The recipes that get me excited are those that are simple and delicious. Both Marcella's and Giuliano's recipes aim for this. I suspect that this is the approach of Italian cooking in general, but I have noticed that the Hazans take it a step further than other, respected Italian cookbooks, which sometimes have one or two or even more ingredients than the equivalent Hazan recipe.
I'm over complicated. I cooked Thai for 5 years. That's bloody complicated. Simple honest flavours that emphasise or make delicious the ingredients I'm cooking is what I am after.
Anyway, back to the meal I just had. It is winter where I live. Soup weather. The soup I make the most often is the french style vegetable puree soup, with just 1 or 2 veges. Usually with homemade stock but sometimes just water.
I haven't really cracked the equivalent technique in Italian cooking. You develop the base I guess, onions, and possibly carrot and celery, and then add the ingredients in the order in which they need to be added in order to cook. Meat broth tends to be added instead of chicken stock.
I haven't really gotten into a routine of cooking meat broth.
Then the other difference seems to be that the ingredients aren't pureed once they are soft. For clarity, Marcella said in Cucina. It is for clarity that they keep their shapes.
Clarity or not, as I said I haven't really worked out a generic technique for Italian soups in the same way I have for french. Although perhaps it is similar and just as I described above. I need to get more into a routine of the broth. I just find it hard to order a kilo of meat from the butcher and put it in a stock pot.
But back to dinner. I've made it before but I've forgotten how good it is. Giuliano Hazan's minestrone soup from Every Night Italian. It only has vegetables in it, and salt and pepper and olive oil. Just vegetables! Topped with a little parmesan, and eaten with bread. It is so delicious.
No meat broth. Just vegetable goodness and water.
It certainly hit the spot tonight in the cold. Warming and comforting. Full of goodness, but that is neither here nor there. It's so delightful and satisfying. You can imagine generations of cooks, around the world really, preparing a similar soup in the hearth using local and seasonal vegetables for dinner.
And I can whack it in the fridge and munch on it for days.