You would think by now that I would be tired of soup, but as the coldness lingers into our Spring, zuppa warms my body and soul.
On one of our journeys to Italy we skirted an area from Bologna to Assisi known as the Umbrian region. Although not Tuscany, this area is absolutely gorgeous with its green hills and landscape dotted with villas and castles. We were fortunate to witness the fall colors cascading into the crevasses along the roadway and leading up to the distant Etruscan hill towns.
The cuisine of Umbria is noted for its "peasant" type food, hearty, at best. Ample dishes based on pork and lentils and laced with truffles, to me, is fit for a queen not a peasant! I can almost envision St Francis "feasting" on this Umbrian inspired dish.
|St Francis - Springtime in Sonoma|
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chicken thigh, cooked and cut up (this can be omitted or substituted for panchetta)
1 c portabella mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 c lentils
32 oz chicken stock
1/2 c orzo
2-3 tomatoes from can or fresh, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
1 handful chopped Italian parsley
Cook onions, carrot and garlic in oil until soft. Add chicken, mushrooms, lentils and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and continue to cook for about 35 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, parsley and orzo and simmer for another 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. Serve in bowls with a piece of toasted rustic bread on the bottom. Spoon the soup over the top and garnish with cheese if you wish. Delicious! If you have any truffle oil in your pantry, drizzle that on top! Yum!