In the rugged landscape of northern Tuscany, where the mountain air is crisp and most villagers work out-of-doors, soup never comes from a can. Homemade and hearty, soup — zuppa — is the meal of choice, and each household harbors its own family secrets for preparing the traditional recipes of the region.
Here are one-dish meals to inspire the most harried or jaded cook, from zuppa alla povera con erbe di prato (a “poor people’s soup” of fresh greens seasoned with wild field herbs) to crema di zucca (a cream of butternut-squash soup celebrated for its rich texture and color), from pancotto (a thick, succulent soup of cooked bread, plum tomatoes, and meat broth) to zuppa di carciofi (a fragrant artichoke soup with diced pancetta).
For Zuppa!, Anne Bianchi has once again ventured into the kitchens of some of Italy’s most passionate cooks, returning not just with instructions and ingredients but with ample evidence that simple, great food nourishes the soul as well as the body.
Beginning with basic brodo, or broth, Zuppa! explores a different soup category in every chapter, from bean soups (“poor of ingredients but rich in appeal”) to fish, meat, grain, and cream soups. Sidebars focus on such fundamentals as choosing the right soup pot, de-fatting stocks, and clarifying broths.
Illustrated throughout with black and-white photographs, Zuppa! is a pungent evocation of a region where ancient traditions are still central to everyday life — and an indispensable collection for anyone who relishes great soup, Italian-style.
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