New, creative cuisine can be created only on the basis of an old tradition. My grandmother had already cooked the next soup, I just intensified the taste. In my grandparents’ house there was a kettle hanging from a chain in the chimney, in which another vegetable boiled every day. The wonderful taste of vegetable soup was therefore always present. As a child, what I liked most was the smell of the beans, an aroma that to this day reminds me of the big smoky pot.
Vegetable soup with prawns (4 people)
100 grams of beans
salt and pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
70 grams of leek
50 g ascalon
50 grams of celery
70 grams of mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 finger thick slice of Parma ham
400 ml vegetable broth
10 g parmesan
100 g shrimp
1 sprig of rosemary
Soak the beans in lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon of coarse salt for 8 hours. Drain well and cook in slightly salted water with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 1 hour. Boil washed, cut leeks for a minute and put them in cold water. Put the chopped shallots, finely chopped celery, blanched leeks, chopped mushrooms, the boiled and cleaned potato, 1 crushed garlic, salt and pepper, 1 sprig of thyme and the slice of Parma ham in a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. and boil for about 10 minutes, boiling and add some vegetable broth. Take out the Parma ham. Mix everything in a blender, add the parmesan, 1 tablespoon olive oil and as much vegetable stock as needed. Add half of the beans and 1 sprig of rosemary and season well for 10 minutes. Peel and clean the shrimp and marinate in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the other half of the beans, 1 finely chopped garlic, 1 sprig of thyme, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the vegetable soup. Hot crostini – toasted bread slices – with a little olive oil are suitable as accompaniments.
Maria Luisa Scolastra cooks in her restaurant »Villa Roncalli« in Foligno near Perugia: www.villaroncalli.com. She writes for our magazine along with Anna Schwarzmann, Christian Jürgens and Tim Raue cooking quartet.
Food photo: Reinhard Hunger; Styling: Volker Hobl