oldie but a goodie

I found this book listed on Amazon.com, but I kind of have my doubts about whether or not you can actually buy it there. If you can, you should, because it’s a great cookbook that’s long out of print. Back when I was an editorial assistant, my boss published this book by Judith Barrett under the name, From an Italian Garden. It didn’t sell too well, and someone decided that it was because the title made the book sound like a gardening book, not a cookbook. So we put it out in paperback under the name Cooking Vegetables the Italian Way. It still didn’t sell very well, and that’s a real shame because this remains one of my favorite books of all time. In a good year I may edit and publish 15 books, and many of them never find a home in my personal kitchen. This one gets so much use, it’s pretty much falling apart. The recipe I make the most from it is one I made last night and pretty much know by heart. Saute some onion and garlic in olive oil, then add 2 cans of rinsed white beans and 2 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, whatever). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, simmer for 30 minutes, then partially puree the soup. You can transfer it to a blender or food processor, but those immersion blenders work best, in my opinion. You can puree it a lot, for a finer soup, or leave it chunky like I do. Add some chopped parsley or basil, salt and pepper to taste, and that’s it. Make this soup and if your dinner guests aren’t gushing over it, begging for the recipe, I’ll be shocked. I’ve never made it for someone and not had them insist I give them the recipe. P.S. Judith Barett is really sweet, and I haven’t talked to her in years, so if she sees this, “Hi, Judith!”

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