Friday, March 13, 2009

Bread, Potato, and Rocket Soup

Pain au Levain is the best bread for making Marcella Hazan's zuppa dei poveri (poor people's soup) of stale bread, potatoes, and rocket. This great recipe was one of the best of the many unaccountably left out of the unfortunate Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, which purported to be a single-volume reissue of her first two books, The Classic Italian Cookbook and More Classic Italian Cooking.

2 cups diced peeled potatoes (can leave unpeeled if potatoes are clean)
3 cups water
1 tbsp. salt
1 bunch / 1/2 lb. rocket (arugula), preferably the sharper "wild" variety, washed and coarsely chopped
2 cups stale Acme pain au levain, crusts removed and cut in cubes
1/4 cup Trader Joe's Kalamata olive oil or other flavorful, dark green extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Put potatoes, water, and salt in a big pot, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Add rocket, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are done. Remove pot from heat, add bread, cover, and let sit for ten minutes. Add olive oil and pepper, correct salt, and serve.

Serves 2-3 as a main course.

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