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Friday, August 26, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #12 Lidia Bastianich - Rice and Asparagus Soup



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite..."Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” This simple phrase is the age old Italian call to dinner and Lidia Bastinaich uses it at the end of each episode of her PBS cooking program. Were she to call me to the table, I'd be there in an instant, honored to break bread with the woman who captured 12th position on the Gourmet Live list of Women Game Changers in Food. She is a fascinating woman who has built a successful life and career around the food she fashions and brings to life. She was born in Istria when the region still belonged to Italy. It was ceded to Yugoslavia after WWII and the blending of Italian and Slavic cultures produced a cuisine that is unique to the area. Her food reflects that and it often marries elements of Italian and Croatian cooking. She has an impressive resume. There is, of course, her work as a television chef, but she is also a best-selling cookbook author, a successful restauranteur and the owner of a food and entertainment business. She is also an active community service volunteer. I love her recipes and some of my favorite pasta and soup dishes have come come from her cookbooks. I've chosen a lovely soup to represent her cooking today. It is an unlikely marriage of asparagus, cauliflower, leeks and brown rice. The combination produces an outstanding peasant soup that I know you will enjoy. The soup is substantial without being heavy, and its deep flavor, born of a long simmer and slow reduction, is truly unique. Here's the recipe.

Rice and Asparagus Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Lidia Bastianich

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for serving
4 plump garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 cups cauliflower fleurettes cut in 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups chopped leek, cut in 1/4-inch white and green pieces
5 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt plus more to taste
1 cup brown rice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

Directions:
1) Rinse asparagus and snap off tough bottom stubs. Slice spears crosswise into 1/3-inch chunks, including tips. Pour 1/3 cup of oil into a 6-quart pot, drop in crushed garlic and turn on a medium-high flame. Cook garlic for a minute or two, just until fragrant and lightly colored. Add cauliflower to pot, and stir to coat with hot oil. Cook, stirring now and then, until cauliflower is crusty but not too browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in chopped leeks and cook until softened and sizzling, 3 or 4 minutes more.
2) Pour 5 quarts of water into pot. Add bay leaves and salt. Stir well, scraping up any crust that formed on bottom of pot. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Stir in asparagus, return to a boil and adjust heat to keep broth bubbling steadily and slowly reducing. Cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until volume is reduced by almost 1/3 and broth is full of flavor. Stir in rice, return to boil and cook for 30 minutes, until rice is al dente, then turn off heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste. Stir in 1/4 cup grated cheese. Serve immediately in warm bowls. Pass more cheese and olive oil at the table. Yield: 3 quarts.


The following bloggers are also paying tribute to Lidia Bastianich. I hope you'll visit all of them.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda


Next week we will highlight the food and recipes of Rachael Ray. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information. Everyone is welcome.

47 comments:

Dzoli said...

What a great lady and what a great soup.We unfortunately very seldom can be happy to fidn white asparagus here which is a bit starnge as we have lot of chinese veggie growers here and they are known as big white aspragus eaters and growers

tasteofbeirut said...

I was initially interested in Ms. Bastianich because I have a grandmother with a similar background so she felt familiar. Loved her recipes and then admired her energy and generosity of spirit.This soup looks fabulous.

Ginny said...

Soup is my favorite food, and this one is stunning! Can you use that word to describe food? why not! It just is! Panera Bread has of late been making a wonderful chicken orzo soup with spinach and lemon.

Coleen said...

This soup looks lovely. We are definitely having soup weather here (45 at night).

Priya said...

Wat a comforting and delicious soup..

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love soups especially when I am on my own. This sounds amazing. Keep well Diane

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

This has been such a great series.I love learning about our role models! Soup season is upon us and this looks like the perfect way to start

bellini said...

This soup is delightful Mary, light and refreshing.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Sounds like a wonderful soup Mary! I haven't made any of Lidia's recipes, think I'll look into changing that:@)

girlichef said...

This soup sounds lovely and comforting =)

Sue/the view from great island said...

This sounds like a great start of fall soup. It's interesting that it cooks for so long after the roasting of the veggies, I imagine it has a nice depth of flavor to it.

The Café Sucré Farine said...

Yum, love the combinations in this soup! And I am so ready for soup weather!

Pegasuslegend said...

