In Winter I always enjoy hearty soups, but light, broth based soups have their place too. Aside from elegant first courses, they are often the preferred food when illness strikes. Watching the news I have been amazed at how the flu has spread. I got to thinking that sooner or later we’d all know someone with the flu, a friend, neighbor, family member – perhaps ourselves.
Here is a trio of light broth based soups that would be perfect for someone in need. The first, Quadri in brodo, squares of pasta layered with parsley leaves and floating in broth will lift any one’s spirits. And Zuppa Pavese, a soup version of eggs on toast, is a complete meal in itself. For a cooked egg soup, try Stracciatella, light broth brimming with egg. Keep these in your recipe file. Truth is, it pays to be prepared.
Quadri in brodo
2 quarts brodo di pollo
1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour, or as needed
½ cup Parmigiano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
warm water as needed
Place flour, parmigiano and salt in workbowl of food processor fitted with metal knife. Pulse to combine. Combine eggs and oil in a measuring cup. With processor running, add in steady stream. Process until mixture comes together, adding a bit of warm water if mixture is too dry. Form dough into disk. Wrap in plastic and let rest 30 minutes.
Divide dough in 2 pieces. Roll each piece through settings 1 – 4 on pasta machine, dusting occasionally with semolina. Lay each piece flat on semolina lined counter and place parsley leaves along half of each sheet. Press leaves flat. Fold half of sheet without leaves over the other and press. Roll each piece through setting 3 again, then through 4 and 5 on machine. Using a fluted cutter, cut pasta into 2 inch squares. Place on semolina lined towels and cover.
Heat brodo di pollo to simmering. In a separate large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a rapid boil and add 3 tablespoons salt. Add pasta to salted water and cook 2 minutes or until done. Meanwhile divide brodo among bowls. Add cooked pasta to brodo and serve.
1½-2 quarts brodo di pollo
4-8 slices rustic bread or baguette, cut ½ inch thick and buttered on both sides
4-8 large pasteurized eggs
Toast bread in skillet, turning once. Heat brodo to boiling. Divide bread among bowls. Crack 1 or 2 eggs atop bread. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano. Carefully ladle hot broth over eggs. Repeat with remaining bowls. Serve immediately.
Food Safety: The CDC recommends against the consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, especially by young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness. Pasteurized eggs should be used when raw eggs are to be consumed. Safest Choice Eggs from Davidson’s (www.safeeggs.com) are pasteurized and available in many supermarkets.
1 quart brodo di pollo
2 large eggs
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more if desired
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat broth to simmering in a medium saucepan. Beat eggs, cheese, pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl. Slowly pour egg mixture into brodo, whisking all the while. Continue whisking, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Check for seasoning. Serve, topped with chopped parsley, and pass the Parmigiano.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
Brodo di Pollo
1 chicken, about 4 ½ to 5 pounds, cut up, visible pieces of fat removed and discarded
2 leeks, rinsed, dark green leaves discarded, white part cut into 1 inch slices
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1 inch chunks
2 ribs of celery, leaves attached, cut in 1 inch chunks
8 sprigs of Italian parsley
10 black peppercorns
about 2 quarts filtered water, enough to cover the chicken and aromatics
Place chicken in 8 quart stockpot, and add cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil, skimming to remove foam. Reduce heat to medium low to maintain a lazy simmer. Continue skimming until no more foam rises. Add 1 cup cold water to encourage the last of the scum to rise to top. Skim.
Add aromatics (vegetables, parsley and peppercorns.) Simmer, partially covered, about 2 hours more, checking often to be certain vegetables are submerged and using a metal spoon to remove any fat or foam. Check color of brodo at 2 hours; it should be a light yellow. If you want it a bit darker, let it cook thirty minutes longer. Remove from heat. Strain stock through dampened cheesecloth into glass container. Discard bones and vegetables, reserving meat for another purpose.
The brodo is now ready for use, however I prefer to refrigerate it overnight. As it cools, any remaining fat will rise to the top, forming a solid layer easily removed using a metal spoon. Store well covered, in refrigerator 2 days or freeze 6 months.