Tuscan-style Porcini Soup
Our last group lunch in Tuscany took place in a nice little restaurant Osteria di Porta al Cassero in Montalcino. We were really surprised to discover such a simple and nice restaurant in a touristic little place. The menu was limited in choice but whatever they served you was hearty, rustic and delicious. Everything was homemade including the hand rolled pasta of the region - the pici/pinci.
I loved the pici all'aglione (garlic tomato sauce) served in the Osteria, but its Tuscan-style Porcini Soup was the best. I promised myself that I'd make it at home and since I had a rather large fresh porcini leftover from last week, I did just that this afternoon for lunch.
I cannot claim to have reproduced the same soup, but for a first try, it wasn't bad. It will need a bit more figuring out, but on this try it was onion-meet-garlic-meet-porcini soup more or less.
Tuscan-style Porcini Soup (serves 1) :
1 medium-large fresh porcini mushroom (cubed)
2 dried porcini mushrooms (soaked for at least 20 minutes in hot water)
2 large garlic cloves (bashed and minced)
1 small onion (chopped)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp rosso di montalcino or aged porto
1 small bay leaf (torn)
1 beef stock cube
500ml hot water
1-2 tsp concentrated tomato paste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 dried bird's eye chillies
toasted country bread rubbed with fresh garlic
grated pecorino cheese (optional)
In a small pot, sweat the onions on low heat in the olive oil.
Add the minced garlic. When they are fragrant, add the cubed porcini mushrooms.
Pour in the red wine, add the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour in the soaked dried mushrooms together with its water.
Pour in the hot water and add the stock cube.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve it hot with slices of garlicked toasted country bread (I used white bread as I've nothing else in the pantry) and grated pecorino cheese. This is very typical of Tuscan soups, making a liaison between bread and soup.
Osteria di Porta al Cassero
via Ricasoli 32,
Montalcino.Tel : 057 784 7196