Minestra di zucchine e scarola — “zucchini and escarole soup”
Unlike a minestrone, this is meant to be a first course. You can add rice, pasta, beans or increase the amount of potato to make it heartier. Or add pancetta, sausage or ham in the beginning if you’d like a “meat-y” flavor in addition to the vegetables.
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled, trimmed and diced
1 carrot, peeled, trimmed and diced
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, trimmed and diced
1 zucchini, trimmed and diced
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
freshly milled black pepper
1 head escarole, washed, trimmed and shredded
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional), for garnish
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables have softened. Add the potato and continue to cook – stirring every so often – until it begins to stick, and the chunks begin to brown, about an additional 5 to 6 minutes. If necessary, adjust the level of heat to prevent the bits of potato that stick from getting too dark.
Add the zucchini, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the stock (or water) to the soup pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes over medium heat, or until vegetables are tender. Towards the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the escarole. A kitchen timer is useful for this purpose in case you don’t have one.
Taste for salt and pepper, stir in Italian parsley, then ladle into soup bowls. Top each serving with a heaping tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese if desired, then serve at once.
Time: About one hour, including vegetable prep. It is advisable to make the stock in advance (homemade is best over canned or store-bought); plan for about 6 to 7 hours if you elect to use homemade stock. You can view a recipe for homemade chicken stock here.
This is my contribution for Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammie) Sundays for the week of September 10, 2012 to September 16, 2012, a weekly foodblogging event organized and hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.