This fine recipe employs the same cooking method described in the preceding recipe, with the addition of orégano, celery, and porcini, an extra swirl of fresh fruity olive oil, and a few curls of pecorino cheese added just before serving. It was inspired by a soup served at the restaurant Oasis in the mountains of Irpinia in Campania. Members of the Fischetti family, who run the restaurant, are adamant about preserving the old culinary traditions of their region. In fact, the motto of the restaurant is “sapori antichi” or “old-fashioned flavors.” The whole family chips in. Maria Luisa Fischetti cooks; Mamma Giuseppina makes the pasta; her brothers Puccio and Nicola watch over the dining room; and Papa Generoso gardens and provides fresh vegetables and herbs.
When Maria Luisa and Puccio came to the United States to teach at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley, I had a chance to work with them, observe their talent and devotion, and, of course, taste their simple yet delicious food: authentic flavorful chewy pastas—and soups punctuated with shots of hot red pepper.
I was especially inspired and charmed by this one, and the white bean soup with escarole, each proving that long, slow cooking and the use of excellent ingredients can result in food one never tires of eating.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.