Zuppa de patate con pasta (potato and pasta soup)
Vincenzo is home from work at the restaurant these days, so he's spending a lot of time in our home kitchen. This week, he made this hearty and delicious potato and pasta soup.
It's the perfect combination to warm your heart and lift your spirit in these times of uncertainty. Most of the items you might have in your refrigerator or pantry. Feel free to use any vegetables you do have for the broth, or simply use bouillon alone. We substituted bacon for the pancetta as we had a package in the freezer. And, any dried pasta that you have on hand will also work for this soup. This recipe makes 4 servings, but can easily be doubled for extra.
We're sending you love and good thoughts from our kitchen to yours. Be safe and stay home. We hope to see you and cook with you all again soon. Keep cooking, baking and caring for your family.
Potato and Pasta Soup
54 ounces water (about 1.5 liters)
1 medium onion (chopped into large pieces)
1 stalk of celery (chopped), and it’s okay to also include a few of the celery leaves as well
1 medium carrots (peeled and cut into large pieces)
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon (can use one cube or concentrated powder or paste)
Place the water, vegetables and bouillon together in a medium stock pot over medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Keep this nearby to add to the potatoes in the next step.
Potato and Pancetta Mixture
1/8 cup olive oil
3 ounces bacon or pancetta (cut into very small dices)
3 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
¼ tsp. salt
2 springs fresh rosemary or ½ tsp. dried rosemary
1/3 cup white wine
5 ounces dried short pasta (or use spaghetti and break up the pieces by hand)
Olive oil and Parmesan cheese for serving
In a separate (medium to large) stock pot, place 1/8 cup olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the bacon (or pancetta) and sauté until it starts to get crispy. Stir often. Add the white wine and let it evaporate. Next add the potatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often to infuse the taste of the bacon into the potatoes.
Add 2 large ladles of the vegetable broth over the potato/pancetta mixture and simmer over low heat. Add the salt and rosemary. Add more broth (1-2 ladles) every few minutes as the potatoes cook. After 30 minutes the potatoes should be tender and almost completely cooked.
Remove about 1/2 of the potatoes from the broth and place in the other stockpot with the remaining broth and vegetables (carrots, onions, celery). Use an immersion blender to mix the potatoes and vegetables together until smooth. Add this mixture back into the stockpot with the potatoes and pancetta.
Stir in the dried pasta and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked.
Ladle out into soup bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Makes about 4 servings.