Zuppa di Paglia e Fieno

May 12, 2010

I promised ages ago that I’d upload this recipe when I had a food blog. Well, I have a food blog. So, I suppose it’s only fitting that it gets to be the first recipe.

“Paglia e fieno” is Italian for “straw and hay”. Usually, it’s a dish made of both plain and spinach spaghetti, so the name is drawn from the color variation. I actually discovered the basic recipe when I was poking around looking for things to do with a prosciutto hock I’d picked up down at Mona Lisa. (By the way, Mona Lisa makes terrific sausage. Recommended!)

But I can’t really get by without tweaking anything, and as I recall, I had stuff in the fridge that I needed to use up at the time. So I created a soup based on the cream-and-prosciutto pasta dish. Sadly, this was long before I thought of taking photos, so I don’t have any pictures. Trust me, it’s delicious.

Zuppa di Paglia e Fieno

1/2 c. prosciutto, fine dice
3/4 c. onion, fine dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 generous c. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c. whole wheat pasta
1/2 c. spinach or other colored pasta
1 c. peas or soybeans
2/3 c. white wine
3 Tbsp. flour
milk
Salt and pepper to taste

If you use spaghetti or another long thin noodle for your pasta, break it into bite-sized pieces before cooking. Precook the pasta until almost al dente. Drain and shock in cold water and hold in cold water while you prepare the rest of the soup.

Gently render down the prosciutto until most of the fat is rendered out. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until just golden. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until just golden. Add the wine, stir, and simmer to reduce the alcohol content.

Slowly add milk until you’ve reached a consistency just thinner than what you’d like to serve. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup along with the peas, and bring to a simmer, allowing the pasta to just finish cooking. This will absorb some of the soup liquid. Add more milk to thin if needed, or chicken stock, or water.

Serve immediately, possibly with a side salad and some crusty sourdough bread. Mmmm.

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