With the flavors added here, anyone would go for a second bowl wonderful soup!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I'm putting this one in the cooler weather file!! Embarrassingly, Rachel Ray is one of the few of these great women I have been exposed to before your series, Mary. She has a recipe with roasted pabalanos stuffed with corn, jalapenos, cilantro, cumin and red onion... topped with cheese... thrown on the grill (our version) while the steak are cooking that I LOVE. I don't remember the name of the recipe anymore (I've done it too many times to use one anymore. It had a green rice element that I never made), but it is a winner! Thank you for introducing me to so many amazing women. blessings ~ Tanna

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Lidia is my hero. She is such a creative woman, with a great family and terrific tv show and restaurants. And she is just as generous and nice in person too. Anything she makes is a favorite, including this rice and asparagus soup.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Mary - What's your email address. I'd like to join the Lidia brigade and write a post about her and a recipe.

Jenn said...

I adore Lidia! Any recipe I have made of hers has been amazing! The soup looks wonderful and I'm not even a huge fan of asparagus!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I have tried several of Lidia's recipes and have not been disappointed. I love watching her cook on television and, once, she had her grandchildren help her make gnocchi.

This does sounds like a wonderful recipe!

PeggyR said...

This sounds very good.

Katie said...

Oooh! I bet the asparagus in this soup is just delicious. I love the idea of thickening it up a little and adding a bit of texture with the recie.

Claudia said...

I cook from her often and the meals always please. I am thinking I can still scrounge up some asparagus...

Karen S Booth said...

Not just a pretty soup but also a LOVELY bowl too!
Karen

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

As always... loving the series. What a tribute you all are doing!

yummychunklet said...

What a fantastic sounding soup!

Karen said...

What a delightful soup! I love how all the ingredients are allowed to shine here. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. Have a wonderful weekend!

Valérie said...

Interesting ingredients, and it's also interesting that she blends Italian and Croatian cuisine. I learn something every week from this series!

That Girl said...

Leeks are prefect for soup, less harsh than onions.

Joanne said...

I love it when simple recipes end up being the most delicious. This sounds like such a great dish!

Rambling Tart said...

Once I get back to cold, rainy Amsterdam, I'm going to start making one soup after another. This looks divine, Mary - the perfect sort of comfort food. :-)

Swathi said...

Soup sounds yumm.Warm soup is always perfect.

Renee @ MyKitchenAdventures said...

I don't know much about Lidia except that her son scares me on Masterchef! haha This looks soup looks delicious! have a wonderful day Mary!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

What a charming idea . . . everyone writing their reflections on a chef/food personality. Really creative.

Fondly,
Glenda

Jeanette said...

What a pretty soup to celebrate Lidia Bastianich's inclusion in this list of 50 Women Game Changers. This recipe represents so many of her soup recipes that I enjoy, simple, peasant food transformed into a beautiful bowl of comfort.

Kathy said...

Mary, This soup looks so appitizing! I certainly enjoyed this tribute to Lidia...she has long been a favorite of mine. Great post! Have a nice week-end!

Lori said...

Looks like comfort food to me!

Rosita Vargas said...

Sopa deliciosa y reconfortante,me encanta,abrazos y bendiciones.

Shirley said...

Love the soup, well presented!

Kim said...

It's a great soup and it looks good! Have a nice week end Mary!

Angie's Recipes said...

I love both rice and asparagus, but never thought of combining them in one dish...the soup looks scrumpy!

Red Nomad OZ said...

I've never heard of Lidia until now - but with a sensational soup recipe like that, I hope I hear lots more!

Have a great weekend!!

Susan Lindquist said...

So interesting!I always think of asparagus as a spring veg and cauliflower as a fall veg ... the combination of the two in one soup is just soooo intriguing! Many of Lidia B's recipes do that to me though! I spent the greater part of a morning this past week going through her webpage offerings - so many great dishes!

This soup is a great offering, Mary! Kudos!

Rita said...

This really sounds like teh perfect soup; asparagus in a rice soup; as good as it gets.
Rita

JasmyneTea said...

That soup looks great, and I just so happen to have the ingredients on hand! Thanks for posting :)

Miranda said...

What a great little soup. I bet the flavors with the leeks, garlic, asparagus and cauliflower blend together nicely.

Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) said...

This looks like the perfect weeknight meal :)

tandysinclair.com said...

thank you again Mary for these posts! I hope you are having a blessed time :)

Yadsia @ShopCookMake said...

The soup sounds amazing!

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