Tuscan Mushroom Soup / Minestra di funghi toscani
“At this time of year in Italy, there's nothing better than the flavours of the forest. If you love Italian porcini and other mushrooms, why not try this flavourful Tuscan soup? I found this recipe some time ago, in an old book belonging to my mum. It can be hard (and expensive) to find the mushrooms required by the original recipe, but I've found that using mixed woodland mushrooms and enhancing them with some dried porcini makes a very lovely soup.” Silvana Lanzetta
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned, some finely chopped and some sliced
- 300g mixed woodland mushrooms, eg. Shitake, oyster, cleaned, some finely chopped and some sliced
- 50g dried porcini mushrooms (soak them in boiling hot water for 30 minutes, drain and rinse before adding to the pot)
- I celery stalk, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthways and chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced and crushed
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- ½ white onion finely chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato passata
- 20 g finely grated vegetarian Pecorino cheese to serve
- Handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
- 8 slices sourdough or country-style toasted bread
- Good olive oil for cooking
- Tsp of dried oregano
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Start by cleaning the mushrooms: remove all the woody stalks with a paring knife, then clean them with the help of a damp towel to remove all the dirt.
- Gently heat the oil in a saute saucepan, add the crushed garlic and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and stir. Raise the heat, and sprinkle some salt, pepper and oregano and stir. Sauté until the water created by the mushrooms has evaporated, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Keep hot until needed.
- Gently saute the finely chopped vegetables in olive oil in a separate pan for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir frequently. Cook until fork tender.
- Add the mushrooms and stir until thoroughly mixed. Then add the hot vegetable stock and the tomato passata, stir and bring to boil, then lower the heat to a minimum. Stir in the chopped parsley and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not cover). Add more stock if the soup is too thick.
- Toast the sliced bread until slightly coloured. While the bread is still warm rub the cut side of a garlic clove on each side of the bread and set aside.
- When the soup is ready, serve it into warm bowls and either place the toasted slices of bread into the individual bowls and pour over the soup OR serve the toasted bread on the side, with a generous serving of finely grated Pecorino cheese.