Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Italian Flag Soup

...So named because of its ingredients and color scheme!

January weather is finally making an appearance, so it's time to dust off the ol' stockpot. This is my favorite of my bean soups. Although its flagship ingredients come from cans, the addition of lemon zest, spinach, and parsley lends it an unseasonably fresh flavor.

This soup is equally good in warmer weather when you have easier and cheaper access to fresh herbs. Basil and rosemary are heavenly with the white beans and tomatoes; add them to the pot when you add the tomatoes, cayenne, and wine. See below for other variations.

Recipe: Italian Flag Soup
Makes about 6 reasonably-sized servings, or 4 Owen-sized servings
Prep time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: about 35 minutes

2 T olive oil
1 medium-sized onion
6 garlic cloves
2 15 oz. cans white (cannellini) beans
1 qt. chicken or vegetable stock
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 t cayenne (red) pepper
1/2 C dry white wine (drink the rest with din)
1 lb. spinach
1 T lemon zest
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C grated Parmesan (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Chop onion and add to pot. While onion cooks (about 5 minutes), mince the garlic cloves and drain beans. Stir garlic and beans into pot and continue cooking about 1 minute. Add stock, increase heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 15 minutes. Drain tomatoes and add to pot, along with cayenne and white wine, and simmer another 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add spinach and lemon zest. Once spinach has cooked down, remove from heat and add parsley, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Variations:
-Use dried basil and/or oregano; add when you add tomatoes.
-In place of spinach, use a bitter green like kale or collards.
-Give it a Southwestern kick (after all, the Mexican flag is also red, white, and green!). Use pinto beans or black beans in place of white beans; Goya Adobo seasoning, cumin, and oregano in addition to the cayenne; and cilantro in lieu of parsley. Omit the Parmesan and garnish with shredded Jack cheese or queso fresco and sour cream.
-Give it a Southern twist by substituting the beans and greens with black-eyed peas and collards and use bacon grease instead of olive oil to get the onions going, reserving the cooked bacon to add to the soup before serving.
-Use chickpeas instead of white beans and add cumin when you add the cayenne.

3 comments:

Roseanne Barr said...

A haiku for Diana:

The pot stirs itself,
The best way to a man's heart
is through the rib cage.

Jeremy said...

Your delightful dishes have made me rethink the whole nihilvore thing. I'm eating food again! Although, in a stand against the Italian food hegemony, I am renaming the Italian Flag Soup as "Hungarian Flag Soup." Or "Mexican Flag Soup" depending on how the whole election goes.

Anonymous said...

Reveal your true identity, Roseanne Barr!