Friday, October 16, 2015

Dear Barbara...

che zuppa
Dear Barbara,

The first time I saw your cookbook was that day we went out for lunch together.  Remember?  You handed it over to me with a smile that went from to ear to ear.  Coincidentally, we ordered soup, spoonful after spoonful, I realized that your book, che zuppa, was what I flavored most that moment. Flipping through...burrata cream with peppers and anchovy crumble, spinach and farro broth with veal meatballs, zucchine and seafood soup with pasta grattata, made me want to jump into those pages and taste every single thing.

A few years ago, at a cafe' across the street from where we used to work, I noticed a big ciambellone was put out on the counter that day.  Far from any industrial kind you would expect to find in a common cafe', I knew it was homemade only looking at it. Curious, I ordered a slice to go with my cappuccino, one bite and it was, damn is this good...only years later I found out you made that ciambellone.  Today, while we were having our double cappuccino at another cafe' close to where we now work, in front of me was a beautiful talented woman.  Secure and passionate of what she does yet discrete and humble as she moves forward with success and as the author of a cookbook, that's clean, filled with texture and warmth.

Even if I didn't know this book was yours, I would have recognized it to be so, only by looking at it, just like that damn good ciambellone that day, in that cafe'.

Your friend,
Elvira xxoo
che zuppa
The original recipe calls for diced sweet potatoes,  I varied by using the sweet potatoes to make gnocchi which I then added to the soup.

Zuppa Speziata di Patate Dolci e Cavolo Nero - Spicy Sweet Potato and Kale Soup
adapted from the cookbook Che Zuppa! Pane & Burro

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 hot pepper
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
600 g sweet potatoes
1/2 liter vegetable broth  or chicken broth
400 g peeled tomatoes
230 g kale
extra virgin olive oil

In a pot on medium heat add the onion and garlic finely chopped, as well as 2 tbsps of evo oil and a hot pepper. Simmer until the onion is traslucent..  Add the cumin and coriander.

Add the sweet potatoes that have been previously washed, peeled and diced in the pot. Roughly crush the peeled tomatoes in a bowl with a fork, add to the pot.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  On a low flame, cook for 5 minutes, stir occasionally.

Add the broth, as soon as it reaches a boil let it cook 30 minutes.

Rinse the kale and remove the middle hard stalk.  Cut into stripes and add to the soup, continue to cook the soup for a further 5-6 minutes.

Serve with a light drizzle of evo and fresh ground pepper.

*you can top the soup with roughly crumbled feta cheese

*if you prefer to substitute the sweet diced potatoes with sweet potato gnocchi, click here for a basic gnocchi recipe, simply use sweet potatoes and flour.


  1. Just repeating what I sent you already on IG (cause I know I can reach you immediately there!), your words really touched me and it was a wonderful surprise, for a perfect end of the week.. thank you my dear friend, thank you for everything but mostly thank you for your friendship..

  2. però ragazze scrivo in Italiano ^_^ se vi dico che proprio adesso, mentre sto leggendo il post, ho tra le mani il tuo libro barbara??!?!?? Per domani avevo intenzione di fare qualche nuova so ...Elvira, sto parlando con Barbara (hahahahahaah) ma che ci posso fare! Ottima scelta la tua ma credo che io andrò su una vellutata o anche su una certa cosa con dentro delle polpette di pollo!!! Tutto comunque spaziale...tutte ricette da rifare, tutteeeeeeee!!!!

  3. Io adoro questo genere di zuppe in particolare che mi ricordano quelle della mia tradizione contadina :-D Il libro ce l'ho (manco a dirlo) e ogni zuppa meriterebbe un post a se!Un modo per ricucinare la cara TOselli dalla prima all'ultima ricetta!Belle voi!