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Zuppa : Soups From The Italian Countryside
Published: October 1996
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"Everyday a Soup" is an old Garfagnano proverb. If a cookbook devoted solely to soups from just this section of Northern Tuscany sounds limited, a look at its recipes proves otherwise. There are soups rich with meat, hearty with grains,
swimming with fish, graced with cream, or creamy with puréed vegetables. One of the chapters tells the story of farro, a pleasingly flavored wheatlike grain cultivated by the ancient Assyrians that is becoming popular with cooks who want to prepare whole
grains. Anne Bianchi, an American, starts every chapter with stories of life in the Garfagnano, which she visited from her cooking school that was located in a 500-year-old farmhouse in Lucca. Recipes include End of Season Tomato Soup, Bread Soup (which
is full of beans and served layered with stale bread), and Tiny Meatballs in Chicken Broth.
From Publishers Weekly
On the move again, Bianchi (From the Tables of Tuscan Women) here travels the Garfagnana, a remote area of Northern Tuscany
where rugged mountain terrain and hearty soups "go together." She offers regional food and local lore at the beginning of each chapter to introduce the reader to the traditional peasant culture, a backdrop she considers integral to appreciating the
recipes that follow. Nine chapters focus on specific types of soups, e.g., broths, meat, fish, cream, vegetable, bean and... read more
In the rugged landscape of northern Tuscany, where the mountain air is crisp and
most villagers work out-of-doors, soup never comes from a can. Homemade and hearty, soup-zuppa-is the meal of choice, and each household harbors its own family secrets for preparing the traditional recipes of the region. Here are one-dish meals to
inspire the most harried or jaded cook-from zuppa alla povera con erbe di prato (a "poor people's soup" of fresh greens seasoned with wild field herbs) to crema di zucca (a cream of butternut squash soup celebrated for its rich texture and color), from
pancotto (a thick, succulent soup of cooked bread, plum tomatoes, and meat broth) to zuppa di carciofi (a fragrant artichoke soup with diced pancetta).
For Zuppa!, Anne Bianchi has once again ventured into the kitchens of some of Italy's most
passionate cooks, returning not just with instructions and ingredients but with ample evidence that simple, great food nourishes the soul as well as the body.
Beginning with basic brodo, or broth, Zuppa! explores a different soup category in every
chapter, from bean soups ("poor of ingredients but rich in appeal") to fish, meat, grain, and cream soups. Sidebars focus on such fundamentals as choosing the right soup pot, de-fatting stocks, and clarifying broths.
Illustrated throughout with
black and-white photographs, Zuppa! is a pungent evocation of a region where ancient traditions are still central to everyday life-and an indispensable collection for anyone who relishes great soup, Italianstyle.
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