Monday, January 16, 2012

Rice and Potato Soup

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This soup from Sophia Loren has become a favorite of mine due to the fact that it is very simple to make and yet, it is what you will refer to as comfort food. The soup is flavored with bacon or pacetta but even a good smoked ham will work. What gives the soup some heft is the combination of diced potatoes, white beans and cooked rice. Flavored with classic Italian herbs and spices, this soup is definitely one to make for the cold winter season.The soup itself is very sparse when it comes to the amount of meat used but the idea is to have the meat impart its flavor to the broth and not overpower the rest of the fairly mild-flavored ingredients. If you do love some meat in your soup, feel free to add more but make sure that you check the flavor for balance. 

Rice and Potato Soup - Adapted*

1 lb potato, peeled and diced
1 lb Great Northern beans, canned
1 cup Arborio rice, cooked
1 stalk celery, diced finely
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, diced
1/4 lb bacon, diced
6 cups broth
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil
Basil leaves chiffonade

1. In a large pot over medium heat, render the fat from the bacon. Once
    golden brown, add the onions and celery and season with salt and pepper.
    Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the bay leaves and saute until aromatic. Add the broth and bring to a
    boil. Add the potatoes and lower the heat to low. Cook until the potatoes
    are tender but not overcooked.

3. When ready to serve, add the drained canned beans and the rice and
    simmer for about 5 minutes. Check for flavor and season with salt and

4. To serve, ladle a good amount of soup into soup plates and drizzle with
    olive oil and garnish with the grated cheese and a handful of basil leaves

* Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.

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