This is inspired by a soup from Abruzzo, a "minestra," which is traditionally made with diced potatoes and other vegetables in a saffron broth. This is a modern version that's blended until creamy -- it's delicate and elegant, yet simple.
It could easily be made vegan by using water instead of milk to loosen the soup at the end of the recipe. —Emiko
(60 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
small onion, chopped finely
clove garlic, chopped finely
of dried chilli
medium sized potatoes (or about 800 grams or 28 ounces), peeled and diced
(750 milliliters) or so of cold water
Salt and pepper
dried saffron (about 1/10 gram)
(125 milliliters) or so of milk or extra water, if desired
Gently cook the onion in the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to get soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking gently, another 5 minutes or until soft and fragrant but not browned.
Add the chilli and potatoes and cover with cold water (about 3 cups). Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil over medium heat. Simmer the potatoes about 30 minutes or until they are very soft.
Remove from the heat, add the saffron, and let it infuse for about 5 minutes. Blend (a hand mixer is handy for this) until smooth, adding more milk or extra water to loosen the soup to your preferred consistency. Season to taste. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.