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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Using either an immersion or standing blender, purée the potatoes and their liquid. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the salt and taste.
- Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
- Garnish and serve.