Minestrina Tricolore – Grazie, Marcella

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Ministreri Tricolore

The international cooking community lost a powerful, soulful and inspiring teacher last week as we marked and honored the passing of Marcella Hazan. My well-used copy of “The Classic Italian Cookbook” has sat on my shelf of favorite cookbooks for almost forty years! Marcella Hazan taught me and several generations of American home cooks, in particular, the rudiments of Italian cooking. Her influence on many of us was profound and long-lasting.

My battered copy of Marcella’s classic falls open to her “Roast Chicken With Rosemary” on pages 306-307. In fact, the book’s spine is split right there. I was so proud, as a new wife and cook to serve our guests roast chicken, long before the days of Ina Garten, way back in the 1970’s…

So, as I absorbed the recent and sad news of my idol’s passing, I decided to cook up one of her recipes, something I had never tried before. I saw folks online mentioning her creamy potato soup and selected her “Minestrina Tricolore” – or  creamy potato soup with carrots and celery. I loved that she described the soup as a symbol of the Italian flag, with bright bits of green and orange, against the creamy background, just like the Italian flag.

Again, “grazie mille”, Marcella, for sharing so much with thousands of home cooks. My apologies for adapting your recipe slightly, substituting homemade chicken stock instead of beef. I also used cream, a smaller amount, than the 1 cup of milk in the original recipe.

Minestrina Tricolore - Grazie, Marcella
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Marcella Hazan's creamy potato soup.
  • 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
  • 3 tablespoons yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon celery, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • 2 cups homemade or commercial low-sodium chicken stock
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, chopped
  • chopped carrot and celery (optional garnish)
  1. Place the chopped potato in a stock pot with just enough water to cover. Cover pot, bring to a boil and then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Using either an immersion or standing blender, purée the potatoes and their liquid. Set aside.
  3. Using a medium-sized skillet, sauté the onions with the butter and oil until the onions are limp and pale gold. Add the chopped carrot and celery and cook for 2 minutes, keeping their color and crunch.
  4. Add the contents of the skillet to the puréed potatoes in the stock pot. Add the Parmesan, cream and stock. Cook over a steady simmer until the parmesan has dissolved.
  5. Add the salt and taste.
  6. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
  7. Garnish and serve.


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18 Responses to Minestrina Tricolore – Grazie, Marcella

  1. Mare October 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Thank you for spotlighting one of Marcella’s/your recipe that sounds so perfect for a Fall day! I like the substitution of chicken stock for beef stock.

    • Liz October 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      It worked, Mare, and the consistency seemed as though it would break with a cup of milk, so I added a dollop of cream instead.

  2. jayne October 5, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Lovely post Liz! I really like this recipe, thanks for sharing. I like the chicken stock and cream subs, sounds extra yummy to me!

    • Liz October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks, Jayne – I made it just as the heat wave was coming – not soup weather at all!

  3. ATasteOfMadness October 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    This looks SO good! Nice for a cold october day 🙂

    • Liz October 6, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      It would definitely taste better on a cool day – we hit 85 the day I made my batch!

  4. Wendy Read October 6, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    Beautiful post Liz, I can’t believe she is gone. What a talent and legend and the love story with her husband and her country really. She lived just over an hour from here too. Your soup looks fabulous and I especially love seeing your cookbook with the broken spine!!!

    • Liz October 6, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      How nice that she lived so close to you. I am re-appreciating her these days as well.

  5. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence October 8, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    A wonderful tribute to Marcella! And delicious too 😉

    Can you believe this weather though? Just as I was starting to get into Autumn mode (made a big batch of miso escarole soup), BAM – 90 degree weather.

    • Liz October 8, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      Fall is coming tomorrow, I think, Brandon – rain! Fingers crossed…

  6. Oui, Chef October 8, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    What a lovely tribute to Marcella, Liz. Her “Classic Italian” cookbook was the first I ever owned.

    • Liz October 8, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Fanny Farmer was my first, followed by Marcella’s, Steve.

  7. Priscilla | ShesCookin October 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Beautiful post, Liz. Marcella was such a major influence, truly a sad day for the culinary world. Cooler weather is on the way and I’ll be making this soup soon 🙂

    • Liz October 9, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      I, too, and ready for cooler weather – ie soup-making season. Thanks, Priscilla –

  8. sippitysup October 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Very nice tribute to a very inspiring woman. GREG

  9. Adri October 12, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Indeed, grazie tantissimo to Marcella Hazan. She was an inspiration to so many. I loved seeing your copy of her book and hearing how much you have used it. One of mine actually fell apart I had use it so much. Even though I have many Italian cookbooks. I find myself referring to her books for the last word or definitive answer on anything. What a lovely remembrance.

    • Liz October 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Yes, the ultimate compliment to a cookbook, to use it so much it falls apart…

  10. The Wimpy Vegetarian November 17, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    I am a huge fan of Marcella’s recipes too. I was assigned her name for my chef report in culinary school. I confess I’d never heard of her. But I made up for that by buying two of her cookbooks, reading her memoir, and cooking many of her dishes. Her approach was simple and full of flavor.

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