Artichoke and Potato Soup

Zuppa di Carciofi e Patate

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    4

    persons

Appears in

Marcella Cucina

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1997

  • About

Potatoes do marvelous things to such slow-cooked dishes as soups and stews. Acting like sponges, they draw flavor out of the other ingredients and concentrate it in themselves. In exchange, they give up some of their starch, which adds desirable density to a soup’s liquid or a stew’s juices. Here the artichoke, which can be rather a retiring vegetable if left to its own devices, finds its flavor broadcast boldly through the potato. If you like potatoes and you like artichokes, this soup can’t fail to please. Once you have trimmed the artichokes—and you must do that thoroughly unless you want to end up with unchewable matter in your mouth—there is nothing laborious about the making of the soup.

Ingredients

  • 5 standard-size artichokes
  • A lemon, cut in half
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • Salt
  • Black pepper ground fresh

Method

  1. Trim away the hard, inedible parts of the artichokes; then cut them lengthwise into very thin slices, put them in a bowl, cover with water, and add the juice of half the lemon.
  2. Choose a pot that can eventually accommodate all the artichokes and potatoes plus enough liquid for the soup. Put in the olive oil and onion and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic, and stir and cook it until it becomes colored a very pale gold. Add half the parsley, stirring the contents of the pot thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Rinse the sliced artichokes in cold water and add them to the pot. Cook, turning the artichokes over in the flavored oil from time to time, until they are tender and lightly browned.
  4. Wash the potatoes, peel them and cut in half, and put them in the pot with the artichokes. Add the bouillon cube and enough water to cover. Cook at a slow, gentle boil for 30 minutes or more until they feel tender when prodded with a fork.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the pot using a slotted spoon or spatula and mash them lightly on a plate. Don’t mash them to a pulp; part of the potatoes should be crushed and part left in small pieces about ½ inch thick. Return them to the pot, which should still be over medium heat.
  6. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the soup, which should be rather dense, by adding just a little water. Stir well, add salt and pepper to taste, and with a wooden spoon turn over all ingredients two or three times. Swirl in the remaining parsley and serve at once.