Garlic soup

Garlic soup finished dish

Garlic soup finished dish

Zuppa di aglio. Versions of this soup exist all over the world. I used to live in the Czech Republic and česnečka was said to be a fantastic cure for a hangover 😉 It is best made with new season “wet” garlic, but regular dried garlic will give good results. Use very good stock, it will be so much better than cubes. It can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock and a vegetarian cheese. Serves 4.

Garlic soup ingredients

Garlic soup ingredients

  • 1 litre of good chicken stock
  • 100g garlic about 2 or 3 heads, peeled and finely diced
  • 200g potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 slices rustic white bread, toasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 60g parmesan or grana
  1. Simmer the garlic and potato in the stock for about 20 minutes. The garlic and potato should be very tender.
  2. Liquidize until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side on both side of the toast. This will produce quite a strong garlic flavour, so be careful. If you prefer a mild flavour, leave out this step altogether.
  4. Drizzle the toast with olive oil, put a slice into each bowl, pour the hot soup on top and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bean soup with pancakes

puglia crest

This is my attempt to recreate a dish I had on Sunday at Lama S. Giorgio. Theirs was better, but mine was pretty good too 🙂

Serves 4

bean soup ingredientsbean soup ingredients

  • 400 grams  dried mixed pulses — soaked overnight
  • 1 small  carrot, chopped
  • 1 small  onion, chopped
  • 1 stick  celery, chopped
  • 1 pancake (English), cut into triangles
  • 1 litre  homemade stock (no salt added)
  • olive oil

  1. Heat a little olive oli in a saucepan and fry the carrot, onion and celery over a medium until the onion softens – about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the pulses and add to the pan. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down low and cook until the beans are tender – 1 – 1.5 hours.
  3. Just before you are ready to serve, add the pancake triangles and season with salt. Serve with fresh, crusty bread.
  4. Note: If You don’t have time to make homemade stock, use water. Don’t on any account use stock cubes as the beans will take an age to cook and will not taste anywhere near as nice.

bean soup finished dish

Cream of celery soup

Crema di sedano.  Serves 4.

celery soup ingredients

celery soup ingredients

  • 1 litre stock (vegetable or meat)
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 400g celery, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 50ml milk
  • salt
  • parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the butter and oil in a pan, add the celery and onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring from time to time.
  2. Pour in the stock, add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Puree using a stick blender until smooth. Warm the milk, remove the soup from the heat, stir in the milk.
  4. Serve with parmesan cheese.
celery soup finished dish

celery soup finished dish

Pasta and potatoes

Bari crestThis soup is another classic Bari dish. If you ask a Barese what their favourite dishes are, they’ll usually mention Pasta e Patate. Serves 4

Pasta and potatoes ingredients

Pasta and potatoes ingredients

  • 500g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 200g ditali
  • 100g  polpa di pomodoro or tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 celery heart, chopped
  • 1 clove  garlic, peeled and squashed (but still whole)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Brown the garlic in 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove the garlic and discard.
  2. Add the potatoes and celery and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper
  4. Add water so that all the ingredients are covered
  5. Cook until the potatoes are starting to fall apart.
  6. Half cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water
  7. Add the pasta to the potato mixture and continue cooking until done.
  8. If the soup is too thick, add a little of the pasta cooking liquid.

pasta and potatoes finished dish

Taranto mussel soup

taranto crestTaranto produces some of the best mussels in the world. They are often eaten raw as an antipasto, but I have to say, I prefer them cooked. This simple soup is a great way to have them.  Serves 4

taranto mussel soup ingredients

  • 1kg mussels, cleaned thoroughly
  • 300g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, whole
  • 1 chilli, whole
  • 4 sprigs  parsley, chopped

  1. Open the mussels by heating them, along with a little oil in a covered pan. Reserve the liquid.
  2. In a seperate pan, fry the garlic and chilli until the garlic is nicely browned. Remove the garlic and chilli and discard.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the oil, season with salt and cook over a medium until the tomatoes break down to make a sauce. About 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the meat from most of the mussels, reserving a few for decoration.
  5. Add the mussels along, the cooking liquid and the parsley to the tomatoes and heat through.
  6. Serve with crusty bread or crostini

taranto mussel soup finished dish