Cauliflower Soup: Minestra di Cavolofiore
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds cauliflower, cut into florets
- 4 cups brown chicken stock, recipe follows
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound mezza ziti (half-sized ziti)
- Brown Chicken Stock:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 pounds chicken wings, backs, and bones
- 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 bunch parsley stems
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
In a separate stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the cauliflower. Stir over high heat for 5 minutes, seasoning until the cauliflower is just beginning to get tender. Add the chicken stock, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes. Add water if necessary to ensure that all the cauliflower is submerged in hot liquid.
Add the ziti to the boiling water and cook until not quite done. Drain and add to the simmering soup to finish cooking. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.Brown Chicken Stock:
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over high heat until smoking. Add all the chicken parts and brown all over, stirring to avoid burning. Remove the chicken and reserve. Add the carrots, onions, and celery to the pot and cook until soft and browned. Return the chicken to the pot and add 3 quarts of water, the tomato paste, peppercorns, and parsley. Stir with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned chicken and vegetables bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat and cook at a low simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours, occasionally skimming excess fat. Remove from heat, strain, and press on the solids with the bottom of a ladle to extract out all liquids. Stir the stock to facilitate cooling and set aside. Refrigerate stock in small containers for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
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