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Subject: ZUPPA DI RAIMONDO (In homage to Carlo Bergonzi)
From: RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 29 Dec 2017 05:05:48 -0500

text/plain (80 lines)

This is something that has not been seen on Opera-L for sometime -- a recipe, in this instance one that I have been working on over the past several days.  The opera connection -- as should be obvious -- is in the dedication.  Carlo always called me "Raimondo".

(In homage to Carlo Bergonzi)

2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted or salted (no substitution)
8 cups (2 quarts) low or lower salt chicken stock
2 Tablespoons dried Bouquet Garnis, Penzys brand preferred
6 oz (9-12 oz?) frozen cheese tortellini
28-29 oz low or lower salt diced tomatoes with their liquid
5 oz (½ 10 oz box) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and slightly drained
1-2 Tablespoons dried chopped basil or 10-12 large leaves fresh basil chopped
grated Parmesan cheese (no substitution)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the chicken stock, dried basil and Bouquet Garnis, and bring to a boil.  Add the cheese tortellini and cook halfway through, about five minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and their liquid, reduce the heat and simmer. Cook just until the pasta is tender, about four to five minutes. Test, so as to be careful not to overcook the pasta.

Stir in and separate the chopped spinach.  If using fresh basil, also add it at this time. Cook a further one to two minutes. Now ready to serve immediately.

Stir before and during serving as the mixture separates easily and quickly.

Serve with 1/4 teaspoon (or less) grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of (and not stirred into) each serving.

notes and tips:
This is a wonderful soup, the myriad tastes of which belie the facts that it contains relatively few ingredients and is super easy and quick to make. Created December 28-29, 2017 by RPG.

I omitted the traditional garlic found in many Italian soups because the garlic taste would mask the flavor of the other ingredients. In the alternative, the substituted Bouquet Garnis lets the flavor of each of the other ingredients stand out. I made both the chicken stock and tomatoes low or lower salt to compensate for the over-salting of America foods. The Italian versions of both of these products are almost always low or lower salt to start with. Note that the recipe does not call for the addition of salt as there is still sufficient in the low or lower salt products so that no one will notice the omission other than the finished product having a fresher taste. Also note the omission of pepper, again to let the taste of the herbs stand out. I made the soup with 6 oz of frozen tortellini, but I question if the quantity should not be increased to 9 oz or 12 oz (the latter being the normal size of a small bag of tortellini – but. again, this is to be more of a broth type soup). I use frozen chopped spinach rather than fresh as the former is available the year round, is far less expensive than fresh, much easier to prepare and with no difference in affecting the quality of the finished product. If there is an easier way to get to the same end, why not use it? Lightly drain the spinach before adding it to the soup, i.e. tip the cut bag that the defrosted spinach is in to let the excess water drain out. Do not squeeze the spinach that is in the bag. I use only half a box (5 oz) of the frozen spinach because to use more would result in the spinach being out of balance, quantity-wise, with the rest of the ingredients in the finished product. If you decide to use fresh basil and are otherwise not familiar with the proper way to chop it, look the same up on the Internet -- there is an art to the same -- and use the chiffonade technique.  It is important to use Parmesan cheese and not substitute Romano as the latter is too strong for this dish. It is also important to strictly limit the amount, as a little goes a long way. The cheese should be left floating on the top of each individual serving and not stirred into the soup so that some will float on the top of each spoonful, giving you two separate tastes in each spoon. This is also an area where quality really counts, possibly surprisingly in even the quantity of a quarter of a teaspoon. So use the best Parmesan that you can afford as it will really make a noticeable difference in the taste and quality level of the finished product.

As this is one of the recipes for a cookbook that I am occasionally in the process of writing, it is copyright 2017 by Raymond P. Gouin, and may not be reproduced or distributed in whole or in part, in any format, without receipt of advance permission in writing from the copyright holder.


Best from Boston.
Ray Gouin

PS: I am looking for a literary agent.  Finally bowing to long standing and mounting pressures, this is one of three tomes that I am currently working on, each on very different topics.


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