One day of the week was always reserved for bread baking in most homes in Italy. From sunrise the loaves were kneaded and then left to rest and rise! The bread would be eaten all week and used and reused in so many delicious ways….
Bruschetta makes use of crusty bread that is day old..but it has become a new, almost chic thing to make with so many ingredients. Years ago, Pane Cotto (literally means cooked bread) was invented as a recipe to make use of crusty day old bread. And it too, is becoming fashionable to make.
Today, with the chill of Autumn here, Pane Cotto comes to mind..a dish that soothes the stomach and the soul..and takes away the chill of Autumn. This is a traditional soup from Abruzzo. The Tuscan version is known as Acquacotto and is similar. Either way they are sure to become one of your favorite comfort foods for a chilly autumn evening.
1/2 lb cauliflower florets only
2 ounces pancetta (optional)
1/2 medium onion
1/4 lb carrots
1/4 lb celery
1/2 lb potatoes
1/4 lb fresh zucchini
1/4 lb white beans
1/2 lb of red, ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of crusty day old bread
2 garlic cloves
pinch of thyme
pinch of red pepper
Soak white beans overnight. Cook them in 8 cups boiling water with 1 tblsp olive oil, garlic cloves, sage leaf, cook till beans are tender but still al dente.
Wash remaining veggies and peel and cut into large cubes. In a large frying pan, place in pancetta and onion chopped finely. add in chopped veggies and saute for 10 minutes. Add in tomatoes that have been seeded and cut and lastly add in white beans with cooking water. Cook till veggies are tender.
Cut bread into large cubes. Place under broiler til golden. Place soup in large soup pot and place in bread. Let sit for an hour. reheat to medium heat and serve boiling hot.
Form ore great recipes get your copy of the book selected as The Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA- The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition
See you on NBC TV-!10 Show on October 22 at 11 AM
October 29-31-Gourmet Food & Wine Show-Valley Forge Convention Center
November 2nd- at 7 PM –Book signing- Fair Lakes Library, Fair Lakes NJ