain a steady bubbling.
- Cook 45 minutes to 1 hour--until the vegetables begin to break down; add the chicory, spinach, and peas.
- Return to a bubbling boil, and cook 30 minutes longer, until the broth is concentrated and flavorful and the total volume has reduced by about a quarter.
- Ladle the simmering soup into warm bowls; sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated cheese over each portion, and finish with a swirl of excellent olive oil; pass more grated cheese at the table.