Along with my debt to Marcella, I owe Franco and Margaret Romagnoli my intense love for cooking Italian food. Their cooking show in Boston on public television, their restaurant in the newly-refurbished Faneuil Market, and their cookbooks made simple, delicious Italian food accessible to me since the late 1970′s.
Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I found that they had a cookbook on soup that I did not know existed. When I found the book, Zuppa!, I ordered it immediately on Amazon. It’s not often that I can find a cookbook I want for only $0.14 (plus $3.99 shipping), so I was thrilled to add it to my collection recently. Tonight I made the first of many recipes I want to try: lentil, celery, tomato soup:
I made a few small changes: use fewer lentils and more tomatoes; no need to skewer the garlic cloves, they are easy to find and remove; add a small carrot for color and flavor, cut into 1″ pieces; no basil on had, so I substituted a few chopped baby spinach leaves instead; and throw in a few of the remaining grilled brussels sprouts from lunch. It was relatively quick, and quite satisfying.
The wine was a new discovery, both the wine itself, and the retailer who provided it. Last week I found a place in the North End of Boston, the Wine Bottega. I was researching some wine or other online and found their website. Since I had an hour to kill after class last week, I wandered in and had a superb introduction and tour of the store by Matt Mollo, one of the principals. One of the wines I bought was a Sangiovese from Umbria, a 2010 Le cese from Collecapretta. It seemed appropriate for this dish, and even though the lentils were green and from France (not brown, from Umbria), it worked beautifully.